1 October 2021 by Cansu Iscan

Help to Buy (HTB): top tips for your purchase (Part 4) – what to expect on completion


So, you have exchanged contracts and fixed a completion date – nearly there! Now what happens?

What happens on the day of completion?

On the day of completion, the funds are transferred to the seller or developer and, once received, the keys for the property are released. You are then able to move into your new home!

This means that you must have transferred any funds payable (legal fees, apportionments or SDLT) to your solicitor the day before completion.  Your solicitor should have received your mortgage advance too.

You will also need to sign all necessary documents for the purchase before the completion date.


What time will we complete?

There is no fixed time for completion and, for this reason, we suggest that you do not arrange for any deliveries on the day.  However, the contract will usually provide for completion to take place by 1pm or 2pm and so you should be able to expect that the seller would have vacated by this time.

If you are purchasing a new build property, then the property should be empty and so you will not need to wait for anyone to ‘move out’.


What if I am using the Help to Buy scheme (HTB)?

If you are purchasing a new build property, using the HTB scheme, there are a few additional steps.

Your solicitor will need to notify HTB no less than 5 working days before the completion date. You will need to send a direct debit mandate within 2 weeks of completion. HTB will then issue their confirmation that completion can go ahead – without this, you will be unable to complete.

The HTB funds will be sent directly to the developer and, depending on the wording of the contract, completion may not take place until they receive these. This is something that is out of your solicitor’s control.


What can I do to make the day less stressful?

Your bank may have a daily limit for transfers, so you may have to plan to ensure your completion funds are with your solicitor in good time for completion.   You may need to send several payments – check this point early on in the process.

You should also ensure your signed documents are with your solicitor in good time for completion.  If you are posting your documents, it is advisable to send scanned copies by email and use special delivery for the originals.

As there is no fixed time for completion, and to avoid extra stress, we suggest that you do not arrange for any deliveries or commitments on the day of completion if it can be helped.


What happens following completion?
  1. SDLT – after completion, your solicitor will submit and pay your SDLT. You will have signed the form and transferred this amount in advance.
  2. Land Registry – your solicitor will also be responsible for registering the property in your name at the Land Registry. They will also be required to register your mortgage and HTB if applicable.
  3. New Build Home Warranty – if you are purchasing a new build home, depending on the warranty provided, your solicitor will also activate this on completion.

If you are purchasing a new build property, you will need to consider ‘snagging’. Whilst your home will be brand new, there may be some minor defects or problems that you will want rectified. Although you can inspect the property yourself, it is advisable to arrange for a professional snagging surveyor to carry out an inspection. The developer will have a standard snagging procedure which you are able to follow, and this varies from developer to developer. Your solicitor will advise you on this.

You will need to check any limits on snagging promptly to ensure that this is dealt with in the required timeframe.

Land registry

The Land Registry is working through a significant backlog for the registration of new leases. Therefore, it could take up to 9-11 months before your registration is finalised. This won’t affect your use and enjoyment of the property and, if for any reason you need to prove ownership, a letter from your solicitor should be sufficient.

For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact our New Build Real Estate team.

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