GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME: Sarah is here to help first time buyers get to grips with the conveyancing process. As the school holidays draw near, she offers her top tips for moving home in the summer months…
The summer holidays are a prime time for moving home if you have kids and want to take advantage of good weather (supposedly!) and sufficient time to settle them in before the new school year begins. So how do you ensure things run smoothly when completion day arrives?
My solicitor has told us our house purchase is due to complete in August. What should we expect to happen on the day?
Until you exchange contracts, your completion date isn’t fixed, but your solicitor will discuss suitable days with you and check the other parties in your chain are in agreement.
When completion day arrives, the people you are buying from must remove all of their contents from the property. As soon as the seller’s solicitor receives the money from your solicitor, you are entitled to move in, however, there may be a delay if the occupants are still in the process of vacating.
It is sensible in most transactions to arrange for the sellers to move out on the morning of completion, allowing you the afternoon to move in. Solicitors generally aim for the handover to happen around 2pm, which gives each party a reasonable length of time.
If you have your seller’s contact details, it would also be sensible to speak to them about timings before booking a removal van. Don’t arrive at your new property too early, as it will only cause frustration and put the seller under additional pressure.
There are a few practical points you can put in place for completion day, but please don’t commit to these until you have exchanged contracts:
- Notify the local authority and utility companies of your moving date, so they can apportion the council tax and bills accordingly. Try to give electric and gas suppliers at least 48 hours’ notice.
- Contact your telephone provider as soon as possible, so any landline can be disconnected.
- Removal firms will normally take a provisional reservation, but they like confirmation as early as possible. Bear in mind you may have to pay a cancellation charge if you book before exchange and your completion date changes.
- Arrange buildings insurance for your new property and remember to cancel any existing policies.
- Cancel direct debits relating to the property you are leaving to avoid money being taken in error, but wait until the completion date to put these into effect.
How does my mortgage money and deposit reach the seller on the day of completion?
A successful moving day is very dependent on the financial institutions.
Your solicitor will send all of the purchase money to the seller’s solicitor by bank transfer. This transaction can take anything from 20 minutes to four hours on very busy days. In the summer holidays, Fridays tend to be particularly hectic, especially the one before the August bank holiday, so you would do well to avoid this date if you a quick completion is important to you.
Generally, first time buyers are at the bottom of the chain, so don’t experience any major delays. However, those looking to coordinate a sale and purchase have to wait until they receive funds from their buyer, before the money can be passed on.
If there are several parties in the chain, this can further delay the time at which you can collect the keys and move into your new property.
Here are the most important points to bear in mind on completion day:
1. Make sure your solicitor has your new address and a telephone number for you on the day of completion.
2. Let your solicitor know what you are doing with your keys. Estate agents are usually happy to hold them until the money has been transferred. Do not hand them over to your buyer until your solicitor confirms funds have been received.
3. Check what the people you are buying from are doing with their keys. Don’t forget they are not obliged to give them to you until your money has reached their solicitor.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org