Buying a Freehold House IV – From Exchange to Completion

by Conveyancing Insider
Friday 22nd of July 2011 09:27:48 AM

In the penultimate article of this series on Conveyancing for a freehold residence, the crucial steps between the exchange and completion, that all important moment when the keys are handed over, is considered.

Exchange

You will know when you can move into your new home once contracts are exchanged and the completion date has been agreed. Details of the work that your Fridaysmove Conveyancing Solicitor will now be doing on your behalf to arrange the final completion are set out below. (steps marked * are now often carried out before exchange.)

  • Ask you to arrange buildings insurance cover and send confirmation. If you intend to insure through your mortgage lender, you may need to notify them
  • If more than one person is buying, advise on the two ways in which property can be jointly owned and obtain your instructions as to your requirements
  • Complete a stamp duty land tax return form and send to you for checking and signature.
  • Prepare draft transfer and send to sellers’ Conveyancing Solicitor for approval.*
  • Send requisitions on title and completion information form to sellers’ Conveyancing Solicitor*
  • Arrange for you to sign the mortgage (if any), transfer, and any other documents required at completion.*
  • Complete and send Certificate of Title to any mortgage lender.
  • Request drawdown of mortgage advance from lender (or lender’s Solicitors).
  • Carry out pre-completion land registry search – this is to check that there have not been any changes to the register since the date of the official copy supplied before exchange. It also ‘freezes’ the register until the application for registration of the transfer can be submitted after completion.
  • Prepare invoice and completion statement. Send these to you, requesting payment of any balance required.
  • Make final check that
    • any mortgage deed and other documents have been properly signed and witnessed
    • all searches are clear
    • all money has been received
    • replies to requisitions have been received and are satisfactory
    • the sellers’ Solicitors have given undertakings to pay off any existing mortgages or charges on the property
    • insurance cover is in place
    • everything else is in order for completion to take place.

Your Conveyancing Solicitor will now be ready to proceed to completion; this is when the legal handover takes place.  In the majority of cases all the legal work happens without any further input from you and you can concentrate on removal arrangements. But you should try and make sure that you can keep in touch with your Solicitor, in case there are any last-minute problems.

Completion

On the day of Completion your Conveyancing Solicitor will:

  • Phone sellers’ Solicitors to get confirmation that they are ready to complete, and obtain any final information or undertakings.
  • Contact you to confirm everything is ready to complete once all money has been received,
  • Authorise bank transfer of purchase money to sellers’ Solicitors
  • Phone sellers’ Solicitors to advise that money has been sent, and ask them to phone as soon as their bank has received it to confirm completion
  • When sellers’ Solicitors have phoned to confirm completion, ask them to confirm that they have authorised the agents to release the keys.
  • Phone you to confirm completion has taken place, and that the keys can be collected.
  • If any indemnity policy is being obtained, phone insurers to put insurance on risk

By now, you should have picked up the keys and been able to move in to your new home. Hopefully everything will have gone smoothly, and you will be busy unpacking. If there are any problems, such as the seller having left junk at the property, or having removed something that they were supposed to have left, contact your Solicitor straight away.

Although you might think that completion is the end of the Conveyancing story, that is far from being the case. Your Conveyancing Solicitor will still have a lot of work to do to make sure that the legal title is properly transferred and that you title is registered at the land registry.

The final steps your Conveyancing Solicitor will undertake are covered in the next article.