What Does Buying a House Chain Free Mean
When buying a house, the term “chain-free” may not sound important, but it actually carries significant weight when buying and selling homes. But what...
The day of completion is the day we all wait for when we start our home-buying journey, but many don’t know what to expect on completion day. In this article, we’ll walk you through the details of completion day, addressing common questions and providing insights into what to expect before, during, and after this milestone […]
09 February 2024
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The day of completion is the day we all wait for when we start our home-buying journey, but many don’t know what to expect on completion day. In this article, we’ll walk you through the details of completion day, addressing common questions and providing insights into what to expect before, during, and after this milestone event.
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Completion day is the day when the legal transfer of ownership occurs, and you officially become the owner of your new home. It is the day that all of the processes before it lead up to, such as property searches, negotiations, and the exchange of contracts.
On completion day, the seller receives the funds, and you gain legal possession of the property. Your solicitor or conveyancer will sign off the mortgage completion statements and transfer the remaining balance to the seller’s solicitor, and once confirmed, you’ll be handed the keys to your new home. Completion day is usually a mid-week day and the seller will be expected to be prepared to move out on that day.
Before completion day, various tasks must be completed, such as finalising mortgage arrangements, signing the contract, and conducting a final inspection of the property. Your solicitor will also ensure all legal paperwork is in order and perform the following tasks:
The completion day is agreed upon during the exchange of contracts, but discussions around this can take place long before, so each party has an idea of a date you are both working towards. This can help when planning moves around things such as school holidays. All parties, along with their solicitors, negotiate and settle on a mutually acceptable date. The longer the chain, the more difficult it can be to agree on a completion date.
The time between the exchange of contracts and completion day can vary, but is usually somewhere between 1-2 weeks, to allow for paperwork to be finalised. On the day, completion usually takes place around mid-day, once final actions have been undertaken, but this can take longer.
While it’s possible to exchange and complete on the same day, it’s not typical. It does mean that things can be sped up and you won’t have to pay a deposit in advance, but it can also be a more stressful way of doing things because if any issues arise, it can impact things such as removals, which can cost you money. It also means that there is more pressure for you to adhere to any last-minute changes in terms proposed by the seller. It is also worth noting that some lenders require a minimum period between exchange and completion.
Yes, on completion day, you’ll receive the keys to your new home. This signifies the official handover of the property. This is usually around mid-day, but it can take longer as the estate agents need to wait until they receive notification that funds have been transferred before they release the keys.
Completion days can change, but it usually involves a mutual agreement between the buyer and the seller, so you should receive notice of any changes. Delays may also occur due to unforeseen circumstances or issues in the conveyancing process, such as last-minute queries or mortgage issues.
Potential problems on completion day include delays in the transfer of funds, missing the banking deadline of 4 pm, which means funds are only transferred the following working day, issues with the property title, outstanding legal matters, and delays from any part of the chain. Clear communication between parties and thorough preparation can mitigate these challenges.
Completion day for a newly built property follows a similar process, but there may be additional considerations such as snagging issues, warranty documentation, and final inspections of construction work, which may delay completion. For this reason, an exact completion date is often difficult to predict and new build purchases often come with extended periods between exchange and completion that could be as long as a few months.
After completion day, you officially own the property. Your solicitor will register the transfer with the Land Registry, and you can begin moving into your new home.
Completion day is the exciting part of a home-buying journey, transitioning you from buyer to owner. Understanding the steps leading up to this day and what follows is essential for a smooth and successful property acquisition. By staying informed and prepared, you can navigate completion day with confidence, unlocking the doors to your new home with ease.
From mortgages and insurance to viewings, offers, exchange and completion, our Buyers’ Guide will take you through everything, step by step, from start to finish.
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