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What happens on completion day and what is it?

Completion Day is the final step in the home buying or selling journey and marks a big milestone for everyone involved.

It can be both exciting and daunting. That’s why we’re here to help. Whether your completion day is next week, or your conveyancer has just mentioned it - we’ll go through everything you need to know about completion day.

Let’s get into it.


What is completion day?

Completion day marks the finish line of your sale or purchase journey, if your buying and selling a home, these will also complete on the same day. It’s the big day when the legal ownership officially transfers from the seller to the buyer.

It's the day, money will be transferred from the buyer’s solicitor to the sellers, and the keys will be released to the buyer once the funds have been received. It’s at this point the buyer can now move in.

The property now 100% belongs to the buyer. All contracts have been fulfilled. It’s the moment when the sale and purchase is legally complete.

For buyers, it’s a day to cherish after potentially months of preparation and anticipation. For the seller, it can be bittersweet, but marks a fresh start.

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Exchange date vs completion date

Exchange and completion are two important dates, but they mean different things. Let’s break it down.

Exchange date refers to the exchange of contracts. This is when signed contracts are swapped between conveyancers.

Conveyancers will input key information including completion dates and deposit amounts and then contracts are returned, making the buyer and seller legally bound to the sale of the property.

The purchase deposit is transferred from the buyer to their conveyancer, who will then transfer the funds to the seller’s conveyancer.

If either party backs out after this, they risk either losing their deposit or having to return it depending on who defaulted. It’s also a breach of contract, which can lead to litigation.

Completion day is different to the exchange of contracts, it’s your official moving date. It will typically be 7 to 28 days after you have exchanged contracts. Although there is no minimum or maximum time required between exchange and completion.

The dates can be confusing, but each has a distinct purpose. Exchange legally binds the transaction and completion transfers ownership.

Can you exchange and complete on the same day?

We know waiting for completion day can be a pain, especially if you’re a part of a long property chain. It could take months before you get the keys.

Exchanging and completing on the same day is possible, but it takes serious coordination. More can go wrong as the turnaround time is so short.

You likely won’t know you’re going to be moving into your new home until the day. This can make planning for removals or securing temporary accommodation (if needed) tough.

Getting mortgage funds released quickly is another hurdle. Some lenders can do it on the day, but others might require 5 working days to complete the transfer.

While same-day exchange and completion are quite common, it’s risky and can become stressful.

For chain-free sales, it’s more doable but can still be a challenge. Sometimes simultaneous exchanges and completions are unavoidable, but we will always be as proactive as possible to make sure everything is aligned as it can be.

The conveyancing process has many moving parts. Allowing time between exchange and completion helps ensure they align properly.

What happens on completion day: a timeline

Whether you’re moving out of your house for good or picking up the keys to move in, completion day is a busy day. As you handle moving or finishing last-minute tasks, rely on your conveyancer to manage all the legal details in the days leading up to completion, and the day itself.

Here’s a completion day timeline of everything you can expect to happen in the build to completion day and the day itself:

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Before completion day:

  1. First, your conveyancer will check that the mortgage conditions have been met. They’ll then request the funds from your lender ready for the big day.
  2. The seller’s conveyancer will request a redemption statement from their client’s lender. This will show your outstanding balance and how much is still owed on your previous mortgage.
  3. Completion statements are prepared – these are the financial breakdowns for both the buyer and the seller. Both parties must check that finances are correct and raise queries if there are any.
  4. Any outstanding balances must be paid before completion proceeds, by both the buyer and the seller to their conveyancers. Although seller’s legal fees are often deducted from the sale proceeds.

On completion day:

  1. On the day, the buyer’s conveyancer will send the funds to the seller’s conveyancer.
  2. The seller’s conveyancer can then confirm completion with the estate agent who will now have the all-clear to release the keys to the buyer.
  3. The seller must be out of the property by an agreed time (usually midday), and the buyer can begin moving in.
  4. Once the seller’s conveyancer has received the funds it’s time to get settled in as a buyer – you did it, you completed completion day. It’s time to organise your new home and enjoy the payoff from the hard work.
  5. The seller’s conveyancer will redeem the mortgage. This is the process of paying off the outstanding balance on your mortgage (as a seller) and any other fees associated with it.
  6. Post-completion - the buyer’s conveyancer will register the buyer as the new legal owner of the property with the Land Registry. It can take some time to get your legal documents back, but it doesn’t impact you moving in.
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How long does completion take?

On the big day, completion typically happens around midday. The exact time could be different depending on your situation, what you’ve agreed and the length of your chain.

At Eden, our goal is to ensure that completion happens as smoothly and punctually as possible. But if extra time or flexibility is needed, we’ll be transparent about why.

Wherever you fall on the timeline, we’ll keep you updated on the plan. If any delays pop up, we’ll communicate this right away.

No two journeys are the same when buying or selling a property. We treat each case individually and tailor our approach.

When the day comes, we’ll be ready on your behalf.

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What’s the best day to complete on?

Completion day must take place on a weekday when the banks are open. Enabling funds to be transferred and confirmed.

Fridays are a popular choice as it gives movers time to organise and settle in after the busy day of completion. You may find that removal costs are more expensive because of the popularity of Fridays.

Earlier weekdays like Monday and Tuesday are likely to be the most cost-effective as they are less popular choices for completion.

There’s no universally known best day for completion. It depends on your priorities and situation.

If having the weekend to move in is key, target the end of the week. If you have more flexibility and want to potentially save on costs, earlier in the week may be better.

How does completion day work in a chain?

Completions get more complicated when you’re a part of a chain, but we’ll keep this explanation as simple as possible.

The order of completions will follow the chain sequence. Starting with the person or people at the bottom (usually who are only buying). As soon as they have completed, each link will follow.

