Completion Day Checklist:What You Should Expect

After months of hardship, frustration, and long weeks of waiting while things happen out of sight, every property purchase eventually gets to completion day.

Your conveyancer’s research is complete, solicitors have gone through the exchange of contracts, and you’ve been given the expected date of completion.

But what does that actually mean? What really happens on this mystical day, and what should you be doing?

We’ll answer all those questions below and help you better understand what to expect.

What Does Completion Day Mean?

Completion day means the day on which the buyer is handed the keys to their new property. It’s a day that is written into the contracts, becoming a legally binding step in the purchase process.

Your solicitor will handle the legality of this, and once both buyer and seller have signed the contracts, it’s time to exchange money for the keys [1].

From a legal perspective, this is the day when the buyer officially becomes the owner of the house, and the sale is essentially completed. You, as the buyer, are now the rightful owner, and this is the date that is also recorded on the land registry.

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But what actually happens on this day?

What Happens on Completion Day?

person having a calculator, tablet and papaerThe first thing that happens on completion day is for money to be exchanged between several parties. The seller’s solicitor will receive any outstanding funds after taking into account any deposits already paid.

The money is transferred through the CHAPS banking system, and there are strict deadlines for these transactions to complete within a day. However, this isn’t something you need to worry about as your conveyancer will take care of this.

Once the seller’s solicitor has confirmed the funds have arrived, then the next step on the day of completion is for the seller to hand over the keys. This can be arranged through the solicitors or more conveniently in person.

Some fees may also need to be paid to the estate agent, and as a buyer, you’ll also need to pay your conveyancer for all fees agreed on.

At this stage, you have access to the property, and it’s officially yours.

There are various stumbling blocks, such as when the money is being passed from your mortgage provider (if you’re using one) to your solicitors, then to the buyer’s solicitors. And if the money hasn’t gone through by 3 pm, you’ll have to wait until the next working day.
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Completion May Not Mean Moving Day

You’re probably going to get quite excited about the prospects of having an official completion day. However, it’s important to note that the final steps of money being transferred could take several hours to verify.

You’ll also need to make arrangements to be handed the keys, which may not happen first thing in the morning.

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What does all this mean?

Basically, you should make sure you plan the start of the actual house moving process the day after completion; at least when it comes to having your removals company arrive to do all the heavy work.

How Is Completion Day Influenced By A Chain?

giving keysCompletion day may be influenced by a transaction chain depending on what step in the chain you’re at [2]. The chain normally starts with a first-time buyer or someone who isn’t waiting to hand over keys themselves.

This person hands over the keys to the buyer of their home, who, in turn, hands over their old property keys to the next person in the chain.

The longer a chain is, the more delays that could be experienced through funds not transferring on time or simply the ability to meet with people in different places at different times.

Your solicitor should be able to give you some information about the length of and your place in the chain.

Use This Completion Day Checklist To Make Sure Things Go Smoothly

1 – Money Has Arrived With Solicitor

Your home mortgage provider will release the money on your solicitor’s request a few days before the sale is due to complete. To be on the safe side, you could check with the bank and solicitor that the money is available.

2 – Money is exchanged

This may take a few hours to complete and be confirmed. Your solicitor should give you an idea about a time when this is expected to be completed, and you can do nothing more than waiting.

3 – Seller’s solicitor OKs the release of the keys

Once the money has arrived with the seller’s side, the house sale is deemed complete, and the seller will be instructed to hand over the keys. If you’ve had contact with the seller directly, then you could make arrangements to meet them directly.

4 – You’re ready to start the moving process

Once you have the keys, the property is yours, and you’re ready to start the house moving process.

5 – Land Registry is updated of the changeover

Behind the scenes, the last remaining task is to update the land registry with you as the owner of the property. This will all be confirmed in the final documentation you receive.

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FAQ:

deciding datesCan you complete on a Saturday or Sunday?

No, you cannot complete a property sale on a Saturday, Sunday, or a bank holiday. The reason for this is that money has to be exchanged, which is only possible on working days.

What time do you normally get the keys on completion day?

You normally get the keys between 9 am, and 11 am on completion day if you’re the first buyer in the chain. For every step further along the chain that you come, there would usually be about 1 extra hour added to this.

Getting Through Completion Day With Less Stress

This is going to be one of the most exciting days in your life, so the important thing is not to stress out. You won’t be able to force things to speed up, and as long as you have the right expectations, everything should go to plan.

Talk to your solicitor a few days before to find out how they will keep you updated and informed about any delays. And then make sure you enjoy your new house. You can find more interesting information at Transport Executive.

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References:

  1. https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/completion-what-to-expect/
  2. https://medium.com/@Viewmychain/what-exactly-is-a-property-chain-and-how-does-it-work-b7d5dbc3de7a
About The Author
Anthony King

I'm Anthony King, founder and CEO of Transport Executive. I've spent the last 5 years writing, taking care of my dogs, and enjoying life as it should be. I'm also a beer enthusiast by trade and a wine connoisseur. You can learn more about me and the company here.