What Happens on Completion Day When Buying a House in the UK
Given it’s such a monumental and stressful life event, it’s normal to wonder – what actually happens on completion day? This guide will walk you through the timeline of events and what to expect on the big day.
Completion day marks the final major step when buying a home in the UK. It’s the pivotal moment when the property ownership officially transfers from seller to buyer.
Overview of What Happens on Completion Day When Buying a House
Completion day is when the legal ownership of the property changes hands. It’s the culmination of months of searching, paperwork, surveys, and conveyancing negotiations.
On completion day the buyer must complete the following key steps:
- Pay the Remaining Balance: Pay the agreed house price minus any deposit already paid. This will include any stamp duty owed.
- Receive Keys: Obtain the keys to the property from the estate agent to gain access.
- Officially Own the Property: Once payment clears, ownership will transfer from seller to buyer.
- Move In: Transport your belongings and begin moving into your new home.
The weeks and days leading up to completion involve a flurry of activity between the buyer’s and seller’s conveyancers. But what exactly happens on the all-important completion day itself?
Learn more about cheap conveyancing solicitors:
- What is a licensed conveyancer?
- Difference between licensed conveyancers and solicitors
- Why is choosing the right conveyancer important?
- Process of appointing a conveyancing solicitor
- How to choose the right conveyancing solicitor?
- Do you need a conveyancer for buying a house?
- Finding the best conveyancer
- Can you change conveyancing solicitors?
Detailed Timeline of What Happens on Completion Day
While every home purchase differs slightly, the general timeline of events unfolds in this order:
8 AM – Conveyancer Confirms Completion
- The buyer’s conveyancer will contact the buyer to confirm completion can proceed as planned.
- This gives the go ahead to start the final transfer and payments.
9 AM – Mortgage Lender Sends Funds
- With approval confirmed, the mortgage lender will electronically transfer the agreed amount to the buyer’s conveyancer.
10 AM – Balance Payment Sent to Seller
- Once mortgage funds clear, the buyer’s conveyancer sends the remaining balance owed to the seller’s conveyancer.
11 AM – Estate Agent Receives Payment
- The seller’s conveyancer will instruct the estate agent that funds have cleared.
12 PM – Buyer Receives Keys
- The estate agent releases the keys to the buyer, who can now access the property.
1 PM – Ownership Transfer Complete
- All legal ownership of the property has now switched from seller to buyer.
2 PM – New Owners Move In
- The buyer can begin moving their belongings into their newly purchased home.
That covers the key milestones of events from both the buyer’s and seller’s side on completion day. Next let’s look at these stages in more detail from the buyer’s perspective.
Learn more about conveyancing quote:
- What is a conveyancing quote?
- What should a conveyancing quote include?
- Can I request a free online conveyancing quote?
What Happens on Completion Day: Walkthrough for Buyers
If you’re the buyer, here is an hour-by-hour overview of the sequence of events on the big completion day:
8 AM – Conveyancer Confirms Completion
Your conveyancer will call you first thing in the morning to confirm that completion can proceed as planned. They will have liaised with the seller’s conveyancer to verify everything is in order.
This is not the time for any last minute negotiations on price or terms, as they should have been settled weeks ago. Barring any major catastrophe, your conveyancer will give you the green light.
9 AM – Mortgage Funds Transferred
With approval from your conveyancer, the mortgage lender will electronically wire the agreed mortgage amount to your conveyancer’s account.
You should have signed the mortgage contracts weeks prior, so the lender simply transfers the funds on the agreed completion date.
10 AM – Balance Payment Sent to Seller
Once your conveyancer confirms receipt of the mortgage funds, they will immediately arrange transfer of the remaining balance owed to the seller’s conveyancer.
The amount sent is the portion not covered by your mortgage deposit. This comes from your own funds.ć
“The team at AvRillo are outstanding! Never have i worked with a more efficient solicitor. They respond to emails very quickly and are client focussed. I have been notified every step of the way and the work has been acted on immediately by Tiana and her team. I will use AvRillo again in the future if needed and will recommend to friends and family. 5” – Amie, a satisfied AVRillo client.
11 AM – Estate Agent Receives Confirmation
The seller’s conveyancer will notify the estate agent that your funds for the property have cleared into their account.
Only on this confirmation will the agent release the keys to you!
12 PM – You Receive the Keys!
With the conveyancers confirming the transaction is complete, the estate agent can now hand over the keys and security codes to you – the new rightful owner!
This long-awaited moment grants you access so you can start moving your possessions into the property.
1 PM Onwards – You Officially Own Your New Home!
Following completion and key exchange, all legal ownership of the property has transferred from the seller to you. The contracts have been fulfilled.
