Buying and selling
England and Wales

Understand the legal process of moving home with our step-by-step guide below - or get a free quote for your conveyancing from our preferred partner.

Complete and move home

Assuming you’re completing on your sale and purchase on the same day, this is when all remaining funds and keys change hands, and you're free to move into your new home.

On completion day, your conveyancer will check they’ve received the mortgage funds from your lender, and chase them if necessary. Once this has been sent through, they will then hold onto the money until formal completion.

Your conveyancer will contact you to check that you’re happy to complete, and will then phone both your buyer and seller’s conveyancers to formally complete the sale.

Once your conveyancer has received funds from your buyer, they will transfer funds to your seller’s conveyancer, as well as any money owed to your mortgage company, and any other outstanding funds owed to people, such as your estate agent. They’ll then send any leftover funds to you.

You’ll need to give your old house keys to your estate agent, ready for your buyer to collect, and around the same time your seller’s conveyancer will confirm to their estate agent that the house keys can be released to you.

You’re then free to collect them from the estate agent’s office and move in.

Completion is usually arranged to take place at midday, but in practice it can be slightly later by the time money has changed hands and your seller has moved all of their belongings out of the property.

After completion

After your purchase is complete, your conveyancer will take the following steps to tie up the loose ends on your new property:

  • Register the transfer with the Land Registry
  • Pay the stamp duty land tax on your behalf
  • Notify the bank of completion
  • If the property is leasehold, your conveyancer will notify the freeholder of the sale.

Dos and don'ts

Do:

  • Check the property on arrival - make sure that all of the fixtures and fittings included in the sale are at the property when you arrive.

  • Find out when your first mortgage payment is due - ask your mortgage company to confirm when the first payment will be taken and how much it will be.

Don't:

  • Forget to celebrate - whether it's a glass of bubbly, a slice of cake or a takeaway, make some time to take stock and celebrate getting the keys to your new home - you've earned it!


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Jargon buster
  • Completion

    The point at which the transaction (the sale, purchase, remortgage or lease extension) is completed. When buying a property, this is the date that you become the legal owner and get the keys to your new home.

  • Completion statement

    A completion statement shows all the payments involved in the conveyancing process.

    It includes the amount you are paying or receiving for the property, a breakdown of the legal costs, the outstanding amount on your mortgage and also shows any additional funds owed to or by you to complete the sale or purchase.

    You’ll receive your completion statement from your conveyancer just before the exchange of contracts.

  • Land Registry

    The Land Registry is the government body that keeps all records to registered land and property in England and Wales. It is divided into regional offices, each with its own Chief Land Registrar.

  • Property title

    The property title will provide ownership details and an accurate description of its location and boundaries.

  • Title deed

    Often simply called 'deeds', these are the formal legal documents that record interest in or ownership of land or property. They act as evidence that the person selling the property actually owns it, and lay out any rights or obligations you need to abide by as the owner of the property.

    If you have a mortgage, your lender will usually hold your title deeds until the mortgage is paid in full.

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