What Happens on Completion Day When Buying a House?

What is Completion Day?

Completion day is the very final and most exciting stage of the property purchasing process, but what actually happens on the big day?

As the name suggests, completion day is the date when the transaction is completed, meaning you receive the keys and you can move into your new home. To learn more about what happens on completion day, who decides the date and more, please see our guide below:

What Happens on Completion Day?

On the day of completion:

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Both your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor carry out final checks to ensure no circumstances have been changed.

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Mortgage lender receives a ‘Redemption Certificate’ to show how much money is left to be paid on the mortgage and how the payments for the outstanding balance will be made.

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Your mortgage lender transfers the funds to your solicitor who then transfers the funds to the seller.

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The seller releases the key for you to pick up. Typically, you can collect the keys from the estate agent that the seller has appointed.

Who decides the completion date?

Completion day is agreed between you and the seller when exchanging contracts. Completion day is typically between one or two weeks following the contract exchange. However, should you desire to do so, the completion and exchange of contracts can happen on the same day.

Although possible, it is generally not advisable to exchange contracts and complete on the same day as it can be stressful. You will have a lot to organize in one day and if anything goes wrong, it can result in a number of complications. There are also some mortgage providers who would not allow you to exchange and complete on the same day so unless you are a cash buyer, this might not be an option for you.

There are a few circumstances when exchanging contracts and completing can take place on the sae day, such as:

There is no chain in the transaction so you are not relying on other sales to complete.

You are a cash buyer, you would not have to worry about your mortgage offer being provoked or receiving the funds from the mortgage lender.

Completion Day for New Builds

If you are purchasing a new build home, the completion date can be uncertain as construction could be delayed. As a result, the period between exchange and completion can vary hugely, even for a few months. Once the property has been fully built, the completion date can be determined.

It is also worth remembering that your mortgage offer will have an expiry date. If your mortgage offer is set to expire before completion, it is important to make sure it can be extended. If your mortgage lender does not offer an extension, you will have to go through the process of re-applying. As a result, you will have to go through valuation again.

When is the Best Day to Complete?

The completion day can be on any weekday, from Monday to Friday. The most popular day of the week to complete is Friday, followed by Monday. The main reason for people choosing to complete on Friday is due to their work commitments. It gives you the weekend to settle into your new home, meaning you would only take one day off work.

There are, however, also reasons for choosing not to complete on Friday. Due to its popularity and high demand, removal companies will likely charge higher rates for their services. As well as the higher costs, Friday could potentially result in you being homeless for the weekend if banks are unable to transfer the funds in time or face unexpected delays.

What Can Go Wrong on Completion Day?

There can be a number of things that can go wrong on completion day. Delays can, for example, be caused by just one buyer/seller in the chain failing to complete, which as a result will have a knock-on effect for everyone involved. For example, if one of the buyers in the chain gets their mortgage withdrawn by the mortgage provider, this would ultimately lead to delaying things. It is also worth noting that if the delay is caused by you, you could be subject to a penalty fine.

More commonly, there can be delays with banks processing the payments. With CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System), solicitors need to receive the money by 3:30 pm in order to complete, otherwise, the transfer will be carried out on the next working day. This can be an issue particularly if you had already, for instance, arranged a removal van but yet to complete.

It is also possible delays are caused by disputes regarding the property sale. For example, the seller and the buyer might have had a different idea of what was included in the sale, which has arisen between exchange and completion.

What Can I Do to Avoid Completion Day Issues?

Although some of the problems might not be avoidable, there are a few things you can do to avoid completion day problems and help speed up completion.

Be easily contactable - it is so important that you can be contacted easily during the buying process by estate agents and the conveyancer, and provide them with any details and information required as soon as possible. This means you may want to avoid going on holiday until the sale has completed.

Choose an efficient solicitor — Delays are often caused as a result of solicitors not moving quickly enough. You should be able to get a good idea of how efficient the solicitor is by carrying out research - seeking recommendations from friends and relatives, as well as reading online reviews.

Be in regular contact with your solicitor — Make sure you understand the progress throughout the process by talking to your solicitor on a regular basis.

Make sure your solicitor receives your deposit in good time.