If you are buying a house for the first time you may be wondering if everyone in the chain moves on the same day. But it might be you’ve moved before and not been in a chain.
So does everyone in a chain move on the same day? Usually everyone in a chain will move on the same day. The people in the middle of the chain have to move on the day of completion. Whereas those at the bottom of the chain can move on the same day or after completion day. But the people at the top of the chain can move out anytime before or on the day of completion.
How does moving day work in a chain?
You may be wondering how do chains work on completion day. Before I answer this question specifically, let me explain what completion day actually means.
What is completion day and does completion mean moving day?
Completion day is the last step in the process of buying and selling property. On this day the balance of purchase monies are paid and ownership title is transferred from the seller to the buyer. After this has happened the buyer gets the keys to the property and the seller must move out.
So essentially completion actually means moving day for most, but not necessarily. Please read on to find out why.
Completion day is a set date and time (usually 12 noon). This date and time will have been agreed and will be included in the sale contract. The balance of purchase monies will usually be 90% of the purchase price. 10% would already have been paid on the day of exchange.
So then how do chains work on completion day, let’s take a look.
How do chains work on completion day?
To explain how chains work on completion day is best done by using an example. In this example it’s a short three-person chain where Mr A is a first time buyer and is buying a flat from Mr B. Mr B is buying a house from Mr C. Mr C is moving in with his girlfriend who already owns a house.
Let’s look at what HAS to happen and what CAN happen in this chain on completion day. Everyone in this chain CAN move on the same day, but not everyone HAS to.
Let’s begin with Mr B who is in the middle of the house chain
- Mr B must move on completion day. The reason why Mr B has to move on completion day is because ownership title will have passed to Mr A. Mr B is obliged to move out so Mr A can move in at the agreed time. To read more about this, please take a quick read of this article about do you HAVE to move on completion day.
- Mr A can but does not have to move in on completion day. Assuming the time agreed in the sale contract is 12 noon, Mr A can move in at any time from 12 noon onwards. But he doesn’t have to and can take his time to move himself and his belongings into his new flat. However, Mr A cannot move in prior to completion day. This is because the flat belongs to Mr B right up to 12 noon on the day of completion.
- Mr C can move out at any point prior to 12 noon on completion day. As Mr C has his girlfriends place to move to, he can move out at any point up to 12 noon on completion day. But he cannot move out after this time on the day of completion, as ownership of his house will have passed to Mr B at 12 noon.
Can you complete and move on different days?
For those in the middle of a chain you cannot complete and move on different days. But as already explained above, the person at the top of the chain can move before completion day. Whereas the person at the bottom of the chain can move after completion day.
If you want to find out more about what happens in a house chain, please take a quick read of this article about what happens when a house chain breaks. This article explains more about who is at the top of a chain vs who is at the bottom. But it also explains how a chain can collapse too.
When do you usually have to move out on completion day?
The target time to move out on completion day will be included in the sale contract and is usually 12 noon. Unless agreed otherwise. After this time you are obliged to move out. Which is because ownership title will have passed to your buyers.
What’s the best way to prepare for completion day when you’re in a chain?
Completion day itself can be a bit manic is you’re in a chain. This is especially true for anyone in the middle of the chain, like Mr B in the above example. However, for Mr A this need not be the case, as he can move at any point after 12 noon on completion day and he can take his time.
Also, Mr C can take his time moving his things to his girlfriends place leading up to completion day. Which would mean on the day of completion his house will already be clear of his belongings. He can take his time to give his house a final clean on completion day in preparation for Mr B moving in.
For Mr B he is best to prepare for completion day. This is best done by him packing his belongings and being ready to go when the removal vans arrive. If he has any large pieces of furniture or beds that can be taken apart, this should be done before completion day. The more than can be done for the removal company, the better.
The furniture removal company will arrive early on the day of completion. They will usually ask you to pack everything in boxes beforehand. This makes it easier and faster for them to clear your property of your belongings before the set completion time. Which in the above example is by 12 noon.
However, if for any reason 12 noon is too early for anyone in the chain, a later time can be agreed. Often times this is set at 2pm.
If you like the idea of being able to be more relaxed on completion day and to be able to move in when you’re ready like Mr A or move out slowly like Mr C, take a read of this article about are you better selling your house and renting before buying again. Did you know there are 15 potential advantages to this strategy vs 10 disadvantages.
How do the new owners in a chain get the keys and what time do they get them?
The best way for the new owners to get the keys to your property is for you to take a set to the estate agent. You can either let the estate agent have your spare keys prior to the day of completion and leave the other keys in the house when you leave. Or you can run your keys down to the estate agent on the day.
Alternatively, you could arrange to give the keys to the new owners when they arrive. But the keys are not usually given until after completion has happened.
If you give the keys to your estate agent, they will not be authorised to hand these over to the new owners until the conveyancing solicitor confirms ownership title has changed hands.
What happens if the sellers haven’t moved out when you arrive at your new home?
The consequences of not moving on completion day include disruption to the buyers and their removal company. But the person who does not move out at the agreed time is potential liable to interest charges and damages.
To read more about this, please go to what are the consequences of not moving on completion day. For the person who doesn’t move out, the consequences can be quite costly!
It’s far better to be organised for completion day, as this will make sure everything is packed and ready for the removal people. This makes the whole process much nicer for you and the person who buys your property.
Also, make sure you clean your house and tidy up. Clean the kitchen, bathrooms and toilets. Plus run the vacuum cleaner over the carpets and sweep and clean any wooden/laminate or tiled floors. Good advice is to clean your property as you pack each room. Then you’ll only have a small amount of cleaning to do on completion day.
Treat people as you like to be treated. Think about how you’d feel if you arrive at your new home to find the place is dirty and untidy.
Does everyone in the chain have to complete on the same day?
Whilst everyone in a chain usually complete on the same day this doesn’t have to happen, as completion days can be staggered. For those who stagger completion day they need to store their belongings and furniture and find somewhere to sleep until they become the legal owners of their new property.
This is not a recommended approach and it will cost in terms of storage for furniture and belongings and a place to sleep. But if it means getting the house chain to work, why not. However, for me I prefer to sell and rent first and buy again another time. If you didn’t already read the article on this, I recommend you do, if not to just read about the 15 advantages to this approach.
Please don’t forget to read this before you leave…
Please don’t forget to also read this article to discover how you could save £71,475 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. As I said earlier, even I was amazed when I did the calculations!
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