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Conveyancers often talk about “completion” to their clients as if they should have an idea of what it actually means! Although it is fairly easy to guess what this term may refer to, understanding the legal significance of this term, and its practical implications, is useful when buying or selling a property.

Completion is sometimes referred to as “closing”. In conveyancing transactions, completion is the end of the property transaction. At completion, two major events happen: (1) the seller will receive the purchase price for the property, and (2) the transfer documents are dated.

The other, more practical, events which occur on completion are the various phone calls which the conveyancer will make. For any conveyancer, completion days are extremely busy and require numerous telephone calls, emails and work on a particular file.

On completion today on a purchase transaction, your conveyancer will instruct their accounts department to send the purchase price to the seller’s conveyancer. All being well, this will happen early in the morning, although sometimes problems do arise. Upon being informed that the money is in “the system”, your conveyancer will email or call the seller’s conveyancer to inform them that money is “on its way” or “in the system” and will ask them to confirm receipt.

A common misconception by clients at this stage is that the money transfer will be instantaneous. The reality is that, although the money is usually sent via CHAPS (a faster payment system), the money can take hours to arrive with the seller. This can be a problem, given that the daily banking hours are limited. On a recent transaction, we waited almost four hours for the money to arrive with the seller. It is clear to see why this causes tension and panic for a client who is not aware of the process.

Once the seller’s conveyancer has received the money they will email or call the buyer’s conveyancer to say that they have “completed”. This trigger both conveyancers to date any relevant documents. The buyer’s conveyancer should then ask the seller’s conveyancer to telephone the estate agents (if applicable) to “release the keys”. This is usually a formality, but the conveyancer should have double checked with their client(s) that there are no practical issues with doing this (e.g. the removers have not quite finished). Usually this is not a problem.

After completion, your conveyancer will complete post completion tasks such as registering the new owner of the property.

Get in Touch

If you are thinking of buying, selling or remortgaging a property, please get in touch with us on 0118 958 9711, or email [email protected].

Further Reading

Excluding leases from the security of tenure provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954

Who Owns Your Home? Land Registry Check for Existing Clients for Only £6

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