How To Make A Completion Day Run Smoothly
Completion day is the final step in buying your new home. “What happens on completion day?” UK buyers and sellers alike often ask. “What does completion mean in a house sale?” many more ask. The day of completion is an exciting time, and it can also be nerve-wracking. While you’re busy finalising last-minute details, loading up the removals van, and preparing for the big move, there are still a few last-minute details to take care of. Competition day is the final step in the process. It’s the day the money moves from buyer to seller, and the buyer gets the key so he or she can start moving in! Learning what happens on the day of completion is extremely helpful, especially in case of an unforeseen complication.
When is Completion Day?
To start, who decides when the completion day is set? The vendor and buyer will sit down to agree on the date of completion together way in advance. Traditionally, it has to be on a weekday to ensure that all financial institutions are open to transfer funds from one person to another, as well as to make sure that the solicitor is available. You can plan your move once the completion date is set.
What Happens Before Completion Day?
Many things happen before completion day. The buyer will make an initial bid for the house. He or she will have absolutely everything looked at after the bid is accepted. Then comes exchange day. What happens on exchange day is that the two parties exchange contracts that spell out the exact price of the property and what contents will be included in the sale.
That’s not all, though. Before the completion of the process, the buyer’s conveyancer will be checking all of the mortgage documents and agreements to ensure that they have all the necessary information and that the requirements are met. They will then request the funds be sent over from the lender. Next, if the seller has a mortgage, their conveyancer asks for a Redemption Certificate. Both the buyer and the seller will get a completion statement from the solicitor to help make a note of any payments that have been made and anything that needs to be paid on the day of completion.
What Can Go Wrong Between Exchange and Completion?
Once you’ve signed those contracts, it can be tough to wait any longer. How long after signing contracts do you complete in the UK? The time between exchange and completion is usually about two weeks, but how long from exchange to completion depends on everyone involved. You get to decide how much time there is between those two events.
What Happens on Completion Day?
On this final day, what’s happening during the day is that both conveyancers check absolutely everything, and then the buyer’s conveyancer sends the money to the seller’s bank. If you’re the seller, you may begin to wonder “How long does a bank transfer from a solicitor take?” It seems to take forever on this big day, but the reality is that it usually doesn’t take very long. When there is a confirmation from the seller that they have received the funds, they will confirm this with the buyer and then the real estate agent will release custody of the keys to the buyer.
Once the transaction is taken care of between the buyer and the seller, the seller will ensure that any outstanding charges are taken care of and paid- including things like estate agent fees. Finally, the buyer gets word that he or she can move into their new home.
What happens on the completion day new build? It’s pretty much the same process except you get the keys to your new home from your builder, and your solicitor transfers the money from your lender to the builder.
What Could Go Wrong on Completion Day?
All of this seems pretty straightforward- so what could go wrong? Several things can be problematic. The fund transfer is one spot where issues can occur. That happens when money moves from a lender to two sets of conveyancers. “How long till 3 p.m.” is a question often heard when things are taking longer than they should, and with good reason. Timing is everything. If it doesn’t happen by 3 p.m., it must happen on the next business day.
What time of day does the exchange of contracts happen? It depends a bit on all of the parties involved, but earlier is always better given the 3 p.m. deadline to get the money transferred.
Other things could go wrong as well. A mortgage offer was withdrawn on the day of completion, leaving almost everyone in the lurch. It’s also possible that mortgage funds were released the day before completion, creating a problem for those involved, too.
Many believe it takes solicitors too long to transfer money on completion day. Wondering about “How long can a solicitor hold money after a house sale?” You’re not alone, but the answer is fairly simple. Only 24 – 48 hours, and usually that’s only because the wire transfer process can be a slow one.
A property chain can also create issues. If anyone in that chain has a problem, the sale of the home can’t happen, and that could create issues for everyone involved.
How Long Does Completion Take?
Completion should just take a day, but in some cases, it can take much longer, particularly if any of the problems above occur.
How do I Speed Up Completion?
This straightforward process can now seem a little overwhelming, and now you might be wondering what you could do to attempt to ensure that this goes smoothly. There are a few simple ways that you could do this, the first being to just make some plans ahead of time for the big day. Once you find out exactly what day completion might happen on, it is smart to line up the removal company of your choice- or ensure that you have enough friends and family as volunteers for the day. There are many websites to help you understand what removal costs might look like for you, as well as how to help find the right removal company.
