Completion is the end of the house buying process, but issues can still crop up at this point and beyond, as Ross explains this month…
Can I move into my new house before completion?
If a property is empty many buyers often ask if it is possible to move in before completion. Generally, the answer is no.
The solicitor acting for the seller will be worried about the practical difficulties of evicting you, should you refuse to pay up. It may be possible to arrange access to measure up and even have building work done prior to completion, however, there is no legal obligation on the seller to agree to this. In these circumstances, a buyer will normally be asked to sign an undertaking not to move into the property, only to carry out the agreed work.
I am due to complete on the sale of my property next Friday. Although we have exchanged contracts, my buyer has said he is unlikely to have the money ready. What will happen?
As you have already exchanged, your buyer will be in breach of contract if he does not complete on the specified date.
The contract you signed will contain a clause that means the buyer will have to pay you compensation if he fails to complete. This is normally calculated on a daily basis, at a rate of interest referred to in the contract and is based on the full purchase price, less any deposit.
You may also be able to make claims for other losses resulting from the delayed completion, such as the cancellation of a removal firm and any compensation you have to pay on the house you are buying. These claims are likely to be reduced by the penalty interest you receive from your buyer.
I want to add my partner’s name to the deeds on my house. How do I go about doing this?
If you have a mortgage, the first thing you should do is approach your lender to ensure there are no objections to the joint ownership. You will need consent not only to the transfer of the deeds, but also to your partner’s name being added to the mortgage.
Once you have formal approval from your lender, a new mortgage deed will probably be issued that should be signed by both of you.
Your solicitor will also need to prepare a transfer deed, which again will require your signatures. It will confirm whether your partner is giving you any money and how large a share of the property she will own. It is important that you consider this point carefully, particularly if you are not asking for a financial contribution.
When the mortgage deed and transfer have been signed, your solicitor will register them with the Land Registry and remove all reference to the previous mortgage that was in your sole name. Any deeds and documents are likely to be held by your lender once registration is complete.