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How does money stuff and key release work on moving day?

I’ve been asked this question a lot.

Agents and solicitors always give the same response to everyone (or so it seems) which is normally one of two;

‘it’ll be about lunchtime’ or ‘about one o’clock’

If this was actually true then there would never be the situation where self service moving companies start moving people into their new home at 11:30am, or, as we all know can happen, they do not get to start moving a family into their new home until quarter to five!

So, why is this?

Well, contrary to many many peoples beliefs the transfer of funds is not simultaneous. It is not one function, and, contrary to common belief it isn’t done the day before either. It is done on the day you actually move – known as – ‘completion day’ (which simply means ‘completion of the contract’)

If you strip out all the fancy speak and witchcraft you are left with the situation where you are paying for a house, well actually its just the land the house is sat on (but we’ll leave those details for another blog entry!). That’s it. Nothing fancy. It is just a transaction, you pay – you get,

You may have agreed – for example – £300k, and you have to pay the person/s selling that money. Obviously you’re not planning on putting £300k in twenties in carrier bags and walking on round to see them (or at least I hope not) and so your solicitor is facilitating this for you.

The money might say come from the £100k your flat is worth that you own outright with a £200k mortgage on top, but either way your solicitor will at some point have £300k of yours that he or she needs to send on to pay for your new house.

(sorry if this sounds obvious but you’ll see why I am laying these foundations in a bit).

You for example have this buyer who sends you £300k, and then, after your funds have been moved on again to the people you’re buying off, their solicitor shall add to or subtract as necessary to send money on for their next home.

All very, very obvious. However what gets massively overlooked is the human part.

We have humans involved that need to do things and press buttons. And humans are easily distracted and often less than perfectly efficient.

On average we find that the first persons funds tend to go through @11:30 – this being normally someone out of a rental property or maybe out of store or a first time buyer. Now, there is no reason why it has to be about this time, in truth the solicitor could send the money at 09:30 (for example) and so potentially kick starting the process sooner but we find that this rarely happens.

From then on its chain reaction, and no, I’m not talking about Diana Ross.

As each set of funds lands we rely upon a human to either add to, or subtract from as required and then forward those funds on. But, what if that person has other stuff to do, or is out for coffee, has an upset stomach, or maybe is chomping lunch. What if they forget about you, in the midst of everyone else, and problems elsewhere? Yes- all this happens – regularly.

We even once saw a situation with a solicitor that ‘went shopping and forgot’ < I wish that was either untrue or an exaggeration, but alas, it’s true, and yours truly here was actually on this move.

So, the longer the chain, the longer the process. The higher up the chain you are – the later you get your keys. All the while understanding that efficiencies (or lack of) in the process have even more of an impact.

So, if your funds land, and perhaps your solicitor is in a meeting, and then goes for lunch without considering you…….(as happened to my mother) then having the keys to your new home, as perhaps you should do, by 12:00, suddenly turns into 15:00……all because of one human in the chain.

So, can you influence this?

The answer is yes, you can make an absolute right royal pain the backside of yourself on the day of the move. Phoning up the solicitors office every twenty minutes from @12:00. Making yourself such a nuisance that they just want rid of you – and what is the only way they can achieve that? You got it – send your money out in double quick time and not make you wait longer than you have to.

The higher your position in the chain, the greater the chance that key release will arrive later in the day, and its the difference between a chinese takeaway and glass of wine at 7pm, or, at 7pm still moving in. If you are second in the chain then there is a good chance you will have legal possession of your new home by @12:30. However, if you are 4th, or 5th then, well, face-it, it’ll be more like 15:00 onwards, and possibly more like 16:00.

Your position in the chain will have a direct chronological alignment to the time you are able to move into your new home.

Now, in your contract there was not only a date, but also a time. Think of this as a backstop for if the funds are through quick. Lets say you are selling to a first time buyer and he/she has a really swift solicitor working for them who sends the funds on at 09:30 (I’m thinking of Sarah Dwight in Hall Green) well, that does not mean you have to be out by half nine! That would be daft. And so in this instance the time in the contract would be your saving grace. This time by default seems to be set at 13:00, but you could specify different.

However, this doesn’t work the other way (unfortunately). If your funds are not through before, or on the time in the contract, well, you’ll have to sit and wait. Afterall, you cannot own a house you have not paid for………and the person responsible for how swiftly you pay for it, you are paying good money to work for you. Put the people from Florida moving company on hold, with all your stuff waiting to be placed in the new house.

No point phoning the estate agent, all they’ll do is phone your solicitor  – and you can do this yourself. It is you paying him/her to work for you.

I have actually witnessed customers do this, and so, does it work?


Well, I’m writing it up on here aren’t I?


matt@mgtr.co.uk      Click Here to go back to the main blog page