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Two of the main questions our clients often ask when purchasing a new home are:

  • What exactly happens on completion day?
  • How soon can I move into my new house after completion?

Here, we'll explain the completion stage in residential conveyancing and provide helpful guidance on moving in timelines and next steps.

What Is Conveyancing Completion?

Completion marks the final major stage of the conveyancing process when buying a home. It's the day when the property’s legal ownership officially transfers from the seller to the buyer. Completion happens after all the earlier conveyancing steps are finished, such as:

  • Carrying out searches and receiving search results
  • Raising and dealing with legal enquiries
  • Exchanging contracts

On completion day, the buyer’s conveyancer will authorise release of the agreed house purchase price to the seller’s conveyancer. Once the seller’s conveyancer receives the funds, they will arrange to forward the title deed documents that legally entitle the buyer to take ownership of the property.

Once this legal transfer and financial exchange has occurred, completion is finished. The buyer now rightfully owns the property.


What Steps Are Involved on Completion Day?

While home buyers and sellers do not need to attend or sign anything on completion day, their conveyancing solicitors will be busy completing all the legal necessities behind the scenes to finalise the transaction. These are the typical steps:

  • The buyer’s conveyancer sends the agreed purchase price by bank transfer. Once the funds enter the banking system they are outside the control of the conveyancer, and in the hands of the banking system.
  • Once the seller’s solicitor receives the funds, they will confirm receipt to the buyer’s solicitor and the Estate Agent. They will already have prepared a Transfer Deed and any other documentation to formally assign ownership.
  • The seller’s solicitor arranges to send the Transfer Deed and documents to the buyer’s solicitor.
  • Both conveyancers notify their clients that completion has successfully occurred as expected.
  • The Estate Agent (if there is one) will then arrange to contact the buyer to confirm that the keys are available for them to collect.
  • Remaining keys, warranties, appliance manuals etc. are passed from seller to buyer. These are usually left at the property by the seller, for the buyer (if available).

When completion takes place smoothly with no issues it is usually a straightforward process for conveyancing solicitors, but it represents an exciting milestone for buyers eager to get the keys and finally move into their new home!


How Soon Can I Move Into My New House After Completion?

Eager new homeowners always want to know when exactly they can begin moving their belongings into the property and officially take residence. Unfortunately, there is no single standard timeframe. When you are able to move in after completion depends on several factors:

  • Did the seller vacate on completion day as agreed? If not, access may be delayed.
  • Do minor works like cleaning still need done before it’s move-in ready? This may limit immediate access.
  • How quickly can utilities be transferred into the buyer's name? Service activations may impact move plans.
  • Does the buyer need to give notice to their existing landlord before moving out? This notice period affects timing.

Most buyers are able to gain access to their property the same day that completion takes place, but the above factors may delay when they actually move into the property.  Conveyancers usually work hard to ensure no unnecessary delays in handing over keys, however some factors can be outside of their control in this regard.  You should confirm timelines with your solicitor so you can coordinate movers, utility updates etc.


Top Tips for Smoothly Moving Into Your New Home

To help your move after completion go as seamlessly as possible, here are my top tips as a conveyancing solicitor:

  • Plan early - set your moving date several days after your completion date to allow a buffer.
  • Book removals and cleaning as early as possible to secure your preferred times.
  • Arrange changeover of utility accounts in advance to avoid service disruption.
  • Redirect mail through the Post Office redirect service.
  • Take thorough meter readings at both properties on your moving day for billing accuracy.
  • Keep in close contact with your conveyancer leading up to and after completion to confirm next steps.
  • Do a thorough property walkthrough once you receive keys to check for any issues and document condition.

While conveyancing completion may seem like the finish line, there are still important moving in logistics to handle. If you have any other completion or moving in questions, we’re always happy to help at Howells Solicitors - just get in touch!


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