Between Exchange and Completion Dates
The real excitement starts now. Deposit paid, contracts exchanged, this means the property is really going to be yours! You can relax knowing there is no chance of losing the new home and congratulate yourself on achieving a successful exchange.
‘Completion date’ is when the balance of money owed is paid across, stamp duty is paid, your solicitor takes his money and in return you get the legal title to your property. Completion date is hence the day the property truly becomes yours and for most people, this is their ‘move in’ date too. Legally, once contracts are exchanged, the property is yours, despite only having paid a deposit – you are obliged to go through with the sale (or lose your deposit and risk paying damages) and the seller is obliged to hand over the property in return for the full monies.
Most of the worry and concern is over – you would only have exchanged if all the monies are available, the legal searches are good and any highlighted issues from the survey are agreed upon or discounted in the final agreed price.
At this stage you need to get organising. Organise moving out, moving in, let the numerous people who have your contact details know that you are moving… there’s plenty to do! As a result most people like to have a minimum of 2 weeks and an average of 4 weeks between Exchange and Completion.
As with Exchange, and even more importantly for Completion, if you can, arrange Completion date for a Tuesday, or Wednesday, do so. Mondays are too busy for the solicitor, bank and anyone else involved. Fridays leave it too late in case a hiccup delays completion by a day (you’ll be stranded over the weekend, worrying and frustrated).
Final Financial Checks
As highlighted above with the deposit funds, it is important to get any more money you will be contributing directly ready and in a single account, ready to transfer to your solicitor. Again, have the funds ready a week in advance and have them in your solicitors account 2 days in advance of the Completion date.
Your solicitor will contact your Mortgage provider (Bank or Building society) to ensure they are ready to transfer funds and begin the mortgage from the completion date. I would always advise contacting them yourself, ask them what date they have for completion and check everything will be ok on their end. Too many times an admin issue gives the mortgage company an incorrect completion date. Given you are the only one that suffers if the completion is messed up, it’s better just to double-check.
At the same time you can check with the mortgage company regarding payments. If you have taken a mortgage with an upfront fee, this will be paid at the beginning (on completion date or with the first repayment – ask them which). You should also check which date each month your repayments will have to leave your account (ask to change it if you want it to be after pay day each month, they will be flexible). Ask what your first repayment amount will be – it is often different to your regular monthly repayment as it won’t be exactly a month between completion (start date of the mortgage) and your first payment.