The short answer is – we wish we knew! Don’t worry though - we will be there to help until we’re sure you’ve got your keys on the day. Unfortunately we won’t be able to tell you a specific time as there are so many variables but here’s a simplified version of what must happen on the day.
Firstly your conveyancer will send mortgage funds for your purchase to the conveyancer dealing with that property sale. If the banking system is busy this may take longer than expected especially if it is a Friday – a typical completion day for many property sales/purchases.
The conveyancer that the funds have been transferred to will then need to confirm receipt of those funds and, again, if they are busy dealing with several completions on the same day this may take some time.
Only when the receiving conveyancer/solicitor confirms the receipt of mortgage funds to the estate agent, are they then able to call you as the new homeowner and arrange collection and release of the keys to you. It may be worth speaking to the estate agent the day before to see what their procedure is so that you can be prepared for their call on the day.
It is also worth considering how much of a chain there is for your property purchase and how far up the chain you may be. The higher up the chain the later the release of keys might be.
Another item of note is that if you are a home mover booking a removal company, then take this into account if you are paying them by the hour. Most completions may not take place until after lunch time due to the time-consuming aspects of transferring funds from one conveyancer to another and then communicating with other parties such as estate agents to arrange release of the keys. This is where being a first-time buyer may be an advantage – if you are living with parents or in rented accommodation you can hopefully arrange an overlap so that you don’t necessarily need to move furniture and belongings over on completion day.
There is no doubt that completion/moving day can be rather uncertain and a little stressful but, if you can, try to breathe deeply and take the day as it comes. Keep your eye on the prize - at the end of the day you will have your fabulous new home (and a pile of boxes to unpack)!
Good luck and happy new home!