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If a buyer wants to delay completion, it can slow down the process by a few months or even longer. This can be frustrating for the seller and leaves them to decide whether or not they want to wait.


What Is Delayed Completion?

Delayed completion is when a completion date is set later than expected. Generally speaking, the exchange of contracts happens anywhere from 2 weeks to 28 days before completion; with delayed completion, the completion date could be set back many months after exchange.

If delayed compensation occurs, it can delay the completion of house sale for a number of years which can cause complications of its own. Should delayed completion occur, it can be an extremely frustrating situation for all involved and could lead to penalties for those causing the delay or, in some cases, cause the sale to fall through altogether.


Why Might a Buyer Delay Completion?

There are many different reasons why a buyer might want to delay completion:

  • They are awaiting planning permission – if the buyer wants to make significant changes to the property upon purchase, they might want to delay completion until they have received the necessary planning permission
  • They are having issues with financing – if something happens that affects the buyer’s access to financing and they are unable to obtain their mortgage, they may need to postpone while trying to come up with the funds elsewhere.
  • There are issues in the buyers’ property chain – if a buyer has to sell their home to buy yours, they are part of a property chain. If something is pushed back in their chain, it may force them to request a new completion date.
  • They have had changes in their personal circumstances – if there are unexpected changes in your buyer’s personal circumstances such as a relationship breakdown of the couple due to buy, they may want to delay completion date.

Sellers can also sometimes be the responsible party for delayed completion. They may do this if they are struggling to find a property to buy, want to buy a new build home and the construction is delayed, or if they are waiting for a tenants’ lease to end when purchasing a rental property.


What Can You Do If Completion Is Delayed?

If your buyer has delayed completion, there are certain things you can do to speed up the completion date.

  1. Speak to your solicitor – they can give you advice about your legal position and can speak to the relevant parties to try and keep things moving
  2. Tell your estate agent – as part of their service, estate agents are responsible for things running smoothly. They have a strong incentive for the agreed completion date to stay on track so will likely help to solve the issue.
  3. Be prepared – make sure you are prepared on your side of things including completing all necessary paperwork and preparing your house ready to move out.
  4. Serve a completion notice – if the buyer has stopped the completion going ahead on the agreed date, you can ask your solicitor to issue a completion notice which requires the buyer to complete within ten working days after being served. Should the buyer fail to adhere to this, you could withdraw from the sale and claim for any associated costs.
  5. Sell your house fast online – if you need to sell your home in a hurry and the delayed completion date is preventing you from moving on, you can work with a house buying company in order to facilitate a quick sale. These companies can buy your home with minimal stress and can handle all the legal proceedings. Selling your home through these companies can get you the sales funds very quickly meaning that you can move on.