Can I complete and move at a weekend?
When it comes to moving house, there is much debate about whether there is a better day. You can complete and move on the same day but if you want to do it all on a Saturday or Sunday, it is a very different ball game.
Completing on a house sale is the final step in the conveyancing process. It is the day when the money is being passed from your mortgage provider to your solicitor to your seller’s solicitor, who on receiving the funds will then release the keys.
The big stumbling block for anyone wanting to complete at the weekend is a bank’s opening hours. To enable the money transfers through the bank, traditionally this has to be on a working week day when the banks (and your solicitor) are open - and everything needs to happen before 3.30pm. This is the cut off time when the CHAPS banking system, used by solicitors, closes down. If both solicitors for the seller and buyer bank at the same bank, then the buyer’s solicitor can send over the completion monies up until 5pm.
Most people choose Friday as their completion day, so they can tie it in with moving in at the weekend, minimising time off work, and maximising the time to unpack and get your life back in order. But, if the money from your buyer fails to materialise, then the whole process will grind to halt, and you will have to wait until the next working day to complete – the following Monday!
Once you pick up your keys on completion day, it is entirely up to you when and what day you move in. Many people can’t wait to get in through the door – and it is really important that even if you are not planning on moving in that same day, that you go and check that your new property has been left as stated: in vacant possession and with all the correct fittings and fixtures as agreed. It is also important that you check all the keys that you have been given work and that the house is left secure and safe. Also, don’t forget to take note of any meter readings, so you can begin transferring your utility bills into your name.
The downside to anyone trying to complete and move in on the same day is the stress involved. Any last minute delays can turn a fairly simple completion into a nightmare. If you are further down the chain, there is a good chance you won’t be able to pick up the keys until late afternoon by which point the thought of moving in, building beds and furniture late into the night can turn a momentous day into a miserable one.
The best advice is to be realistic about what time you can expect to get hold of the keys. If you want the whole of the weekend to unpack, then aim for a Thursday or Friday completion date to make moving into your new home as smooth as possible.