What happens on completion day of a house sale?

What happens on completion day of a house sale?

Last updated: 06/01/2022 | Reading time: 5 minutes

You’ve accepted an offer on your house, signed the contracts and are prepped to move out - completion day is almost here. 

After the long process of selling your home, completion day marks the final stage of your house sale. It’s the day you hand over the keys and the home switches ownership. 

Completion day can vary depending on your situation, but here’s an overview of what you can expect. 

When will my completion day be?

Once you’ve accepted an offer, you’ll work with your conveyancing solicitor to draft contracts to share with the new owners. This is when you’ll agree on a completion day. 

It typically happens around 7 to 28 days after the contracts are exchanged, however this can vary. 

During your completion day, funds will need to be transferred to complete the house sale. Therefore, your completion day will usually fall on a weekday so your solicitor can confirm the transfer.

What happens on completion day?

When selling your home, completion day requires handing your keys to the new owner and vacating the property, if you haven’t already. 

So, if you haven’t already moved out, completion day is your last chance to do so. It can reduce stress on the day to move out in advance, if possible, to ensure the house is empty and ready for the new owners. They’ll probably be keen to move in as soon as possible.

You can use our moving home checklist to make sure you’re fully prepared to vacate your property and you’ve made all necessary arrangements. 

Prior to completion day, your solicitor will request a Redemption Certificate if your mortgage is still in process. A Redemption Certificate is issued by your lender and details how much of your mortgage is left to be paid, and when it expects these payments. 

Your solicitor and your buyers’ solicitor will also create completion statements, which list all payments made. 

Provided you’re out of your home and have no last minute packing to do on completion day, here is what typically happens on the final day of your house sale:

  1. The buyer's conveyancing solicitor will pay the funds to your solicitor by same day bank transfer. Once this payment has been received, the house sale is complete. 
  2. Your conveyancing solicitor will confirm receipt of payment with the buyer's solicitor, and get in contact with the estate agent to confirm the keys can be passed to the new owner. 
  3. It’s then the estate agent's responsibility to notify the buyers that they can collect the keys to their new home. 
  4. You should be notified by your conveyancing solicitor that the house sale is complete, and you need to vacate the property permanently, to allow the new owners to move in. 
  5. Finally, you need to settle all outstanding costs for your solicitor and estate agent. 
What happens on completion day in a chain?

A chain is the number of houses that are linked together in the purchase or sale of your home. In most sales there are around 4 or 5 homes in a chain. 

In a large chain, there are more moving parts and therefore more opportunity for problems to arise. To complete the sale of all homes in the chain without disruption all funds need to be transferred within the day to ensure everyone can complete on their property on the set day. The completion deadline is typically around 5.30. 

If you’re in a chain, your completion day timeline may look something like this:

  1. In the morning, the first buyer in the chain will complete their purchase and transfer the funds for their house sale. The first person in the chain is usually a first time buyer, without another property to sell. 
  2. The person who sold their home to the first buyer, becomes the second person in the chain. Once they have completed the sale of their home, they will complete their purchase early in the afternoon. 
  3. The person who sold their home to the second buyer becomes the third person in the chain. Once they have completed the sale of their home, they will complete their purchase around mid-afternoon. 
  4. The final person in the chain is usually someone who is just selling their home, without another property to buy. Once they have received the funds from the third buyer, the transaction is complete and the chain is ended, before the completion day deadline at 5.30. 

One unexpected issue can hold up the entire chain on completion day, so it’s important to make sure you’re prepared, to keep the day running smoothly. 

Click on the buttons below to read more content about selling your home:

Moving house: a guide to packing up and moving your gear
A guide to cleaning up when you move house

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