When contracts are exchanged a ‘Completion’ date is set for the transfer of legal ownership of the property to take place. ‘Completion’ is not just a date, but a process
On the ‘Completion’ date 2 things happen:
- the buyer sends the seller the money for the property
- the seller then releases the keys to the property
Only when the keys have been handed over has ‘Completion’ occurred.
In theory, because ‘Completion’ is a date set on a calendar day, not a set time, the process could take place any time in that 24 hour period.
However all conveyancers accept that 12 noon is a reasonable time for ‘completion’ so that moving in can take place in daylight hours. Also the contract should state that the buyer pays the seller the outstanding purchase money by 2pm.
These both help to set some kind of time frame to the process of ‘Completion’.
However, delays can occur and this is when it is important to have an experienced conveyancer to avoid your ‘Completion’ day turning in to a nightmare.
Factors that could cause a delay in ‘Completion’ are:
- The seller’s removals taking too long and failing to be out by noon.
- If one of the buyers or sellers in a chain falls through, this will have a knock on effect on the rest of the chain.
- All bank transfers have to be completed by 3.30 and if there is a chain and multiple money transfers are taking place this can take time. If the money is not transferred by that time ‘completion’ cannot happen that day.
- If a mortgage advance is not released until late afternoon on the day of completion the buyer’s conveyancer will have difficulties in transferring the money to the seller’s conveyancer by 3pm. To avoid this delay, funds from the Mortgage provider should be requested the day before ‘Completion’.
- If there is a sole buyer with nothing to sell their lawyer should obtain cleared funds from their client (and any mortgage company) at least the day before, so they can put the money into the banking system before 9am to help the money transfers run smoothly.
- Conveyancers should ensure they have all the paperwork ready so that when money from the buyer’s mortgage lender or bank arrives in their bank they authorise the payment to the seller promptly to avoid delays.