A New Beginning: Your Day Of Completion In The UK Property Market

man sitting on white couch

The day of completion marks a major milestone in the home buying and selling process. As the new owners collect the keys and step over the threshold for the first time, a mix of emotions surface – excitement, anxiety, relief. While the journey to reach this point hasn’t always been easy, completion day signals the start of an exciting new chapter.

For buyers, it’s the realisation of a dream and vision for their future. The day when their offer, viewing, mortgage application, surveys and conveyancing culminate in the home finally belonging to them. They can begin turning the property into their home, adding their style and personality. The process of moving in can be daunting, but it’s also full of potential as they envision how they’ll utilise each room and make their mark. Completion day is just the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the property.

Equally, sellers experience a poignant landmark when they hand over the keys. The finale of memories made within those walls. Laughter was shared over family dinners in the kitchen. Children take their first steps across the living room floor. Milestones celebrated and storms weathered under one roof. While it can be difficult closing this significant chapter, there is also relief and optimism in knowing the legacy and enjoyment of their home will continue with a new family.

The day itself unfolds in ablur of legal procedures, paperwork and moving vans. But behind the businesslike activities, completion day evokes a profound sense of transition. For both buyers and sellers, it represents the start of an exciting new adventure in their property journey.

Preparing for Your Day of Completion

The lead-up to completion day is a hive of activity. Once contracts have been exchanged, the countdown begins to ensure everything is for the handing over of the property. Some key steps buyers and sellers should take to prepare include:

For Buyers:

  • Arrange building and contents insurance – This needs to be in place from the moment you take ownership. Shop around to get the best deal.
  • Confirm moving dates – Make sure the removal company has your completion date and that you’ve booked them. Get packing early.
  • Finalise mortgage details – Your lender will do a final credit check and confirm the loan. Have your deposit funds ready for transfer.
  • Set up utility accounts – Contact gas, electricity, water, and broadband providers to switch the billing details to your name. Organise final meter readings.
  • Make property ready – Decide on any small works you want done like painting. Have tradesmen booked and ready?
  • Final snagging – Revisit the property beforehand to check all is in order and as expected. Create a snagging list of any issues.
  • Plan handover – Agree on a time with the sellers to pick up the keys. Make sure your solicitor has all the funds needed to complete the purchase.

For Sellers:

  • Prepare paperwork – Have warranties, manuals, and certificates ready to hand over. Locate spare keys.
  • Declutter property – Remove all personal possessions. Take meter readings. Clean thoroughly.
  • Arrange removals – If moving, get quotes and book a removal company on your completion date.
  • Redirect mail – Notify all contacts of change of address. Set up mail forwarding with the Post Office.
  • Hand over utilities – Contact providers to cancel or transfer accounts. Pay any final bills.
  • Make arrangements for pets/children on move day – Have caretakers or childcare organised to reduce stress on the day.
  • Plan for key handover – Agree on a time to meet buyers. Make sure your solicitor has received all funds before releasing keys.

By taking care of all these details in advance, buyers and sellers can ensure completion goes smoothly with no last-minute hiccups.

The Night Before Completion

For buyers and sellers, the evening before completion brings a mix of nostalgia, anticipation and nerves. Both may wander their emptied home one final time, reminiscing over treasured memories. Sellers prepare to bid their home a fond farewell after years of making it their sanctuary. Buyers eagerly envision beginning their new life within the property.

To ease any nerves, it’s wise for both parties to have a checklist of what needs finalising:

  • Confirm you’ve got building and contents insurance in place as a buyer. As a seller, revoke any policies on the property.
  • Check the meter readings, stock up on cleaning supplies and remove any leftover personal items.
  • Reconfirm timings for completion and key handover with your legal representative and other party. Make sure funds are ready to be transferred and contracts signed.
  • Pack a bag with essentials like medication, change of clothes, and toiletries to see you through the first night in your new home or temporary accommodation.
  • Keep all your legal documents and ID handy to take with you the next day.
  • Get a good night’s rest! Moving day will be busy.

While it may be hard to switch off thinking about everything left to do, a good night’s sleep is essential to have the energy and focus to get over the line. Savour the final hours of calm before the milestone of completion finally arrives.

The Big Day of Completion Arrives

The anticipation has been building for weeks and finally completion day dawns. Both parties should allow plenty of time for unexpected delays and schedule breaks to manage stress. For buyers, the day centres around finally getting hold of the coveted keys. Sellers will likely take a final nostalgic walk around their home before reluctantly locking up.