Beginning to pack up your belongings to make sure you are prepared for the day will help the process continue along. Some people, like to go as far as making an itinerary to keep track of all times that things should be happening so that no one has to wait on that big day. Another way you can help with this transition day is to regularly contact your conveyancing solicitor. Being in contact with them regularly will help if there are any potential issues on the day of- being that you already have a relationship with them. Finally, make sure that any paperwork is organised and easily accessible in case there are any questions or concerns on the day of. Making sure that money is all in the same account will also help with any money transfers on completion day.
Speaking of funds, what happens if the money doesn’t get transferred as it should on completion day? There is a fine, but if you’re part of a property chain, and if you as the seller fail to pay because the buyer of your home couldn’t pay you, they may be fined as well, so things will work out. This is set up to help ensure that you do not lose out on too much money if things fall through the cracks. Looking at your timeline, you might be wondering how long completion takes to happen. It is standard practice that it will be at least seven to twenty-eight days after the initial exchange of contracts.
Can You Exchange and Complete it on the Same Day?
An exchange and complete same-day process can happen, and it is becoming more and more common as the years go by and can even be advantageous in some scenarios. Completing the day you exchange contracts will ultimately increase the pace of the process as a whole, and it means that you aren’t responsible for a deposit. There can be drawbacks to exchange and completion on the same day (like there are for most things). This is a stressful process, and this option also means that you might not know it’s time to move until that day. It means that moving arrangements are almost impossible to make, and forwarding your mail to your new postal address can be just as frustrating if you have no notice. You will have to be completely packed, simply waiting for the call that the official exchange has occurred and it is time to move. Along with this, if there were any complications on this day, then there is almost no time to correct anything.
If this is something that you are considering, think through it carefully. This option only really works well if neither of you is part of a chain. This helps to make sure that on the day of the exchange there is less of a risk of a complication arising to slow the process. If you are planning on purchasing in cash, it is an option that might be much easier for you. You will not have to concern yourself with mortgage loan transactions, which can help make things a smoother transition. It is also important to be aware of the policies of your mortgage company. Some mortgage lenders will tackle the same-day transaction, while other companies are less lenient in their policies and require at least a few days of notice as a working period. One last thing: you need to be aware that buyers are quite vulnerable in this situation. The seller might suddenly ask you something that you cannot accommodate at the last second. This could slow your process, and potentially ruin the sale altogether.
Now that completion day is here, and all of the moving is finalised, certain things need to be looked after- even when things feel finished. These are things that are important to hold onto, in case you ever decide to sell. The first item is the title deeds. Nowadays, the Land Registry will have these documents on file and can transfer them into your name. If this is the case, you will receive a confirmation when this action takes place within a month or two from the seller with a copy of the registered title listing you as the “registered proprietor”. It is becoming increasingly rare to have the seller give you these documents themselves, so if they do, check with the Land Registry to make sure that the property becomes registered. You will also require a report on the title document. Your solicitor’s report on the title is an extremely important document to keep on hand. It will include a summary of the legal title, as well as the property search results.
The seller will fill out a fittings and content form. It will inform you as the buyer exactly what will be left on the property whenever they vacate the premises. It will list which light fixtures, curtains, and floor coverings are included with the purchase of the home- as well as any plants on the property and any white goods. This is something that should be read carefully to make sure you are happy with these items, as they will be included in the purchase of your new home. As the seller gives you this, they will also give you a warranty for any new builds on the property (or for any properties in general that are under ten years old). You should have a copy of your Buildmark (NHBC) or any other new home policies/warranty documents.
Within thirty days of the purchase of your property, your solicitor will also give you a confirmation that the stamp duty has been paid. This price is paid by you as the buyer and is determined by where the property is located, how much it was, and if it is your only property. Most of the time, this stamp duty is paid on your behalf by your solicitor. Your solicitor may also require an indemnity insurance policy, chancel repair indemnity insurance, or any other type of legal cover. Each solicitor will have different requirements, so be sure to know what they will ask of you before confirmation day. Finally, you will need to keep on hand the energy performance certificate. Also known as the EPC, it is required by law to be included with any sale. It will show how energy efficient your property is, and an estimate of what it might cost to power and heat your new home.
If this property is held by a lease, your solicitor should plan on giving you a copy of the said lease (including the lease plan of the property) and any potential service charge accounts or forecasted costs. If this property is a leasehold or you own a share of the property, you will require a management information packet (which can also be known as a leasehold information pack).
Now that you know what happens on house completion day, you’re probably pretty excited. The truth is that completion day is full of excitement, and with this information, you will be able to take the day by storm. Communication, preparation and understanding of information will help to ensure that you are ready for this purchase- and can keep the transaction as smooth as possible.