What actually happens on the day of completion is often beyond our control, and yours, and it would be useful for you to be aware of the following in advance of the completion day:
1. The Seller normally deposits the keys with his Estate Agent who should not release those keys to the Buyer until the Seller’s solicitor has confirmed that the completion monies have been received.
2. Completion monies are sent by electronic transfer from the Buyer’s solicitors’ to the Seller’s solicitors’ client account. Although supposedly instantaneous, it can take several hours for the monies to be confirmed as received by the recipient bank.
3. We cannot send any monies whether by electronic transfer or otherwise, until we have received them in cleared funds. This means that if we are in a chain we cannot send the completion monies to the Seller’s solicitors until our bank has confirmed receipt of incoming funds from the Buyer’s solicitors.
4. The Banking system has a cut-off point after which it is not possible to send monies by electronic funds transfer until the following day. This varies from bank to bank, but is normally around 3pm. Therefore, monies received after such cut off point, will not be able to be transferred until the following day.
5. For the above reasons, we have no direct control over what time completion will actually occur. When there is a chain involved, it is inevitable that those towards the top of the chain will complete later than those at the bottom. All solicitors contracts do contain a notional time by which completion must take place (usually 2pm or thereabouts). If, for whatever reason (eg cleared monies not received or Seller has not vacated in time), completion takes place after that time, then completion is deemed to have taken place the following day and a day’s interest can be charged by way of penalty.
However, despite all of this, our experience is that flexibility and good nature normally prevails. There is often overlap with a Buyer arriving before a Seller has fully vacated or before formal legal completion has actually been confirmed. Such difficulties are often resolved with good humour or perhaps a cup of tea and a demonstration of the alarm system or the quirkiness of the boiler! The same type of co-operation is normally operated between solicitors to the effect that, notwithstanding all of these difficulties, it is extremely rare for the matter not to complete albeit sometimes late in day.
We would request that you approach the day of completion with all this knowledge in mind and with all possible patience. Everyone involved will be doing all they can to see the matter completed as smoothly and quickly as possible.