Typical steps on the day include:

For Buyers:

  • Take meter readings first thing. This provides proof of utilities used.
  • Phone your solicitor to confirm all money has been received from the lender and you’re ready to complete.
  • Schedule builders, carpet cleaners, etc if you have works arranged for after completion.
  • Wait for a call from your solicitor when contracts have been signed and funds transferred – you officially own the home!
  • Meet the seller at an agreed time to pick up the keys – don’t forget your ID. Take inventory of what’s included.
  • Once the seller vacates, do a thorough walk-through checking for any damage. Report any issues immediately.
  • Unpack essential items but leave the bulk for the removal team.
  • Pop champagne, order takeaway, Facetime family – celebrate being handed the keys to your new home!

For Sellers:

  • Have a final walk-through to ensure nothing is left behind.
  • Take final meter readings and notify utility companies. End any regular services.
  • Confirm with the solicitor funds are received before handing over the keys.
  • Meet buyers and hand over all keys, warranties, and manuals for appliances.
  • Do a final thorough clean and empty all trash.
  • Before leaving, take photos to document the property’s condition.
  • Officially vacate and lock up by the agreed completion time.
  • Phone your solicitor to confirm completion. The property is no longer yours!
  • Treat yourself to something special with the proceeds – you’ve earned it!

While exhausting, the day also brings immense excitement and satisfaction. With the keys in hand, a world of possibilities opens up.

Your First Night and Week in Your New Home

Finally, you can call this property your own! But amid the elation, your first night can also feel unsettling. The unfamiliar space, lack of furnishings, strange noises and lingering boxes are enough to keep anyone awake. Here are some tips to survive the initial few nights and weeks:

  • Make up your bed even if nothing else is unpacked – you need somewhere comfortable to collapse after a long day!
  • Stock up on easy food, milk, tea, coffee and plenty of snacks until you locate your kitchenware. Don’t expect to cook gourmet meals immediately.
  • Set up the TV and WiFi so you have entertainment options when you need to unwind from unpacking and setting up.
  • Locate toilet paper, towels, soap and essential toiletries so you can freshen up.
  • Have a notebook, marker, tape, scissors, and headlamp handy for labelling boxes and making the place feel like home.
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep and don’t feel compelled to stay up unpacking – it’ll still be there tomorrow!
  • Book the time off work you need to settle in without feeling rushed. Moving house is exhausting.
  • Unpack and clean a few rooms at a time. Don’t feel overwhelmed trying to do it all at once.
  • Be prepared for surprises! Additional cleaning or repairs often crop up so have emergency funds available.
  • Chat with the neighbours, explore your new area and enjoy creating new memories. This is your fresh start!

While the first days can be an adjustment, soon you’ll be settled in making this your sanctuary. Completion day was just the beginning!

Troubleshooting Common Completion Day Issues

Despite the best-laid plans, sometimes last-minute hiccups arise on completion day. Stay calm, be patient and get the right advice to resolve them:

Delayed funds transfer – If funds from the lender or solicitor don’t arrive in time, speak urgently to your solicitor and have funds on standby as a backup. This may delay keys being released but can still be rectified the same day in most cases. Just be prepared to wait it out.

Utilities not transferred – The sellers should have done final meter readings and contacted utility companies to cancel or transfer billing details. If this hasn’t happened, take your meter readings, set up new accounts and clarify billing with providers to avoid discontinuity.

Bank cards not working – Some banks require you to register the new property address before cards will be activated there. Phone your bank, provide the necessary ID details and get this sorted immediately.

Damage or issues not highlighted – Note anything not in the original property condition report and contact sellers politely to resolve. They may agree to fix or compensate for serious undeclared damage. Equally, buyers should own up to and pay for any damage they cause on the day.

Outstanding seller possessions – If sellers have accidentally left items behind, agree on a reasonable timeline for collection. You aren’t required to keep possessions indefinitely but packing and storing for a week or two shows good faith.

Lost keys – Insist on being provided spare sets on the day. If keys disappear in the move, you may need to arrange an emergency locksmith to gain entry and replace locks. Keep copies of the original keys for reference.

Sudden change of plans – Life can throw curveballs like illness or injury that derail even the best-laid plans. If major delays seem inevitable, have a frank discussion and negotiate a mutually acceptable solution to get over the line.

Despite the stress of encountering issues, a constructive approach on both sides goes a long way. With patience and commitment to completing the transaction, most problems can be worked through. Before long, the headaches will fade and you’ll be happily settled in your new home.

Preparing Emotionally for Completion Day

While the practical preparation is vital, completion day also brings a rollercoaster of emotions. The enormity of what you’re undertaking only hits home as the day draws near. Give yourself time and space to process feelings rather than bury them in the busyness. Be gentle on yourself and your loved ones during this major life transition.

