What is Completion?

Completion is the day of the big move!  Your solicitor will have arranged for any mortgage money to be ready to go, and all that is left to happen is for the balance of money to be paid from the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor.

Historically, completion days were often on a Friday – but there is absolutely no reason for this other than convention.

Since exchange of contracts you will organised your removals company, arranged time off work, and perhaps sorted child care (if needed).

Once completion has taken place, your solicitor will give you a call to let you know that you can go to the estate agent and collect the keys to your new home!

There are some legal formalities for your solicitor to deal with after completion including: registering you as the new owner(s) at the Land Registry; paying any SDLT (Stamp Duty) on your behalf; and registering any mortgage with HMLR too on behalf of your mortgage lender.  As a matter of convention, although the seller will have contracted the services of their estate agent directly (and not via their conveyancer), your property solicitor will generally pay the estate agent’s fee on your behalf on the day of completion.

Completion FAQs

Completion is the day you move! As a matter of legal process, it involves the solicitors transferring the balance of the sales/purchase money between them, and making a quick telephone call to say ‘completed’ – that is literally it!

No! Exchange of contracts happens before completion. Completion is the actual moving day.

Typically there is around 1-4 weeks between exchange of contracts and completion. That gives you plenty of time to book your removals, arrange time off work, and generally ready yourself for the big move!

Technically yes, you can complete on the same day as exchange of contracts. It is unusual. It is called a ‘simultaneous exchange and completion’. The reason it is unusual is in part that it leaves you no period after exchange (the point at which things become certain) to sort out removals, time off work, and so on.

Completion day is the day you actually move from your old home to your new home! Not much happens with the solicitors – in fact it is a rather unspectacular event for them! All that happens with the conveyancing solicitors is that the balancing money is sent through the banking CHAPS system from one solicitor to the next. And, once the full/correct amount is with the sellers solicitor, they speak by telephone and simply confirm that the sale is complete. That’s it! The estate agent is notified and the keys to your new home will be released to you!

There is no hard and fast rule and it can be anything from 9am to 5pm. Your own solicitor can unfortunately not speed things along with anything other that stuff in their own direct control. So, for example, they cannot expedite anything that other solicitors are doing in the chain, or speed up the banking CHAPS system. Completion day will often need a healthy dose of patience!

Your call. It’s a very busy day once things get going, but can also involve some waiting around between leaving your old place, and getting the keys to your new home. So, if you have young kids, it might be well having them with friends or family if possible.

It can be both a busy day, but also be a day waiting around for your conveyancing solicitor to confirm that completion has taken place on your new home (money has to go through the banking CHAPS system up the ‘chain’ from one solicitor to the next). And, when the removals company are emptying your old house, and then unloading at your new home there lots of people around, doors open, and lots of scope for dogs to do a runner! So, perhaps helpful to let your four-legged friend have a break at friends, family, or your local favourite dog sitter?!

Your solicitor will have provided you with a ‘completion statement’ shortly after exchange of contracts. This will have detailed all of the payments (mortgage/searches/ etc) across your purchase, and any related sale. If a balance of funds was needed from you for completion your conveyancer will have told you in good time, and asked for money to be with them and ‘cleared’ for the day of completion. So no, you should have nothing to pay to your solicitor on the day of completion!

Your completion statement is a financial statement prepared by your solicitor shortly after exchange of contracts detailing all money in and out of your sale and purchase, and critically confirming if your solicitor needs cleared money from you ahead of completion. It will detail all ‘disbursements’ (eg search fees), the money in from your sale, and all funds needed to ‘complete’ your purchase.

Your solicitor will send you your completion statement shortly after exchange of contracts, and in plenty of time for you to provide them with any balance of money needed for completion.

Solicitors ‘complete’ by telephoning the other solicitor and simply confirm that the balance of money is in, and therefore the sale has ‘completed’. That’s it!

As soon as you have your completion date (but not sooner). You will be given your firm completion date on exchange of contracts.

You contract your removals, and you pay them directly.

Although you contract the services of your estate agent long before your solicitor is involved, there is a (perhaps) odd convention that your solicitor pays the estate agent on your behalf on completion of the sale/purchase.

As soon as your removals company have emptied your old place, get locked up and take the keys over to the estate agent. Then it’s a waiting game for the same to have happened at your new home, and for the money to have been received by the seller’s solicitor from your solicitor.

Once your solicitor confirms that your purchase has completed, you can go to the office of the estate agent (who looked after that sale) and collect the keys from them.

Unfortunately, completion day can be frustrating sometimes. This is particularly so when there is a long chain as completion money needs to be sent from one solicitor to the next, to then next, and so on. And, the banking CHAPS system can sometimes get stuck. It’s a waiting game – be patient!

Your solicitor will telephone you the moment they have completed!

After completion your solicitor has some formalities to do – most notably registering you as the new owner(s) at HM Land Registry.

When you engage the services of a removals company do check their breakages policy. If stuff gets broken and they have packed (and unpacked) they will usually cover the cost of this – but it is of course down to the particular contract that you have with your chosen removals company.

You MUST insure your new home from the DATE OF EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS. This is of course some time before completion!

You MUST update your driving licence as soon as you complete. It is an offence to have an old address on your driving licence for which you can be fined and even get points on your licence!

It is worth getting this ‘teed up’ ahead of completion. You will need to tell anyone and everyone that needs to know from friends and family, to banks, to your employer. Check out our completion checklist for some great pointers on this and other completion stuff!

You should take closing readings for all utilities on the day of completion and submit them for final accounts to be issued.

You can arrange this ahead of completion usually. And, you should of course take meter readings as you arrive at your new home.

Yes, take meter readings as you leave your old place and submit them to the old utilities companies for your final accounts to be issued.

Yes, take meter readings ASAP when you move in for your new utilities accounts.

Your first mortgage payment will be down to your particular lender and you should check this with them, and/or your mortgage broker if you use one. There is generally an apportioned amount to be soon after completion, and then your first full payment is made in the first full month there after.

If you have more questions about completion that these FAQ’s, or other articles on our site don’t cover, do reach out! Our expert conveyancing solicitors are here to help!

5 STAR Solicitor reviews!

Check out other solicitors’ websites and they’ll be littered with self-adulation – they’re “leading solicitor” this, and “solicitors doing” that. Rather than toot our own horn we’d rather you be the judge of how good our solicitors are. Trustpilot is a totally independent review site where our clients are free to leave whatever thoughts they feel best describe the legal service they received from us. It’s raw. It’s honest. It’s for real. And critically, it’s from you!

Trustpilot logo







Exchange of


on Title


First Time



Why Us?

Online Solicitor


We’ve redefined ‘local solicitor’

Video meetings


From the comfort of your own home

24/7 access


Access to your case files anytime

Eco credentials


View our eco credentials

Clear costs


View our fees

Our history


See our evolution


Whether a ‘solicitor near to me’ is your thing, or you are using an online solicitor, you want to be able to talk to your solicitor – how and when you want! Whichever of our expert solicitors you need to talk to, we’ve made it as easy as we can to be available to you.  So whether you need to speak to your conveyancing solicitor, or your divorce solicitor, your employment law solicitor, or your wills and probate solicitor – get in touch with QLAW today!