Completion of the sale and purchase

On the completion date, the buyer’s solicitor sends the completion money to the seller’s solicitor, who then sends the completion documents to the buyer’s solicitor; at the same time, if the property is leasehold, the licence to assign is completed

The completion money comprises the purchase price for the property, the business and the inventory, plus the stock money (some or all of which may be paid in cash direct by the buyer to the seller – or a payment on account can be made through the solicitors, with any adjustments being made direct between the parties)

If the property is leasehold, there is likely to be money due to the freeholder as well. Where Enterprise Inns is the freeholder, they issue a “Departure Statement” to the seller and a “Completion Statement” to the buyer. The Departure Statement covers any unpaid rent, trade debt, etc, due from the seller, while the Completion Statement covers rent, etc, and the security deposit due from the buyer.

Two points to note:

1 Enterprise Inns will not release the seller’s security deposit back to the seller until after completion – so the Departure Statement needs to be paid out of the purchase money

2 If completion is in the first half of a month, Enterprise Inns will expect the buyer to pay rent, etc, for the rest of that month; if it is in the second half of the month, they will also expect the buyer to pay all of the following month’s rent, etc, at completion, too. It pays to complete early in the month

It also pays to complete on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday: avoid Fridays, as the lunchtime session can be busy and if the completion has not taken place by then it can get difficult; and it helps to avoid Mondays so that the buyer can get the completion money to his or her solicitor the day before (to avoid delays waiting for it on the day itself) without losing interest over the weekend

To speed up completion and ensure all the seller’s debts to the freeholder are paid – and therefore not inherited by the buyer – it makes sense for the buyer’s solicitor to send the seller’s “debt” to the freeholder as well as the buyer’s “debt”, and to send the balance of the completion money to the seller’s solicitor. Otherwise, if all the completion money is sent to the seller’s solicitor, there is a further delay while the money required by the freeholder is sent on

If everyone involved works efficiently, the money is in the hands of the people who need it in time for when the stock valuation is finished, and the legal aspects can then all be completed so that ownership is transferred before midday

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