Completion Day: What You Should Expect

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So, it’s really happening! After the initial excitement as to whether your offer on your dream home would be accepted, the sheer thrill when it was, the survey and the legal process, the great day of completion is here.

You’ve exchanged contracts, you’re busy loading up the removals van making sure the family heirlooms don’t get smashed in the process.

But what if things don’t go quite according to plan? In spite of having everything organised you still might not be home and dry. Make sure you know what is expected and keep an eye on every step of the process. If in doubt, ask your agent. They’re usually experts when it comes to this!

What is completion day?

It’s the day the money is transferred, you get the keys and you can start moving into your new home.

What can go wrong?

There are various stumbling blocks, such as when the money is being passed from your bank or mortgage provider (if you’re using one) to your advocate, then to the buyer’s advocates.

And if the money hasn’t gone through by 3 pm, you’ll have to wait until the next working day.

You might also be involved in a chain of buyers and sellers. If any of these fall through, the whole process can come grinding to a halt.

Again, make sure you’ve got the right agent. He/she is on your side. However, for those who haven’t read the previous article on this subject I’ll give you an example.

Even though it’s rare, given we’re all advised and mostly in the know these days, some buyers fail to take all the costs into account.

You have to pay charges such as the registration fees, the (balance of) the rates and the agent’s and advocate’s fees (including VAT) to your advocate.

Can advocates ever slow down the process?

They should have their full attention on the job making it go through as quickly as possible, but mistakes can be made so make sure you check upon them regularly and make your presence felt. It’s the same with your agent of course.

A phone call to your advocates or conveyancers first thing on the day of completion so you understand when the transfer is taking place followed by another call mid-morning would be prudent.

Repeat the process to your agent if they haven’t called you.

Who decides when completion day happens?

The vendor and buyer should get the chance to agree this in advance. It traditionally has to be on a working weekday, to enable the money transfers and so your advocate is available. Most prefer Fridays, although it can be any day your agree.

Can I exchange and complete on the same day?

It’s standard practice for completion to happen 7 to 28 days after exchanging contracts. But exchanging and completing on the same day is possible.

While it speeds the process up, and means you don’t have to pay a deposit on exchange of contracts, there are very real downsides – it is incredibly stressful and you don’t definitely know you are moving until the day that you move, which makes arranging removals men and forwarding post more complex.

If it falls down, it can be a disaster which is why I do not advise clients to follow this course of action as I believe taking as much of the stress out of this entire process is part of an estate agent’s role.

How do I get the keys?

You can arrange to pick them up from the sellers, your advocates or from their estate agents. And then all you have to do now is pick up a take-away and enjoy the first night in your new home together.

Tim Groves
Black Grace Cowley
(01624) 645555


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