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What to do when you complete the sale?

First Time Buyers Edinburgh

It may sound like madness, but we have come across instances in the past where it has come as a surprise to the seller that in fact they have to move out of their home.

That is an extremely rare instance but we think it’s worthwhile to explain to you what happens in the lead-up to completing the sale of your property and what happens on the date the sale completes.

The day the sale of your home completes is usually referred to by solicitors and estate agents in Edinburgh as the “Date of Entry” and so we will use that expression in this Guide.

Start arranging the moving-out

On the Date of Entry you will move out of your home and so you will need to start to make arrangements for that in advance.

You will need to remove all your furniture and personal belongings. If you need to arrange a removal company, make sure that you get quotes and instruct the removal company well in advance. Since most people buy and sell homes on a Friday, removal companies can get booked up quickly, so don’t leave it too long to organise. Also this is a good time to start packing things away into boxes to avoid a last minute rush; things you don’t use every day is a good place to start.

Do you have attic space? If you do, then just a reminder to make sure that your belongings stored in the attic are also removed.

Redirection of Mail

Start making a list of the companies and people you need to notify of your change of address. It is always a good idea to put in place a redirection of mail with the Royal Mail – this is something perhaps to be thought about a couple of weeks before the settlement date.


If they do not already have them, you should arrange to give your estate agent/solicitor one set of keys. The solicitors will need to deliver one set of keys to the purchaser’s solicitors on the Date of Entry.

Are any repairs needed?

Since you will usually be giving the purchaser a limited guarantee that the water heater, central heating and kitchen appliances will be in working order, make sure that if there are any repairs needed, you get those repairs done in advance.

Leave the Purchaser useful information

We at Cameron Stephen & Co. recommend that you try to leave some printed out material for the purchaser letting them know where things are, booklets explaining how to use the washing machine etc (if you still have the maker’s User Guides) and any other information you think the purchaser will find useful.

What time do we usually settle on the Date of Entry?

Generally solicitors in Edinburgh aim to complete a sale during the morning but sometimes it can take longer and settlement will take place later in the day. What time your sale will complete will depend to some extent on whether or not there are a chain of property sales and purchases happening. If you are selling to a first time buyer, then usually settlement takes place during the morning as there will be no chain behind the first time buyer.

What time of the day are you expected to have moved out by?

As a general rule, you will be expected to be fully moved-out by 12 Noon. If that is not going to be possible you are best to let your solicitor know in advance with an indication of when you are going to be able to be fully moved-out so that your solicitor can let the purchaser’s solicitor know and then allow the purchaser to make any changes to their move-in arrangements. Courtesy is the by-word and advance notice can avoid the problem of the frustrated buyer sitting outside your property with their removal company, threatening to charge extra for the delay.

Factor in time to leave your property in a clean and tidy condition

Whilst this is the counsel of perfection and not always something that can be easily achieved in practice, try to factor in time to allow you to hoover and clean the property. Certainly do not leave any personal items and try to remember to also empty the bins in the kitchen and bathroom. It is a case of do unto others as you would have others do for you. You will expect the sellers of the property you are buying to leave their property clean and tidy and so do your best. There is nothing more likely to take the shine off your buyer’s delight at moving into to your home, than being faced with the prospect of having to spend hours of cleaning.

Take final meter readings

Remember to take a note of the meter readings for electricity and gas. And then remember in the next couple of days, to notify the electricity and gas companies of the change of ownership and final meter readings and arrange for final bills to be sent to you at your new address. The same goes for telephone and internet providers.


As mentioned above, your solicitors will have one set of keys to deliver to the purchaser’s solicitors on the Date of Entry. Your own keys should be left at the property in a place that is easy for the purchaser to find.

Move-In Gift

By all means not essential but it is nice if you leave for the purchaser a “Welcome Home” card and perhaps flowers or a bottle of wine.

And after you have completed the sale

In regards to Buildings Insurance, you should not cancel your buildings insurance cover until the sale has completed.

Maintenance and Service Contracts

If you have a maintenance or service contract for the central heating we recommend that you do not cancel this immediately but wait a week. This is because the Sale Contract will make you responsible for repairs to the central heating and water heating systems if the purchaser finds them not to be in working order on the Date of Entry and the purchaser has 5 working days to intimate any problems or issues.

What your solicitor does on the Settlement Date

Your solicitors meantime will be making sure that the sale is completed, by delivering to the purchaser’s solicitors the documents required to complete the sale and the keys, which will in return receive the price from the purchaser’s solicitors. If the price is received by bank transfer (which is now usually the case), the solicitor will then arrange to pay off your mortgage and then arrange to send you the net sale proceeds.

Your solicitor will let you know once settlement has been completed and will be keeping in touch with you during the Date of Entry.

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