Completion date delays and what to do

Posted 1 February 2016 by Keith Osborne

The time between the mortgage offer and the completion date of a move into a new home is very important. Completion delays are a fairly regular occurrence with some deals even falling through altogether.

The time between the mortgage offer and the completion date of a move into a new home is very important. Completion delays are a fairly regular occurrence with some deals even falling through altogether.

Likewise, if there's a delayed completion date and you're in a moving chain, it could cause significant problems. For one thing, you could end up paying the additional costs for those waiting to move into your present property. 

Otherwise, if you're already renting or have a mortgage on your present property, then a delayed completion date would mean you have two sets of payments to fork out until you can finally move.

The move itself could fall through altogether if the lender decides that circumstances have changed since the initial mortgage offer was given. However, in the event that there is a delayed completion date with your own move, there are actions you can take.

Minimise the impact of a delayed completion date

When first receiving your mortgage offer, ask your lender what happens if a delayed completion date does occur. In general, mortgage offers last between three and six months. Some lenders, however, can offer a time limit for up to a year. So negotiate the best time limit for yourself. Ideally, you should have something in writing that says you can have your mortgage offer extended if your completion date is delayed for any reason. Even this won't be a 100% guarantee but it's better than just taking your lenders understanding nature for granted later on down the line.

When you do have a delayed moving date

If you do find out that there is a delayed completion date just when you're preparing to move, then you should immediately contact all parties involved through your solicitor. If you're part of a chain, then, hopefully, an arrangement can be worked out that is agreeable to everyone involved.

If there's a delay because of some mistake on the part of the seller of your new property, you can pull out of a sale altogether. By law, your expenses should be paid for by the seller of the home you were moving into. Problems can often occur on the day of completion, such as funds not being transferred in time. Negotiation through your solicitor and patience may again be your best option for a quick solution. 

Part exchanging with your housebuilder

Another way to avoid potential completion date problems altogether is part exchanging your present property with a housebuilder for a brand new home. For instance, you don't have to worry about selling your present property and there's no housebuying chain. You simply move when your new home is ready. Many housebuilders welcome this type of buying process.

All being well, your completion date won't be delayed and you'll have a smooth move into your new home. Nevertheless, by preparing for these potential completion date problems in advance, you should be one step ahead,if and when they do happen.


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