For buyers, the exhilaration of the property finally becoming yours may be tinged with apprehension about the responsibilities and pressures of homeownership. Will this feel like home? Am I capable of maintaining a property? Have we made the right decision? These self-doubts are normal but focusing on the positive possibilities can help reframe anxiety into healthy excitement.

Equally, sellers who have loved and nurtured a property may feel sadness at having to move on or guilt at selling to someone else a home where they shared so much joy. Cherish the happy memories but try to view handing over the keys as opening up a new chapter, both for you and the house itself. This isn’t the end; merely making way for more beginnings.

Furthermore, if issues arise on the day, react with empathy, stay flexible and keep the bigger picture in mind. With goodwill on both sides, the transaction can still proceed – just on a different schedule than envisioned. As long as completion occurs safely, that is what matters.

Surround yourself with supportive loved ones on the day, take time to decompress and trust this major milestone will soon feel manageable. Focus on the future. The night of takeaway, wine and laughter in your new home makes all the stress worthwhile.

Your Completion Support Team

Facing the pressure and responsibilities of completion day alone can be daunting for buyers and sellers. Make sure you have a support team around you for help and reassurance. This may include:

Solicitors/conveyancers – Your legal experts who oversee the entire transaction, exchange contracts, transfer funds and authorise completion. Lean on them if issues arise.

Removal company – To safely transport your possessions and furniture between properties. Have them handle the heavy lifting.

Cleaning service – To get properties sparkling for handover or if you’re too exhausted after moving.

Friends and family – Draft in manpower and moral support for moving, unpacking and childcare. Feed them pizza as thanks!

Tradespeople – Electricians, plumbers, and handymen you can call if emergencies crop up in the first days. Have their numbers on hand.

Estate agent – If questions or disputes come up regarding property conditions, agents can provide an impartial perspective.

Mortgage broker – For guidance with finalising financing or troubleshooting delays in funds clearing.

Don’t feel you need to tackle this milestone solo. Construct your trusted team ready to provide their skills and support leading up to, and even after, completion day.

Reflecting On Your New Home

In the whirlwind of moving stress, it can be hard to appreciate just what a monumental moment in life completion day represents. But once the boxes are unpacked, the keys in the door, take time to reflect on this new chapter from the vantage point of your new property.

Look around at what you’ve already made your own. The furniture is arranged just how you want it, with photos on the walls, and favourite mugs in the kitchen cupboards. Though an empty shell on completion day, it now bears your imprint.

Recall the nerves on seeing it for the first time. Hesitant hopes this could be your sanctuary. Now here you sit, coffee in hand, the morning sun streaming through the windows you picked out yourself. You made it. This is home.

Equally, former owners will drive by the old property and remember what it meant to them. The memories within those walls are theirs to treasure, no matter who lives there now. They have new memories to build.

Completion day was just the starting point to a lifelong relationship and journey with a property. As the days after moving blur together and you proudly host your first dinner party, know you’ve achieved something special. This house is where you laugh, cry, celebrate, grow together and build a life.

The Future Of Your New Foundation

Completion day is the first brick laid in establishing your new home. But it’s just the foundation. Now the exciting work begins of shaping your space and future from this blank canvas. Home is not four walls, but what you fill it with.

As you learn the creaks of the floorboards and the spots where the morning light pools, consider what imprint you want to leave. What memories will these rooms hold moving forward? What dreams will you pursue from this stable base?

Display your most inspiring art where it motivates you daily. Turn the spare room into your creative haven or plant a garden that nourishes you. Build a cosy nook for reading. Designate a wall for family photos that make you smile. Decorate with colours that boost your mood.

Infuse the property with inspiration to launch each day with positivity. Scatter things of beauty, comfort and meaning that lift your spirit. This is your nest to feather however you choose.

While change can be challenging, remember the opportunities it brings for something new. Completion day was the milestone starting point. Now embrace your new beginning from the solid foundation of home.

Conclusion

Whether a first-time buyer collecting the keys with trembling hands or an elderly seller reluctantly locking up for the final time, completion day represents a major turning point. The stresses and frustrations of the home buying/selling journey culminate in the singular moment of handing over the property.

While the legal and practical preparations are vital, don’t underestimate the tidal wave of emotions the day evokes. Make space for self-care, lean on your support team and be kind to yourself and others experiencing this enormous life transition. With empathy and patience, even troubles on the day can be overcome.

The night after, as the boxes sit in your new home, make time to reflect on achieving this milestone. The day of completion becomes just the beginning; now the real adventure begins of making this house your own. Turn it into your family’s haven, display your passions and put down roots from this foundation. A property is merely brick and timber until you imbue it with memories, dreams, meaning and heart.

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