What happens on completion day?

18 August 2022

After months of negotiating and patiently waiting, your completion day has finally arrived! You’ve chosen your next home, had your offer accepted and signed on the dotted line. All that’s left is to collect the keys and settle into your new home.

Completion day is filled with both excitement and anxiety. Knowing what happens on completion day can help settle these nerves, allowing you to enjoy the process. We’ve compiled everything you need to know within this article to provide a clear expectation of the milestones and events.

Before completion

Before confirming a completion date, the exchange of contracts must first occur. Both parties must agree to the property sale by exchanging contracts that the buyer and seller’s solicitor have drawn up. Once signed, both parties are bound to the sale and purchase of the property.

During this process, the buyers and sellers will agree upon a date for completion. This agreement determines when the house sale will be finalised and when the purchase money is due to be transferred to the seller’s solicitor. Both parties must be satisfied by the decided completion day, as the process must occur on the same day.

Typically, completion will occur between a week and a month after exchange contracts have been signed. This offers buyers and sellers plenty of time to arrange removals, childcare, and other preparations for moving day.

What happens on completion day?

Upon completion, your conveyancing solicitor will confirm the completion of the transaction as well as additional paperwork and the transference of funds. With confirmation from the lender, the purchase money will be sent to the seller’s solicitor.

After receiving confirmation that your mortgage funds are received, the property seller will hand their keys to the estate agent. After this exchange, you are free to collect the keys as the new property owner.

Whilst this process typically signifies the start of your moving process, there are a few more things your conveyancer will continue to work on behind the scenes. This includes registering your property at the Land Registry and paying stamp duty, or land transaction tax if you are purchasing property in Wales. Once this process is complete, you will be considered the legal owner of the property.

What happens when you’re part of a property chain?

A property chain means that one or more transactions are linked together. If you’re involved in a property chain, completion day can occasionally be more complicated. This is because everyone in the chain must agree on completion occurring on the same day.

Your timeline will depend on how many different transactions are involved in the chain and whether any delays occur during the day.

How does completion day occur without a chain?

Without a chain, completion day is often a lot simpler. You will be able to finalise the completion process as soon as your funds have been received and confirmed by the seller’s conveyancer. The seller can hand over keys to the buyer, and both parties will have finalised the transaction.

The reduction of involved parties offers a lower likelihood of delays. As such, chain-less transactions are desired by those looking for a fast property exchange.

What’s the best day of the week to complete?

The most popular day for completion is a Friday. This day gives both the buyer and sellers a chance to move over the weekend, meaning there is less disruption to work and school schedules.

However, if you’re looking for a more straightforward moving process, with more availability of removals companies, completing on a Wednesday or Thursday can be beneficial.

Due to the overwhelming majority of individuals choosing to finalise the completion process on a Friday, it’s not uncommon for solicitors and estate agents to be busy or for bank transfer systems to become overloaded. Not only could this delay your transaction later into the day, but extensive complications could see you waiting until the next working day to complete.

Can you exchange and complete it on the same day?

If you’re looking for fast completion, it is possible to exchange and complete on the same day. This process is often referred to as ‘simultaneous completion.’ This means that the exchange contract is signed on the same day that funds are transferred and keys are handed over.

When preparing for a simultaneous completion, everyone involved must be organised and ready to move as soon as possible. This includes your estate agent, mortgage lenders, and conveyancers.

Unfortunately, completion day isn’t always plain sailing. There can occasionally be problems that cause delays. These delays might be down to administrative issues or could be caused by another party involved in your chain. Most transactions tend to include at least a week between exchange and completion to allow for any potential delays.

How to avoid challenges on completion day

We mentioned above how Friday can be a busy day for buyers and sellers wanting to complete. To combat this problem, think about choosing a quieter day during the week for fewer complications.

Several other problems and delays can occur on completion day, with some simple solutions to counteract any stress. Read on to find out more.

  • Arrange your finances early.

On completion day, the last thing you want is for your mortgage to fall through. This could result in the chain collapsing and a significant delay in completing your transaction.

It typically takes between two and six weeks to receive approval on a mortgage application. In case of any additional delays or complications, it is essential to complete this application as early as possible to ensure the funds can be released on the agreed completion date. Being prepared will allow for a smooth transfer of funds.

  • Be aware of the CHAPs deadline.

If you’re completing your transaction on a Friday, make sure you know the CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System) deadline. This system allows parties involved in the property transaction to make same-day bank transfers to purchase the house.

It is important to note that there is a completion deadline by which funds can be processed. This is the latest time that banks can process your payments and is set at 5:40 pm. However, it is also essential to note the time that your solicitor finishes working for the week.

Completing on a busy day can cause delays, if you are unable to meet the CHAPS deadline, or your solicitor is no longer available, you may have to wait until the next working day to complete your exchange.

  • Account for possible removals problems

If you’re planning on moving on completion day, it’s essential to be aware of any potential problems.

Removals companies are often in high demand on Fridays and weekends, so it’s essential to book your company early. Confirm your booking a few days before completion day and reconfirm on the day itself to avoid any complications

It’s also essential to have a contingency plan in place if your chosen company cannot make the move. This could be something as simple as arranging friends or family to help you move or storing some items elsewhere if you’re unable to take them with you on the day.

Final Thoughts

Completion day is a significant milestone in the property buying and selling process. Although it’s often seen as the end goal, it’s essential to be aware of the potential challenges on completion day.

By following the tips above, you can help to avoid any stressful situations and secure a smooth completion process for your dream home.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.