Threshold Mortgage Advice

Home buying guide, part 5: Completion day

Completing on a property is the final step to owning your own home and the last stage in the process before you get to turn those keys in the lock. But what do we mean by completion? And what exactly will happen on the day you’re due to complete on your new property?

To help you to prepare for completion day, we’ve put together this handy guide filled with helpful tips for getting ready for completion and a step-by-step look at how the day will play out.

What is completion in property terms?

When buying a property, completion comes after exchange of contracts and is the very final step in becoming the official legal owner of your new home.

What happens on completion day?

Completion is the day that the money changes hands and you officially own your new home. It’s also the day you’ll be able to collect your keys and start moving your belongings into the property. In other words, completion day marks the end of the property buying process and the start of your new life in your new home.

Who decides on the completion date?

If you’re buying a property on the open market and you’re part of a chain, the completion date will be a mutually agreed date that all parties have confirmed they can do.

If you’re purchasing a property from a developer, the developer will set a timeframe for completion and you’ll agree the exact completion date between you.

In both cases your solicitor will liaise with the other parties involved on your behalf. All you’ll have to do is let your solicitor know if there are any dates you definitely won’t be able to complete on (because, you’re away on holiday, for example).

Bear in mind too that completion will always happen on a workday (Monday-Friday) as a bank transfer will need to take place.

What’s the process for completion?

When you’re ready to complete the first thing your solicitor will do is contact your mortgage lender to request the release of the funds and check that all conditions of your mortgage have been met.

Once this has been arranged, they’ll then prepare your completion statement. This details all the payments made on your behalf and any outstanding monies you owe.

On the day you’re due to complete your solicitor will perform some final checks and then transfer the funds to the seller’s solicitor. When he or she confirms receipt of the funds, the process is officially complete and they’ll let the estate agent know that the keys can be released to you.

You’ll collect the keys from the estate agent and at last be free to move in.

Do I need to do anything on completion day?

If you’re selling a property as well as buying one, and the sale is part of the same chain, you’ll have to move out of the property on the morning of completion (if you haven’t already done so), as once completion is complete you’ll no longer own the property.

You should also make sure that you’re contactable at all times on the day of completion as your solicitor will be in touch with you to keep you informed of progress and/or any issues. The estate agent will also need to contact you to let you know when the keys are ready to collect.

If you are moving out on completion day, it’s a good idea to have all of your packing done the night before and have your removals company (if you’re using one) turn up in the morning to start moving your belongings out of the property. Not being ready to go on completion day can cause delays and unwanted hold-ups and if you cause completion to be missed, you’ll be liable for fines.

Can you exchange and complete on the same day?

Yes, it is possible to exchange and complete on the same day, but you shouldn’t have to do this in many cases and it’s always best to avoid this if possible, which is what your solicitors will push for.

Typically an exchange of contracts takes place around a week before completion, although completion can happen at any time up to 28 days after exchange.

If you can exchange and complete on separate days, you should. Exchanging and completing on the same day can add a lot of additional stress to the process, not least because you don’t actually know for sure that you will be moving.

How do I get the keys on completion day?

You’ll get the keys when the funds for the property you’re buying have been received by the seller’s solicitor. it’s common to collect the keys from the estate agent’s office, although on occasion you can arrange to collect the keys directly from the seller.

If buying a new build home, a representative from the developer or management agent may meet you with the keys or you’ll arrange to collect these from their offices.

About to complete on a home?

If you’re about to complete on a new property it’s a good idea to arrange income protection in case you’re taken ill unexpectedly and unable to meet your monthly remortgage payments. Book an appointment with one of Threshold protection advisors for an impartial chat to discuss your options.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Approved by The Openwork Partnership on 24/11/2023

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