Funds trickle up the chain – each buyer’s money funds the next seller’s completion. Timing is crucial to keep the flow going.

Delays in one part of the chain can disrupt the whole sequence. Good communication between conveyancers prevents these hold-ups.

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What happens on completion day with no chain?

If you’re lucky enough to not be in a chain, completion day should be smoother sailing. With no chain, conveyancers can schedule completion right after the exchange. Usually within 1 to 2 weeks, sometimes sooner.

There is no need to coordinate with other sales. Your conveyancer simply needs to liaise with the seller’s conveyancer directly to choose a mutually convenient day.

On the day, funds are transferred, and the receipt can be quickly confirmed. There’s no waiting around for other funds to come through. The estate agent will be notified right away to release the keys, and they’re yours!

At Eden, we’ll always discuss with our clients their ideal exchange and completion dates to make sure that the dates are tailored to their needs.

If I fail to come up with the funds, what happens?

Not having the completion funds can derail the whole process, but stay positive. With good communication, hiccups can be resolved.

We request funds a few days before completion, and mortgage funds are arranged to be with us the day before completion, so we have time to identify any issues before completion.

If the hold-up stems from your buyer’s end, they’d owe you the late completion fee instead.

Usually where completion doesn’t take place on the agreed date, a notice to complete is served on the defaulting party. This notice should force completion within a certain timeframe, if completion still fails to take place within this period, the deposit is at risk and there are financial penalties.

Setbacks pop up despite best efforts, sometimes it may be unavoidable. If issues emerge, it’s best to be upfront so your conveyancer can identify the next steps. At Eden, our goal is finding solutions, not placing blame.

If you do encounter an issue with funds, stay calm and communicative. Completion often gets quickly back on track.

Who decides when completion day happens?

It’s not rocket science, but it can be tough to organise depending on your situation. The buyer’s conveyancer will liaise with the seller’s conveyancer to arrange a completion date that is agreeable to everyone involved. Estate agents can also assist in organising the date.

Once again, if you’re in a chain, it can be tricky. There are going to be a lot of conveyancers liaising with each other to get a date, and the longer the chain the more difficult this is to organise and agree.

Front Door

What happens after completion day?

You did it! You moved into your new home. There are still a few things for you and your conveyancer to do.

Your conveyancer will handle registering your ownership with the Land Registry. It can take some weeks (or even months) to finalise. You needn’t worry, though. Tying up these final loose ends won’t impact you moving in.

On your end, make sure to notify important contacts about your exciting move:

  • The DVLA and your insurance providers
  • Your bank, employers, and pension companies
  • Doctors, dentists, subscriptions, and memberships

It’s easy to forget how many people need to know that you’ve moved and you’re at a new address. Try to write down a list and get them ticked off ASAP.

Completion day checklist

Here’s the above broken down into a convenient completion day checklist:

Understand what completion day is

  • The day ownership legally transfers from the seller to the buyer
  • All contracts have been fulfilled
  • The property 100% belongs to the buyer

Know the difference between exchange and completion

  • Exchange - contracts are signed and legally binding
  • Completion - ownership transfers and the buyer can move in

Prepare for the timeline

  • The buyer’s conveyancer requests mortgage funds
  • The seller's conveyancer requests a redemption statement
  • Completion statements are prepared
  • Outstanding balances paid by the buyer and the seller
  • On the day – the funds are transferred and the keys released
  • Seller vacates the property by a set time
  • The buyer can begin moving in

Handle logistics

  • Schedule removals and storage if needed
  • Redirect mail and update contacts with the new address
  • Change utilities, memberships etc. over to the new property

If in a chain, understand the sequence

  • Completions follow the chain order from the bottom up
  • Each buyer's funds trigger the next seller's completion
  • Good communication prevents delays disrupting the chain

Enjoy completion day

  • The milestone you've been waiting for
  • Time to settle into your new home or begin your new chapter and celebrate

Frequently asked questions

How does completion day work when I am buying and selling?

When you’re buying a new property and selling your existing one, completion day involves coordinating the two transactions:

  1. Your conveyancer will work with the other parties’ conveyancer on both transactions to align timings.
  2. On completion day, the sale of your home will be completed first, with the funds going to your conveyancer.
  3. Once the sale funds clear, your conveyancer will use that money towards the purchase funds owed for your new property purchase.
  4. After transferring all the purchase funds, you receive the keys to your new home and become the legal owner.

How do I get the keys on completion day?

On completion of a property purchase, you will receive the keys from the seller or the estate agent representing them once the final funds have been transferred and the transaction is complete.

What documents should I keep after completion day?

You’re going to receive quite a lot of documents after purchasing a property, here’s a list of them that you should hang on to:

  • Title deeds – Although these won’t be physical copies as the Land Registry records are now all digital.
  • Copy of the lease – If you’ve bought a leasehold, you’ll receive a copy.
  • Management pack – Again for leasehold or if you own a share of a freehold, you’ll likely be provided with a management pack.
  • Title report – Your conveyancer’s report on title should include a summary of the legal title and property search results.
  • Property information form – The TA6 form completed by the seller, contains a lot of useful information regarding your new property.
  • Fittings and content – The TA10 is filled out by the seller, it states how the property should have been left to you, definitely worth keeping.
  • Warranty – if you bought a newly built home, this would outline your warranty should anything break or not work correctly.
  • Energy performance certificate – Keep hold of the EPC as it shows how efficient your new home is and an estimate of how much it should cost to run.
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Need conveyancing without the confusion?

At Eden, we’re dedicated to transparency, and making sure we manage all of the legal stuff so you can focus on what truly matters.

You’ll get your own dedicated property lawyer who you can contact whenever you need. You’ll also get access to our 24/7 online platform, ensuring you’re updated every step of the way.

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