What is completion day?
Completion day is the final step in buying a property. It’s when the sale is completed and you become the legal new owner of the property.
The completion process can vary depending on whether you’re buying with a mortgage or not, but there are some key things that always need to be done on completion day.
If you’re getting a mortgage, your lender will release the money to your conveyancing solicitor on completion day. Once they’ve got the funds, they’ll pay off the seller’s mortgage and any other debts attached to the property.
They’ll also transfer any remaining money to you.
If you’re buying without a mortgage, you’ll need to pay the full amount of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor on completion day.
Once the money has changed hands, the keys to the property will be released and you can start moving in!
There are usually a few final checks and paperwork to sign on completion day, but once that’s all done, you’ll finally be the owner of your new property.
What happens on completion day?
On completion day, your conveyancing solicitor verifies the sale, handles legal documents and deeds, and signs off mortgage completion statements (if you’re the seller).
Prior to the sale, the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will ensure that all mortgage terms have been satisfied and will seek funds from the lender.
If the seller’s property has a mortgage, the seller’s solicitor will obtain a Redemption Certificate (calculated to the day of completion).
Conveyancing solicitors on both sides provide completion statements that include all payments made and received, as well as any invoices due at the time of completion.
On completion day, both solicitors conduct final inspections, and the buyer’s solicitor transfers the purchase money to the seller via a bank transaction.
The seller’s solicitor will confirm the moving day with the buyer and release the keys from the estate agent once the payments have been received by them. They also make certain that all expenses, including the seller’s estate agent fees, are paid.
What is vacant possession
If you’re buying a property to live in, your contract will state that the previous owner must leave the property “vacant and clean.”
vacant possession means that the seller and anyone else who lived there should have left the property before the sale was completed and that they should have taken away any personal belongings that weren’t included in the sale.
If the property isn’t left in this condition, you may have grounds to negotiate with the seller or seek compensation.
What if I get to the house and the seller is still there?
If the seller is still in the property after completion day, it is important to contact your conveyancing solicitor as soon as possible.
They will be able to advise you on the next steps to take and whether you are entitled to possession of the property.
In some cases, the seller may have a legal right to stay in the property for a period of time after completion. This is known as a ‘retention of possession’.
If this is the case, your conveyancer or solicitor will be able to advise you on the best course of action to avoid doing anything wrong.
What if the seller leaves items behind in the property
It is not uncommon for sellers to leave items behind in the property after completion day. This can often be due to a misunderstanding about what should be included in the sale, or simply because they have forgotten to remove them.
If you find that the seller has left items behind, it is important to contact them as soon as possible. If they do not remove the items within a reasonable timeframe, you may have to consider taking legal action.
If you are in this situation, it is important to seek professional advice from a solicitor or conveyancer to ensure that you are taking the correct course of action.
What if the seller refuses to leave the property on the completion date
If the seller refuses to leave the property on the completion date, the buyer may have to resort to legal action in order to force them to vacate.
This can be a lengthy and costly process, so it is always best to try and reach an agreement with the seller beforehand.
If you are unable to come to an agreement, then you should speak to a conveyancing solicitor who can advise you on the best course of action and not be stuck in a difficult situation
What happens if there is a delayed completion
If the completion of the sale is delayed for any reason, the buyer is still responsible for making all mortgage payments, insurance premiums, and property upkeep.
The seller may also charge a daily interest rate on the remaining balance of the purchase price and cause an additional cost.
If the buyer is unable to complete the sale, they may forfeit their deposit and be liable for any damages incurred by the seller.
Can I exchange and complete on the same day?
It is possible to exchange contracts and complete on the same day, but it is not always advisable.
This is because if there are any problems with the property or the sale, you may not have time to resolve them before completing and you may end up spending a lot of money.
You should speak to your conveyancing solicitor to see if this is an option for you.