You can now begin moving in and settling into your new home!
That covers the major milestones and events that transpire on the day itself from the buyer’s perspective. It’s an exhausting but extremely exciting day! Next let’s look at completion day from the seller’s viewpoint.
What Happens on Completion Day For Sellers?
For the sellers, the timeline of events unfolding on completion day includes:
- 8 AM – Conveyancer Confirms Sale: The conveyancer verifies with the buyer’s conveyancer that the sale can proceed.
- 10 AM – Receive Final Payment: Funds from the buyer clear into the the seller’s conveyancer account.
- 11 AM – Inform Estate Agent: The conveyancer tells the estate agent that payment has been received.
- 12 PM – Handover Keys: The seller returns their keys to the estate agent for handover to new owner.
- 1 PM – Property Ownership Transfers: Legal ownership has now switched from seller to buyer.
- 2 PM – Vacate the Property: Seller finishes moving out their possessions and vacating the home.
So in summary, the seller confirms completion is clear to proceed, receives the final payment, informs the estate agent funds are cleared, returns keys to the agent for handover, and vacates the property they’ve sold.
What Could Delay Completion?
While the completion day schedule typically runs smoothly, there are few things that could potential delay proceedings:
- Mortgage Delay: The buyer’s mortgage funds are not transferred in time to the conveyancer.
- Outstanding Balances: The buyer still owes monies for completion, such as stamp duty.
- Seller Delays: The seller is late vacating and still occupying the house past noon.
- Key Handover Delay: The estate agent is late providing keys after payment confirmation.
- Documentation Issues: Missing or incomplete paperwork that stalls the legal transfer.
- Conveyancer Unavailable: Your lawyer is not reachable to confirm completion.
Fortunately, an experienced conveyancer will proactively identify and resolve any issues in advance. Good communication between both conveyancers also ensures a timely completion. But it’s possible any party involved can cause delays.
If facing any major delays past 3:00 PM, completion would likely need to be postponed a day or two. But with all professionals doing their diligence, you can expect a smooth process.
Final Steps After Completion as New Homeowner
Once the keys are in your hand on completion day, you may think the work is done – but not just yet! Here are outstanding tasks and paperwork to handle:
- Redirect mail to your new address with the Royal Mail.
- Complete final meter readings on gas, electricity, and water for your old home.
- Switch your utilities and services over to the new property.
- Handle any final paperwork your conveyancer needs for the property registry.
- Officially register for council tax at your new address.
- Notify important contacts and subscription services of your new address.
- Complete any initial cleaning, repairs, or redecoration in your new home.
- Unpack boxes and settle into your new property!
While exhausting, the sense of joy and relief making a house your legal home is well worth the effort on completion day.
Finding a Conveyancer Who Can Guide You Through
Having an experienced conveyancer overseeing the legal intricacies is what makes the completion day process smooth for buyers.
Here are tips on choosing the best conveyancer:
- Look for specialists who focus solely on conveyancing rather than general solicitors.
- Ensure they have extensive experience with thousands of successful transactions.
- Read reviews praising their communication skills and availability.
- Compare their average completion times – faster is better so long as they maintain quality.
- Opt for transparent conveyancers who provide a complete cost breakdown.
- Consider large conveyancing firms who have the infrastructure to handle complex sales.
An expert conveyancer or conveyancing firm can answer all your questions leading up to completion day so you know precisely what to expect. Having them handling all legal details allows you to simply focus on the joy of moving into your new home!
Completion Marks the Start of an Exciting New Chapter
While frantic at times, stay positive on your completion day and remind yourself this marks the start of an exciting new chapter. The day when your offer got accepted may have been joyous, but completion is when your property becomes your legal residence.
Following the guidance from your conveyancer combined with diligence from all professionals involved ensures the day proceeds smoothly. Before long you’ll be turning your new house into a home.
Completion day is not just the end of a long purchasing journey, but also the wonderful beginning of making a house your cherished home. Enjoy the excitement of this milestone achievement in your life! The memories of moving into your first owned residence will stay fondly with you for years to come.
On completion day, the buyer’s conveyancer transfers the final payment to the seller’s solicitor, and the seller vacates the property, typically by 1 pm. This marks the official transfer of ownership, and the buyer receives the keys to their new home.
Completion day usually occurs between 7 to 28 days after the exchange of contracts. This period allows both parties to prepare for the final transfer of the property.
In case of any delays, it’s important to stay in communication with your conveyancing solicitor. They can provide guidance and help resolve any issues to ensure the process is completed as soon as possible.