The final stage in the homebuying process is the completion day. It is the day when money is fully transferred from buyer to seller, keys are exchanged, and moving begins. The date is decided beforehand by the buyer and the seller.
In general, completion day is 1 to 4 weeks after the exchange of contracts. The buyer and seller as well their respective solicitors and banks must work together on completion day to close the deal. Considering this, it is important that completion day is a working weekday.
Let’s see what completion day looks like for both parties
- Funds are transferred from your solicitor to the seller’s solicitor
- The estate agent is then asked to release the keys to the house
- The agent calls your solicitor, who then informs you that the keys are ready
- You are registered with Land Registry as the owner of the property
- Your solicitor will pay Stamp Duty
- You need to fully vacate the property at the time agreed upon
- Your solicitor will contact you to confirm that you have moved out
- He then contacts the estate agent to release keys
- He will complete any pending transactions and settle outstanding fees
- Finally, he will start the process of changing owner name with Land Registry
In most cases, completion day goes as planned. Sometimes, however, things can go out of hand, resulting in delays. Your belongings can get stuck with the moving company and with nowhere to go, you may have to spend time in a hotel. Of course, you would hate for this to happen. No wonder it’s called a “completion day nightmare”.
Most problems occur because the process of buying and selling property is a chain. A person may be selling his current home and buying a new one. The person he is buying from may be doing the exact same thing. It can be a long chain of buyers and sellers. If there is a problem with one person in the chain, it affects everyone else.
What can you do to avoid a completion day nightmare?
- Never rush into exchanging contracts and don’t keep the completion day too early.
- If you are the seller, ensure that the buyer pays 5-10% as deposit when contracts are exchanged. On completion day, if the buyer delays the payment, you can charge a 4% interest on the remaining money and also claim for damages.
- Since a lot of money is involved, banks can take time to process payments. If every bank in the chain takes time, it can get very late for funds to reach. Talk to the solicitor and the bank beforehand, requesting them to make payments promptly.
- Transfer funds to your solicitor’s account at least one day before completion day. This will allow him make transfers smoothly on the main day.
- If possible, talk to the seller and see if you can move as many belongings as possible to the storage or garage of the new house. You can save time and be less worried about moving on completion day.
- While you are busy with all the transactions, you may forget the logistics part of the move. If the moving company messes up, you’re stuck. Do good research and find a trustworthy moving company. If possible, find one that offers flexible storage.
- Sometimes, the seller may pack and take some fixtures of the house which you thought were included in the property price. This can lead to issues and you may choose to withhold funds, causing the chain to delay. To avoid this, have a clear discussion with the seller about what’s included in the price and what’s not.
- Throughout the process, maintain good communication with your solicitor and listen to his advice.
With Aristone Solicitors we ensure all these things are avoided assuring you a smooth process from the point you instruct us until hand over or the keys, contact our conveyancing experts today