Maximising Your Property Transaction: Tips And Techniques For Handling Completion Statements
In England and Wales, residential property transactions culminate with the exchange of a completion statement outlining final funds transfers. Whether buying or selling, optimising financial outcomes requires understanding what completion statements entail and carefully reviewing the contents. This guide covers techniques for property owners and conveyancers to appraise statements critically, validate figures, maximise positions and handle queries or discrepancies. With the right approach, completion provides a fair and satisfactory closing chapter.
Understanding The Basics Of Completion Statements
In simple terms, completion statements record the final fund’s movements between buyers, sellers and other parties that occur on property transaction completion day. Typical elements include:
Purchase Price – This confirms the agreed property sale price between buyer and seller.
Deposit Amount – The initial deposit paid by the buyer is noted and deducted from the price.
Outstanding Balance – The remaining funds the buyer must transfer to complete the purchase.
Seller’s Conveyancer – Details of the solicitor firm receiving funds on the seller’s behalf.
Mortgage Amount – Where applicable, the sum being lent by the buyer’s mortgage lender.
Net Proceeds – The final amount payable to the seller after adjustments and deductions.
Deductions – Costs and fees deducted from the seller’s proceeds.
Due Dates – The date funds must reach relevant accounts to avoid delays.
With several parties and payments involved, buyers and sellers should review statement contents diligently to ensure correct outcomes.
Maximising The Buyer’s Position
For buyers, finalising transactions via completion statements focuses on protecting finances through rigorous checks:
Reconfirm Total Funds Required – Tally the total payable by cross-checking the purchase price, mortgage amount (if applicable) and other costs as shown.
Assess Deposit Deductions – Ensure the correct agreed deposit amount is credited on the statement.
Validate Mortgage Funds – Confirm the incoming mortgage funds stated match bank transfer confirmations.
Check Payment Due Dates – Ensure sufficient time to process transfers without breaching deadlines.
Clarify Seller’s Conveyancer Details – Validate account details independently via official documents to prevent fraud.
Monitor Transfer Receipts – Check conveyancer confirmations that funds arrived safely within required timescales.
Remaining vigilant ensures buyers avoid excessive charges or delays from reconciliation issues post-completion.
Optimising Outcomes As The Seller
For sellers, reviewing completion statements focuses on maximising net proceeds through careful checks:
Confirm Sale Price Basis – Validate that the total sale price aligns precisely with the agreed contractual figure.
Assess Deposit Receipt – Ensure the full expected deposit amount has been received as shown.
Scrutinise Deductions – Validate any deductions by cross-checking amounts against quotes/estimates. Query unclear charges.
Identify Owed Debts – Any seller debts attaching to the property, like service bills, should be identified for settlement.
Check Conveyancer Details – Independently confirm account details where proceeds are being sent.
Track Receipt of Funds – Follow up with conveyancers to confirm net funds arrive as expected into relevant accounts.
Meticulous scrutiny of deductions and anticipated net proceeds optimises sellers’ financial completion position.
Liaising With Conveyancers For Optimal Handling
To maximise outcomes, both buyers and sellers should collaborate closely with their conveyancing solicitors around completion statements:
Discuss Expectations in Advance – Conveyancers can outline the procedures, common statement contents and required checks.
Request Draft Statements – Reviewing draft statements well in advance identifies any queries to resolve before completion.
Check Years of Experience – More experienced conveyancers are less likely to omit important details or checks.
Follow Recommended Processes – Reliable conveyancers have established best practices for statement handling.
Report Discrepancies – Conveyancers can investigate and quickly address any errors or oversights.
Confirm Understanding – Seek clarification from conveyancers on any unclear statement items.
Close cooperation ensures statements are managed in the buyer or seller’s best interests throughout the process.
Validating Critical Completion Statement Details
When reviewing statements, it is essential buyers and sellers validate certain information rigorously:
Sale Price – Confirm precise contractual figures, beware of amendments without proper legal mechanisms.
Deposit – This must reflect the amount and timing contractually agreed.
Deductions – Scrutinise utility/local bills for accuracy based on actual use and periods.
Mortgage – Check statement matches lender transfer documents.
Property Details – Review title, address, tenure, and plot to confirm matching contractual property.
Net Proceeds – Cross-check contract and conveyancer expectations for amount accuracy.
Payees – Independently verify account details through secure channels to prevent fraud.
Meticulous validation reduces financial risks and ensures contractual obligations are upheld by all parties.
