The endless wait is over. Finally, your solicitor has been in touch and announced that the contracts have been exchanged and within a couple of weeks, (or however long you and the buyer have agreed) your moving out date will arrive.

Most people go into a state of panic. However, provided you have organised another abode to buy, rent or bunk down in, (if you haven’t then you probably don’t have time to be reading this blog), then these three helpful tips will assist you in ensuring your moving day runs smoothly and calmly, without a frazzled nerve to be found.

Tip One – Organise as Much as Possible in the Period Between Exchange and Completion

Once all the negotiations have been concluded between a seller and buyer, the sale and purchase contract will be exchanged. This is significant for two reasons:

  1. the buyer is now legally bound to buy your property no matter what changes in their circumstances might occur between now and the completion date; and
  2. both you and the buyer will agree a completion date, which is the date in which you, as the seller, must vacate your house so the buyer can move in.

In rare circumstances, exchange and completion can occur on the same day, but this requires an extremely organised conveyancer (and yes, I can boost a same-day exchange and completion) to ensure that the mortgage funds are requested and paid to the lender without any hitches occurring. That said, in my personal opinion, the stress of same day exchange and completion is not worth it. Even if you are all ready to go, give yourself a week to move out calmly and to ensure that the cat, dog, baby, etc. are not left behind at your old address.

In most cases, the average period between exchange and completion is seven to twenty eight days, longer if your sale or purchase is in a chain of sales and purchased. Factors such as parties to the property purchase going on holiday (a common occurrence in the summer months) can also extend the time period between exchange and completion.

Get Cracking with the Packing

Do not, I repeat, do not, leave all your packing to a couple of days before you have to vacate your home. Packing will be a bigger job than you think, it will take longer than you anticipated and you will never, ever have enough boxes

Organise a Removal Company

Get some quotes together and as soon as your solicitor gives you the green light – ‘book ‘em’.

Start Cleaning

Even though you may not know them and never actually encounter them, it is not cool to leave a pile of dust bunnies and the remains of a three-year old mouldy sandwich in a kitchen cupboard as a ‘surprise’ greeting for the new buyers of your home.

Contact Your Utility Suppliers

Make sure you inform the following suppliers of your impending move:

  • Gas and electricity
  • Royal Mail
  • Water
  • Phone and internet
  • Satellite TV
  • DVLA
  • Insurance companies
  • Your family doctor and dentist
  • Your bank
  • TV Licensing Authority
  • Your vet
  • Your children’s schools
  • Your employer
  • Newspaper, milk delivers, etc.

Tip Two – Make Sure you can Find Your Keys on Completion Day

Completion day is the day when all the money to purchase your property is transferred, allowing you to pay off your mortgage, legal fees, etc.

Things can fall to pieces at this point, especially if there is a long chain involved (meaning your buyer has to complete on their house sale, and their buyer has to complete on theirs and so on all on the same day in order for everyone to fill their moving vans). Your solicitor needs to keep their eye firmly on the ball and make sure that the money received from the buyer is transferred smoothly to your lender.

Once your buyer is given the green light from their solicitor that all the monies have gone through successfully, they will dash straight down to their estate agent to pick up the keys to their new home. Remember, they may have been waiting for this day to arrive for months, so in order to avoid devastating what could be a young couple buying their first home, or the family finally moving onto that bigger, grander second house; make sure you put all the keys to your former property in a safe place the night before, where they will not get lost in the packing.

Before you leave, be sure to take final gas and electricity meter readings and pass this information onto your supplier so you are only charged for the energy which you have used.

Tip Three – Remember you Have a New Home and Address after Completion

Once you have moved from your house and the frantic activity of completion day is all but a distant memory, you may think you have nothing further to do. But let me ask you:

Have you cancelled any direct debit payments relating to your former address, i.e. to pay your gas and electricity and water bills?

Have you organised for your mail to be redirected?

Have you notified your local Council of your move so they can apportion any Counsel Tax owed?

If you have yet to do any of these then you need to put down that cup of tea and do so. Then you can relax.

Speaking of cups of tea…here is a bonus tip for ensuring the sale of your house goes as smoothly as possible. Make sure you pack the kettle, teabags, cups and milk in a place where you can easily get to them, not randomly in one of the dozens of boxes marked ‘Kitchen’. It will come in handy, believe me.

At Saracens Solicitors we have been involved in the sale and purchase of properties, both in London and throughout England and Wales, for over a decade. To ensure the sale of your house runs smoothly, please call our office on 020 3588 3500 to speak to one of our property specialists.

Do you have any further tips on how to ensure vacating your property on completion day runs smoothly? If so, please feel free to comment below.