What happens on completion day?

  • 7th Mar 2022
  • 5 minute read
  • Written by Maisie Eames
What happens on completion day?

After hours of house hunting online and viewing countless properties, you may have finally decided on your ideal home, but what’s in store once you’ve done that? We’ll cover the ins and outs of completion day, so you know exactly what to expect when the exciting time comes.

In this guide
What is completion day?
What happens on completion day?
How long does it take to complete on a house with a chain?
How long does it take to complete on a house with no chain?
Can you exchange and complete on the same day?
What can go wrong on completion day?
What time do you normally get the keys on completion day?
Completion Day Checklist

What is completion day?

In simple terms, completion day is the day in the house buying and selling process on which ownership is transferred across – the buyer will get the keys to their new home and the seller will move out.

What happens on completion day?

However, there is more to completion day than transferring the keys and money over. Your solicitor will be working hard behind the scenes to confirm the transaction, dealing with paperwork, and signing off mortgage completion statements.

  1. The seller’s solicitor will request a redemption statement as well as any outstanding invoices.
  2. Completion Day will then begin once all mortgage conditions have been satisfied.
  3. Both solicitors will carry out all last checks and then the purchase balance will be put into the bank ready to be transferred to the seller.
  4. Once the money is received by the seller’s solicitor, the keys are released, and you can begin your move.

How long does it take to complete on a house with a chain?

Buying in a chain can be a frustrating process. You may be reliant on the sale of your previous home before buying a new one, as well as those buying the next property. This creates a chain that you then become dependent on for the sale and completion of your property. Without a chain, completion usually takes around 1-2 months, but in a chain, there is no exact length of time to suggest when completion will be. It all depends on the circumstances of everyone involved.

How long does it take to complete on a house with no chain?

1 in 10 house transactions are chain free, making them quite rare, but a much quicker process if you can find them. For example, if you are a first-time buyer, you will not be involved in a chain. But if you are a first-time buyer purchasing from someone in a chain, completion could be delayed slightly. Typically, chain free processes take around 28 days to complete, so it’s much sooner than if you were in one.

Can you exchange and complete on the same day?

Exchange date and completion day are two very important days in the moving process. Usually, they don’t occur on the same day, but it is possible. Exchange is when both parties sign a contract to legally bind them to a transaction and agree to a date in which all of this can occur. Completion day, as we mentioned, is the day when the keys and money is transferred across.

There is usually around 1-2 weeks in between the two, but the two can occur on the same day, although it could make the day much more stressful than necessary.

What can go wrong on completion day?

Usually, completion day should run smoothly and in most cases it does, but just like anything in life, it’s best to be prepared for things that could go wrong. Here’s some things to consider:

Delays at the bank – these can’t really be avoided, and with large amounts of money being transferred over, banks may have delays in processing, but you can ask your solicitor to try and keep you in the loop in regard to timings etc just to give you some peace of mind.

Removal problems – you may be heavily reliant on removals come completion day, so it can be very disappointing if they don’t arrive on schedule or at all – try to ensure whoever you use are reliable.

A misunderstanding with packing – Sometimes when your seller’s pack up their belongings, they make take things that were thought to be included in the sale. This can be awkward, so it’s important to be clear on what’s included beforehand to avoid disappointment on the big day.

What time do you normally get the keys on completion day?

The time you get your keys on completion day can vary. If you are in a chain, the process will begin at around 11am and end at around 4pm – when banks and solicitors close – but your position within the chain will impact your slot. If you are not in a chain, you should still receive the keys around 11am, but the transition process will be much shorter.

Completion Day Checklist

There are a few things you can do to ensure that completion day goes smoothly, whether you are a first-time buyer or a property pro, here’s some things to help ensure it goes smoothly.

Plan for moving day

As soon as you have a date of completion, you can begin planning for the big day. Start packing up your furniture and organising your removals, whether you are using a company or doing it with the help of friends and family.

Have funds and paperwork in order

It’s always handy to ensure you have any paperwork to hand in case anything last minute comes up.

Communicate regularly with conveyancing solicitor

Your solicitor will be working hard to finalise completion, it’s worth keeping good contact with them to stay in the loop with goings on or if you have any questions or concerns, to keep the process as smooth sailing as possible.

Once everything in the completion process has gone through, you can get your keys and look forward to a glass of fizz in your new home!

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