It is that time of year again – we are coming up to Christmas … so we have the mad rush of those house movers who did not realise that Christmas was on the 25th December (even though it is not a movable feast day like Easter!) and those who just want to be in their new home for Christmas. I often wonder why so many people want to move before Christmas – a new home, not knowing how the heating works, not knowing how large the oven is but let’s invite everyone around for Christmas dinner so we can show off our new home. And what if there is an issue with the heating and they end up being cold over Christmas….
And for us conveyancers – rushing to get everyone moved by Christmas. And we all know that some would move on the day before Christmas Day if they were given the chance to do so.
So it is that time of year when we all start to think about the latest date for completion. Christmas Day is on a Monday this year so would you risk it and complete on the Friday before? I have seen the footers on many emails to say that the latest date for completion will be the 15th December, which does appear to be early but I understand the reasoning for this. But what happens if the client is in a chain? And what if the firms acting in that chain all have different ‘cut off ‘dates? We all know why we would not want to complete close to Christmas because we have to be careful in case there is an issue and the funds are not transferred or there is some other issue which would prevent completion happening in accordance with the provisions of the contract. This could lead to large penalties, but possibly more importantly, if notice were served and firms within the chain were closed between Christmas and New Year, when would the ten working days notice start? Would clients be homeless between exchange and completion?
Think carefully about the latest day for completion coming into Christmas and be aware of the risks and make sure that the clients know of those potential risks. Clients do want to move when they want to move but there are times when we as their conveyancers needs to be sure that they understand the potential risks and I, for one, do not intend to have any completions after the 19th or 20th December. Let local firms know so that you are not seen as the ‘difficult/obstructive/ firm’ in a chain. Completions at Christmas need to be managed carefully for the benefit of the clients – and then we can all enjoy our Christmas lunches