Deciding a Completion Date

Failing to Agree on a Completion Date – What to Do Next

What this article covers

  • Reasons why sellers may not agree with your proposed completion date
  • Negotiation tips to find a completion date that works for both sellers and buyers

Your solicitors have informed you that they will soon be ready for the exchange of contract. Part of the exchange process is to agree on a completion date. You propose a date only to have it rebuffed by the opposite party. The agreement of a completion date, unfortunately, isn’t always straightforward as the buyer and seller may have differing requirements. Here are a few steps we recommend if you are struggling to agree on a completion date.

Get an explanation

You will be in a better position to know whether to hold firm or to be more flexible with the completion date if you have a clear explanation from the counterpart on why they are disagreeing with your proposal. They may or may not have a satisfactory reason. One party, for example, may not agree because they have something important (e.g. medical procedure) scheduled on the proposed date. Have this communication handled between the solicitors.

Find a compromise

How much compromise you may decide to make will depend on who has the upper hand in the negotiations. You may decide to stay firm if you feel the opposite party isn’t offering a solid-enough reason. Just make sure you aren’t making any empty threats. It’s a last resort but houses sales can fall through if the seller and buyer can’t find an agreement before exchange.

It’s situations like this that make it important to have a small contingency fund. Unexpected costs will pop up during the process, especially if the sale involves a long chain. You may, for example, end up having to stay a bit longer than planned in your rented property or have your belongings put in temporary storage as part of any compromise made for the completion date.

Don’t book removals before exchange

It’s premature to book a removal or moving service before the agreement of a completion date. Some removal services may require a large deposit upfront and this may be non-refundable in the event the completion date is different to what you had planned.

Published on | Last updated on 10/01/2023

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