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Preparing for the Big Moving Day

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 3 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
Completion Conveyancing Buyer Seller

In residential property conveyancing many things usually have to happen on completion day. This can be stressful at the best of times but, if buyers or sellers are doing their own conveyancing, the pressure can really be on to make sure that everything goes to plan. If a sale is part of a chain there will also be concerns about the formalities of every other sale which forms a link in the chain. For DIY conveyancers who are selling and buying at the same time there will be even more to do – and to worry about.

Completion and the National Conveyancing Protocol

As part of the National Conveyancing Protocol the Law Society has publish a standard form for use prior to completion. Known as the “Completion Information and Requisitions on Title” form, this effectively provides a last-minute conveyancing checklist before completion takes place. The form is intended for use by professional conveyancers and some parts of it will not be applicable to those doing their own conveyancing. However, the form may still be a useful guide for DIY conveyancers.

The Completion form is completed by the seller. The first question requires the seller to confirm that none of the information previously provided has changed. If there has been any change, the seller must give details. This could be vital to the completion. If there has been a substantial change in circumstances since contracts were exchanged the validity of that exchange may be called into question and the buyer may have to consider whether to proceed to completion.

The seller must indicate the time by which they will have left the property – and after which the buyer may take possession – as well as stating where and how the buyer can collect the keys. The form then goes through a series of important and fairly technical questions relating to the transfer of title deeds from the seller to the buyer, the place and method of completion and the payment of the sums due on completion.

Redemption of Mortgages on the Property

Buyers will want to make sure that they get the property free from any pre-existing mortgages or charges. Theoretically, a seller could take the sale proceeds and do nothing about redeeming any mortgages on the property. A buyer will want to take all possible steps to ensure that this does not happen. Where professional conveyancers are acting for the seller they may be required to give an undertaking that all mortgages will be redeemed upon receipt of the purchase monies.

Transfer of Purchase Funds

Transfer of the purchase monies should usually take place early on the day of completion so that other formalities can be completed and the property handed over. Where a sale is part of a chain, transfer of funds may be delayed until the sale preceding it in the chain has been completed. With a long chain it is possible that people at the end of the chain could find themselves left in limbo if all purchase funds have not been transferred by the time that banks close for business on completion day.

Other Things to Remember on Completion Day

In addition to conveyancing requirements, there are a number of other things to do in the run up to completion. Things to remember include:
  • Getting final bills for utilities, the telephone, council tax etc. Meter readings should be taken on moving day and a change of address provided to banks and other organisations.
  • Setting up a re-direction of mail so that correspondence is automatically forwarded to the new address.
  • Making adequate arrangements for removals. The size of transportation and number of people required should not be underestimated in an attempt to save money. Everything should be packed and ready to go on the day. Sellers should not leave rubbish behind in their old property.
  • Finding someone to look after pets and small children on the day of the move will make the ordeal less stressful for everyone and reduce the risk of animals or children getting hurt or lost during the upheaval.
  • A fully-charged mobile phone - with plenty of credit if applicable – may prove indispensable on the day.
  • A box with supplies like tea, coffee, toilet rolls, biscuits, soap and light bulbs should help to make the first day and night in a new home slightly less daunting.
Preparation is the key. By taking a methodical approach buyers and sellers can help to make the day run as smoothly as possible for everyone.

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