What time of day is completion?

Completion is the final point in the conveyancing process. It is a day, whose date has been previously agreed upon by the buyer and seller during the exchange of contracts and is the point at which the title deeds and legal ownership of the property involved is officially transferred from one party to the other.

As with many other key points in this process, it can be hard to give a definitive time of day as to when it will occur. Every property sale and purchase is different and its timescale can depend on a whole range of independent factors. For this reason, completion can take place at any time on the agreed date but it is most likely to be at around midday. Sometimes it can be slightly earlier in the morning but this is unlikely to be possible for properties that are occupied and in an onwards property chain. Completion could also take place in the late afternoon with some even finalising at 5pm.

The main factor which termines the time of completion is the banking system. Normally, your solicitors will be working away to ensure that all monies have been received and will call you once completion has actually taken place. In order for completion to occur all funds and monies have to be successfully transferred from the lenders/banks to the buyers and then onto the sellers.

This will involve the settlement of any outstanding bills or invoices by the buyer’s solicitors who will also verify that the total amount of funds is available. The buyer’s solicitor will also have to wait until they receive funds from the mortgage lender. (if one is being used to purchase the property) This can also delay completion as the lender will normally send the money on the morning of completion day.

Once all the necessary funds have been received and cleared the buyer’s solicitors will transfer the agreed purchase price to the seller’s solicitor. A form will also be sent to the Land Registry to change the legal ownership of the property at this point.
The seller’s solicitor will settle their own fees and outstanding bills and transfer any balance that remains to the seller. If the seller is involved in a chain their solicitor will repeat this process for them and so on.

As you can see, although completion is the last step in the process, it is far from simple and easy. All parties involved from the clients to the banks must be able to co-operate and communicate in order to ensure that everyone can complete within good time. All things considered, completion should normally take place between the morning and late afternoon. If everything goes without a hitch you should have the keys to your new property by the evening of completion day.