The final stage of purchasing a property is known as completion. You have already exchanged contracts, committing to the deal. Now you just need to finish the sale, and that’s where the completion statement comes in.
What is the completion statement?
The completion statement is a single document sent to you by your conveyancer. It is effectively the bill, as it lays out what you need to pay in order to complete the purchase of the property and get your keys.
It won’t just be a single figure — it will be broken down by the different elements you need to pay. Features that might be listed on the completion statement include:
- The overall price of the property.
- The deposit paid.
- Any amount you may be paying towards keeping fixtures and fittings in the property.
- Cash back from the lender.
- The size of the mortgage advance.
- Fees due to your conveyancer.
- Stamp duty.
If you are purchasing a leasehold property, it will note how much you need to pay towards the ground rent and service charges that are due with the property.
When will I receive my completion statement?
The precise timescales for sending out a completion statement will vary by conveyancer.
According to the Conveyancing Association, the industry trade body, good conveyancers send the completion statement out as early as possible in the transaction to ensure that everyone has a good idea of what sort of amounts they are going to have to pay.
An updated version will be sent out after the exchange of contracts but before the completion of the transaction.
Can the completion statement change after exchange?
While the exchange of contracts means you are legally bound to go through with the transaction, it doesn’t set in stone the actual price you will have to pay. In fact there are all sorts of reasons the completion statement, and your final bill, can change between the exchange of contracts and you actually receiving the keys to your new home.
For example, there could be a change in the stamp duty thresholds, as we saw in July when it was removed for all transactions under £500,000 until March 2021. These changes take place as soon as they are announced, so those who were in the process of buying a house suddenly saw the transaction become significantly cheaper.
There may also be a delay somewhere in the property chain, which means your own transaction is delayed and can have a knock-on effect, particularly if you are buying a leasehold property as this may impact any contribution towards ground rent or service charges you need to make as part of the purchase.
What should you do when you receive your completion statement?
It’s important to closely examine the completion statement. You should make sure the conveyancing fees match what you were quoted from the outset, for example, but it’s a good idea to query anything that has changed or you do not understand.
You should also notify your conveyancer if anything has been missed or forgotten. While it may seem like your legal team forgetting to bill you for a particular fee is a good thing, you will have to pay it eventually.
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