Completion Day

According to a recent survey, two-thirds of us find moving house highly stressful, with one in ten saying the experience actually made them ill.

The most challenging day of the whole process must be completion day, when you actually sell, buy, and move into your new property. Much of the stress lies in the lack of control we have over the mysterious machinations of the legal professions. But understanding what is actually going on may help you keep calm on the day.

Completion Day

The solicitors relay race

If you are buying a house with no chain then completion day is very straightforward. As soon as your vendor’s solicitors receive your payment (which should be sent first thing in the morning by your solicitor) you can collect the keys from you estate agent and move in.

However, if you are in a chain, the solicitors have to perform a sort of financial relay race, starting at the bottom, with funds being passed on and up the chain and the various sales completing until the top is reached. This process should start at around nine in the morning, with each transaction taking about 30 minutes to complete. Even in a relatively long chain this should enable all parties to start moving into their new homes around lunchtime.

Completion Day

Beating the Bank Deadline

In an ideal world all funds are actually in place and ready to transfer the day before completion. But often they are not ready until the day itself. Then the funds can be slow coming from the client or the lender because, for example, someone at the bank puts the request at the bottom of the pile, or they forget, or the solicitor goes out for an early leisurely lunch.

Time is of the essence on completion day, and if your transaction is not keyed into the system by 3:30, when the bank shuts, you will not be able to complete and may find yourself with a van full of furniture and nowhere to go. In these cases the person who has missed out on completing will have to find somewhere to store their furniture overnight and try to move in as soon as the transaction is complete, usually the next day.

This, will, however, mean more than doubling the removal charges, plus the cost of a night in a hotel. They could also be liable for an interest penalty for late completion. Usually these costs are eventually passed down the chain to the solicitor, bank or person who actually held up the transaction in the first place. It should be noted that these problems are few and far between.


Make sure the foreman has a layout of your new home so furniture is put in the correct room.

Ensure the removal firm has access to your new home and has arranged for permission to park outside the property if necessary. Have all paperwork and contact numbers relating to the move with you. Upon arrival, read the meters and check that the phone, security alarm, electricity, gas and central heating and water work.

Make sure all items that were included in the sale, such as carpets, curtains and light fittings, are there. If anything is missing, contact your solicitor. Alert your surveyor immediately to any serious faults in the building that were missed in the original survey.

Think about getting the locks changed on your new property - you never know who the previous owners may have given spare keys to in the past.

Even if everything is in order and has run smoothly, the chances are by the end of the day you’ll be too shattered to move, so collapse on the sofa, order a takeaway and crack open a bottle of champagne.