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Conveyancing Explained – Leasehold Purchase Part IV – Completion!

In this article, we’ll consider the tense final stages of the transaction…

This is the stage every buyer and seller wants to reach as Fast as possible, and at crunch-time, you’ll be glad you found a proactive Qualified Conveyancing Solicitor.

Once contracts are exchanged, the final completion date will be agreed. You will then know when you can move into your new home! 

These are the steps that your Conveyancing Solicitor will usually take between exchange and completion (the steps marked * are now often carried out before exchange).

It was once common practice to have a gap of one month between exchange and completion. One of the reasons for that was to allow time for the buyers’ Conveyancing Solicitors to draft conveyance deed, approved by sellers’ Solicitors, and then a fair copy had to be typed up and signed by all parties.

These days, much of the work traditionally done between exchange and completion is often carried out before contracts are exchanged. The Conveyancing Solicitor will still have a lot to do, as final searches must be carried out, and arrangements put in hand so that the Solicitor will have all the purchase money, together with any stamp duty and land registry fees. The Solicitor may also need to arrange for you to sign the mortgage deed and any other documents still requiring signature.

  • Prepare draft transfer and send to sellers’ Conveyancing Solicitor for approval. *
  • If the sale will include the transfer of a share in a company owning the freehold of the block of flats, or a management company owned by the leaseholders, prepare a share transfer form for signature by the sellers. *
  • Send requisitions on title and completion information form to sellers’ Conveyancing Solicitor*
  • Arrange for you to sign the mortgage, transfer, and any other documents required at completion. *
  • If you have to arrange your own buildings insurance, ask you to arrange cover and send confirmation
  • 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 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
  • Prepare invoice and completion statement. Send these to you, requesting payment of any balance required.
  • Make final check that: 
    • 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
    • any consent or licence to the sale has been issued by the freeholder
    • insurance cover is in place
    • everything else is in order for completion to take place

At this point the Conveyancing Solicitor will be ready to proceed to completion, which is when the legal handover takes place.   Normally the legal work will all happen without any further input from you, and all you need to be worrying about is how your furniture will fit.

But sometimes things do go wrong – very often due to someone else’s fault.

Don’t Panic!

Keep calm and keep in touch with your Solicitor. He or she will do their best to sort out problems, and will be in touch with the sellers’ Solicitors and the agents to make sure that you will eventually be able to move in.
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 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 is a problem, 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 now 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 – They’ll still be earning their Cheap Conveyancing Fee for some time after you have moved into your new home.

The final steps are covered in the last article – Part V. . .

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