What happens on completion day?

- Wed 03 Apr 2024

For most people completion day is moving day, it is the day everyone has been waiting for and the exciting moment at the end of the process. Legally, it's the instant when funds are transferred, and you officially become the proud owner of your new home.

What happens first? 

The timeline for completion day varies depending on the complexity of the chain of sales involved. The longer the chain, the later in the day the final sale completes. As a general guideline, it typically takes about an hour for funds to transition from the buyer's solicitor to the sellers. For instance, if the initial funds are dispatched at 9am, they're likely to be received by 10am or 10:30am. At this point, the selling agent is notified of the completion, and keys can be released. This process ripples along the chain accordingly.

Remember, until the agent receives that crucial notification, keys cannot legally change hands.

Who completes first?

The first to complete is usually the first link in the chain - often a first-time buyer or someone who does not have anything to sell or in rented accommodation for example.

Can I exchange contracts and complete on the same day?

Absolutely! Simultaneous exchange and completion are feasible, but they come with inherent risks. Until contracts are exchanged, there's still a possibility that the sale could falter. Typically, completion occurs a week or two after the exchange, although the timeframe might extend for larger homes requiring more time for packing or a brand new home where often you will exchange a long period ahead of being built.

What If a Buyer Fails to Complete?

While rare, if a buyer fails to complete, they forfeit their deposit and may face additional costs and damages. Thankfully, such instances are usually attributable to unforeseen and significant changes in circumstances.

Completion day marks a wonderful day although some may say quite a stressful time as well. It is important to not look over the minor details that you do need to take note of – such as taking the meter readings and ensuring there is a forwarding address for post. Also don't overlook the need for buildings insurance from the moment of exchange! Without it, exchange cannot proceed, potentially stalling the sale.

At Bradleys Estate Agents, we offer the Complete Property Service, offering the best local property related services, including mortgages, property management, new homes, surveys and no sale, no fee conveyancing. If you would like to understand more about the Conveyancing process, take a look at the article below…