The Taylor&Emmet Blog

Completion day, insurance obligations and Help to Buy…

GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME: Sarah Gaunt is here to help first time buyers get to grips with the conveyancing process. This month, she outlines what to expect on completion day and insurance obligations, as well as providing an overview of Help to Buy…

What do I need to do on completion day?

This is the moment you have been waiting for – the day when your new property finally becomes yours.

As soon as your funds reach the seller’s solicitor, the transaction is classed as being legally completed. When you actually gain access is another matter. You may need to wait for the property to be cleared before you can start moving in your possessions.

Your solicitor will call to let you know completion has taken place and at that point, you can arrange collection of the keys. This will be with either the seller direct at the property or via the estate agent.

The seller has a legal obligation to vacate on the day of completion, but the time it happens is different in every case. Ultimately, it comes down to their position, where they are moving to and how organised they are.

If you have any queries or concerns on completion day, you can contact your solicitor or estate agent for updates. 

When do I need to arrange buildings insurance for the property I am purchasing?

Under the terms of your contract, the current owner of the property you are buying is legally obliged to keep it insured until the completion date, at which point the duty becomes yours.

If you need a mortgage to finance the purchase, having buildings insurance in place from the day of completion will be a condition of your offer.

Even if you are buying without a mortgage, we would still recommend insurance. Your home is one of the largest investments you will ever make and you should take all reasonable steps to protect it.

If I was your solicitor, I would be advising you to insure the property from exchange of contracts, just to cover the risk of the seller cancelling his policy. However, if you are purchasing a new build home, there is no requirement to have your own insurance until you complete.

What is a Help to Buy mortgage?

The Help to Buy scheme was introduced by the government to stimulate the new homes market.

It is a loan of up to 20% on the value of a new build property, which you can take in addition to a mainstream mortgage.

Help to Buy is interest free for the first five years and any application has to be approved by your mortgage lender. (Most high street banks and building societies will be in agreement.)

Your solicitor will then have to submit additional paperwork to draw down on the money in time for completion. It will be forwarded to you first to sign and ensure you are aware of your legal obligations.

If you are a first time buyer with a question about moving home, our residential property expert, Sarah Gaunt, would love to hear from you. Email:

Sarah Gaunt

Sarah is a partner in our residential conveyancing department and is accomplished in all areas of the discipline. For more information on this topic email or call her on 0114 218 4060.

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