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What happens on completion

The big day has finally arrived! But ever wondered what happens on completion?

Ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. 

  • In the morning, final funds are paid across via a CHAPS payment from the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor. 
  • Once the seller’s solicitor is in receipt of funds, they will notify the estate agent handling the sale that they can now release the keys to the buyer.
  • Both buyer and seller will also be notified by their respective solicitors.
  • Unless otherwise specified the seller should have vacated the property by 1pm. 
  • Typically completion is on a Friday. Leaving everyone to settle in over the weekend. 
Completion paperwork

The buyer’s solicitor will register the new owner as the ‘registered proprietor’ with the land registry. The title deed for which will be sent to the new owners within a month or two.


New owners for leasehold of share of freehold properties can also expect to receive 

  • A copy of the lease
  • Management Pack – (Freehold info, building insurance, fire safety report, service charges, accounts etc)
  • NHBC Cert – New Homes Warranty
  • Indemnity Policies – Additional legal cover 
Utilities & Council Tax

On the day of completion you should take a picture and note of your new home’s meter readings for electric, gas and water. 

You can then contact the existing providers whose details should have been provided by the outgoing owners in the information pack, of the readings. Should you wish to change providers you may. 

In addition, you will need to notify the council that you are now the registered owner and set up billing for council tax. Remember, if you are living in the property on your own, you should receive a single persons discount – typically around 25%.


Frequently asked questions:

What happens when completing a chain?

The conveyancer at the start of the chain, typically a first time buyer or purchaser with nothing to sell, will begin the process. Once their funds are transferred, the conveyancers will work their way up the chain, repeating the process. This needs to be completed by 5.30pm to catch the CHAPS payment window, before it closes. 

When do you pay stamp duty after completing on a home?
Typically, your solicitor will calculate and pay your stamp duty bill on your behalf and file a return to HMRC within 14 days of you completing on a property.
What happens if the seller hasn’t moved out on the day of completion?

If the seller has not vacated the property by the end of the day, you must notify you solicitor. If funds haven’t already been transferred to the seller, your solicitor can deduct interest on the total completion price on a pro-rata daily basis. In addition, they can expense any costs incurred, such as removal costs. If funds have already been transferred, it can be difficult to claim this money off the sellers, if not willing. If they refuse to do this you will have to pursue them through the courts which can be a lengthy and expensive process.