Handling Commonly Overlooked Completion Elements
Beyond core funds movements, certain items are often initially excluded from completion statements but impact outcomes:
Utilities – Any credit/deficits from closing supplier accounts must be reconciled eventually.
Council Tax – Liability transfers on completion, any rebates/overpayments adjust proceeds.
Service Charges – If leasehold, creditors must settle service charges to completion date.
Rent – Statements should acknowledge any pending tenant rental payments owed up to or after completion.
VAT – Sellers may opt to charge VAT which must be accounted for.
Parking – Allocation and transfer of parking rights needs confirming.
Ongoing liaison is required to reconcile these aspects not always finalised by the statement date.
Securing Profits From Fixtures and Fittings
For maximum gain, sellers should take stock of any fittings included with sales that may warrant additional payment:
Furniture – Room items and furnishings of value may command extra funds.
White Goods – Modern appliances boost desirability, enabling potential pricing premiums.
Decorative Fixtures – Sought-after lights, blinds and flooring can be priced in.
Technology – Multi-room audio-visual systems and security equipment add worth.
Outbuildings – High-quality sheds, garages and greenhouses warrant increased value.
Artwork – Desirable paintings, sculptures or installations could attract sizeable sums.
Finalising and valuing fixtures as part of the transaction via the completion statement ensures sellers benefit fully.
Avoiding Financial Loss From Missing Credits
To prevent funds leakage, sellers must claim all possible credits from parties owed on completion:
Tenants – Any outstanding rent from tenants currently in situ must be pursued.
Buyer – Agree on rent due from the buyer for any delayed completion period past the initial tenancy end.
Deposit Holders – Reclaim any balances held by third parties relating to the property.
Vendors – Suppliers may owe refunds on cancelled contracts for works to the property.
Insurers – Arrange policy cancellation refunds if not transferring cover provision to the buyer.
Utility Companies – Confirm credit balances across any accounts being closed.
Retrieving every penny legitimately owed maximises proceeds while closing the book on ownership.
Adhering To Deadlines For Smooth Settlement
To avoid contract breaches or delays, buyers and sellers must meet completion statement payment deadlines:
Clear Funds Confirmation – Ensure all transfers are fully cleared, not just pending.
Avoid Fridays – Transfers on Fridays risk delays if they reach conveyancer accounts out of hours.
Check Bank Holidays – Public holidays can impact payment clearing times.
Allow Time Buffers – Adding a few business days’ leeway accommodates any minor delays.
Confirm Receipt – Seek conveyancer acknowledgment once funds are sent.
Expedite Final Queries – Respond immediately if conveyancers request any last clarifications.
Strict adherence ensures statements translate seamlessly into concluded transactions on the due date.
Troubleshooting Common Completion Statement Issues
With rigorous review, most statement discrepancies can be resolved efficiently:
Errors in Figures – Notify conveyancers immediately of any incorrectly stated amounts.
Omitted Costs – Raise any unaccounted conveyancing disbursements for inclusion.
Duplicated Charges – Identify any costs charged by both buyer’s and seller’s conveyancers.
Delayed Information – Late inputs like final utility readings can be adjusted post-completion.
Misallocated Funds – Incorrect or outdated conveyancer details must be amended to ensure proper account credits.
Proactive checking enables corrections and reallocations to be processed rapidly with no completion delays or remedial action required post-sale.
Overcoming The Challenges Of Joint Ownership Statement Handling
For co-owned properties, handling completion requires careful coordination:
Agree Lead Contact – Appoint one owner to liaise with conveyancers to avoid duplication.
Share Drafts Promptly – Circulate all statement versions to fellow owners for transparency and consensus.
Reconcile Investment Shares – Calculate each owner’s entitlement based on initial investments.
Split Net Proceeds – Arrange separate transfers to reflect the agreed allocation of sale proceeds.
Authorise Jointly – Ensure instructions and approvals carry all owners’ consent.
Clear delineation of responsibilities alongside open internal communication streamlines completions with multiple sellers.
The completion statement marks the pivotal moment of legal and financial transaction finality for UK property sales. Given the complexities involved, both buyers and sellers should scrutinise statement contents thoroughly alongside conveyancers to protect their interests. While occurring at the transaction endpoint, diligent handling of completion statements requires check preparation starting from the initial agreement. With financial outcomes finalised and reconciled efficiently through completion, parties can confidently close the chapter and derive satisfaction from the process. The statement ultimately represents the reference record that the property and funds transfers were executed completely and accurately between all parties.