Q. I am completing on the purchase of my first home on Friday and super excited. I understand I just need to drop into the estate agents on the day of completion and they will hand over the keys, however a friend is saying I need to wait until the agent gives me a call to confirm especially since I am in a chain. Do you think this could delay things? I have a removal van arriving at 9am and hope to get the keys and start moving into my new home by 12pm. Is this unrealistic?
A. Your friend is right, given you are in a chain and being a first time buyer it sounds like you are at the top of the chain so in fact your completion is likely to be the first one in the chain. Therefore, it is likely the keys will not be released until later in the day once the funds filter down. On completion day, money changes hands from various sources: the buyer’s mortgage lender, the buyer himself and the proceeds of any existing property sale. If there is a chain of buyers and sellers as in your case, they all need to complete on the same day so that funds from the sale of current properties can be used to pay for new ones. Each link in the chain has to wait until the one below it has completed and no one can collect keys until every deal is done. If one person’s lender or bank slips up, or solicitor for that matter, everyone higher up the chain is delayed. Delay until after 3pm, the latest time in the day you can send money, and you and your fellow sellers/buyers won’t be in your new homes that night. Having said this it rarely happens although it is not completely out of the question, I have only known this to happen once during my eighteen years as an agent so pretty rare. So even if your solicitor notifies you completion has happened on yours, the agent will still not had over the keys unless he gets confirmation directly from the solicitor. The reason I believe is self-explanatory, agents cannot take a buyers word for it that they have completed, and understandably must come from a legal source. Bear in mind completions are happening every day and usually run smoothly so be patient and lower your expectations especially in terms of collecting the keys so early in the day, that way you will not be disappointed and in fact delighted if it does happen earlier.