So, you’re finally ready to wrap up your weeks or months-long real estate transaction. You’ll be moving into your home or part ways with it for a handsome sum.
Ever since you initiated the property buying or selling process, you’ve undoubtedly gone through a handful of different challenges along the way that tested your patience, perseverance and eye for detail. After moving past points of frustration and long periods of patiently waiting for processes to wrap up, you’re finally ready to close in on a long-awaited completion day.
Now that your documentation is all sorted out, your conveyancer’s research is complete, and you’ve been given an expected date of completion. Once all the excitement and celebrations have subsided, however, you’ll have either one (or all) three questions in mind:
What does a completion day actually mean?
What actually happens during this period?
How should you be preparing for it?
Given the three questions mentioned above, it’s best to assume that you’ll want to answer them as soon as possible before you dive into the process of wrapping things up. Fortunately, we’ve created this guide to tell you everything you need to know about completion day, including how you can approach it correctly and ensure that it pans out smoothly before you move in or get paid:
So, What Does Completion Day Actually Mean?
Completion day, simply put, refers to a specific day or period in the property transaction process wherein a buyer is handed the key to their new home.
The one thing most home buyers or sellers need to understand about completion day is that it is not only a commonly known phase, but it is also a specific period that is written into house or lot sale contracts. This essentially means that completion day itself is a legally binding step in the property purchase process that bears more details to become well-aware of.
In terms of technical or legal perspectives, completion days simply represent periods wherein a buyer officially becomes the owner of a house and that the property sale itself is essentially completed. When it comes to managing the legal complexities of this day, your hired solicitor will handle most, if not all, of the processes, steps, requirements and terminologies involved.
What Happens During This Day?
A completion day, although relatively simple, is chock-full of different steps and processes that both buyers and sellers must account for to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.
At the beginning of this day or period, the first thing that takes place is a payment or exchange of money between several parties to wrap up any existing financial obligations. During this step, a seller’s solicitor receives outstanding funds after any paid deposits, while a buyer’s solicitor facilitates the transfer of money.
Generally, payments made during this particular period are transferred through the Clearing House Automated Payments System (CHAPS)—a widely used tool that has been developed for ensuring safe and secure property transaction payments. With this system, your conveyancer must account for strict deadlines for such dues and comply with them accordingly.
After the funds are transferred through the CHAPS system, a seller’s solicitor must confirm if the funds have arrived to ensure that the buying party upholds its side of the deal. Upon transfer confirmation, a seller must hand over the keys to their property and provide a title—a process arranged through the solicitors of both the buying and selling parties.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home or property, the completion day won’t be considered finished or complete until various minor expenses are paid. These costs include fees that must be paid to an estate agent and charges incurred from hiring a conveyancer for all the fees agreed on.
What Are the Challenges That You May End Up Facing?
The completion day process is a relatively smooth one because its encompassing steps are fairly easy to carry out—but it isn’t a stranger to experiencing various difficulties or hurdles. To give you a better idea of the kinks that you might run into along the way, here’s a quick rundown of those hurdles:
Complications when the money is being passed from a mortgage provider or lender to the buyer’s solicitors (which can cause delays)
Failures to secure or transfer payments by 3 pm on the agreed date (this can result in payment being ultimately delayed and the entire transaction being delayed by a day)
Errors in names, account numbers and the like
How Should You Be Preparing for Completion Day?
When it comes to ensuring that you’re as prepared as possible for completion day, there are various steps and precautions that you can take. Here’s a quick rundown of what can be done to best ensure that you’re ready to get everything done quickly without any snags along the way:
Tip #1: Ensure that all utilities are working correctly
Whether you’re buying a home or selling it, it’s vital that you ensure that the property’s utilities—meaning electricity, water and all else—are working as they should be. Doing this essentially ensures that the move-in process is easier for a buying party while minimising the overall risk of any complaints or delays that may extend a completion day.
Tip #2: Double-Check Your Money (If You’re a Buying Party)
During completion day transactions, it isn’t unheard of to experience delays simply because the funds allotted to purchase a home weren’t made available. This can cause some unwanted hold-ups. Before your set day arrives, it’s ideal that you double- or triple-check with both your bank and solicitor and see if the complete amount for the purchase is available.
Tip #3: Make Arrangements with the Opposite Party Regarding the Turnover
To help ensure that you have a quick and easy completion day, it’s ideal that you set plans for the turnover of the keys and title. With this simple step, you can establish how things will go after a seller’s or your solicitor gives the go signal for the exchange of keys. You can choose to meet directly or have a pick-up arranged.
Tip #4: Have Your Movers at the Ready (If You’re the Buying Party)
If you want to start living in your new home by the time completion day rolls around, then it’s ideal to ensure that your movers are in the know with all your things packed and ready to be set down. Doing this simple trick will allow you to not only move in much sooner, but also ensure that you don’t have to put your items at risk in your old, unoccupied house.
After going through the bulk of the property transaction process and holding up your obligations as either a buyer or a seller, the last step that you’ll need to take care of is completion day. By keeping these key tips, tricks and points in mind, you can help ensure that you have the smoothest experience possible and wrap things up nicely!
Are you looking to streamline your home buying or selling process without taking any unnecessary risks along the way? Check out our conveyancing fees calculator today to get the best and most accurate results from our team of fully regulated and trained professionals!