Fridays are the most popular...

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QDo completions always have to happen on a Friday – or can we choose another day if it happens to be more convenient?

AYou are right: the majority of completions do tend to happen on a Friday – and indeed, the last Friday of the month is the busiest of all. Yet, they are not actually required to do so.

To that extent then, it is at least theoretically possible to complete on whichever day of the week happens to best suit all parties. Nevertheless, there are some very practical reasons why Fridays are so popular – the most obvious being that many people prefer to move house over the weekend, rather than taking time off during the working week.

By the same token, it also suits many people to have completions scheduled for the last Friday of the month so that their first mortgage repayment can coincide with their monthly salary cheque going in. And besides, there’s the simple fact that people are in a much greater hurry to complete than they used to be. Years ago, the period between exchange and completion was a standard 28 days, but now fewer than one in 10 transactions complete in this more relaxed and much less stressful timeframe. In fact, according to recent figures from one of the UK’s largest conveyancing firms, some 40 per cent now complete within three days, and around one in four exchange and complete on the same day!

Now, you might think that all this makes perfect sense, but the fact is that it can lead to unintended consequences, in terms of the stresses and strains placed on the entire system. Indeed, many of those involved in the property industry, from agents and solicitors to removals firms, would be only too happy to see the burden of completions spread a little more evenly throughout the week. Even the BACS money transfer system can find itself under enormous strain – as was dramatically demonstrated one Friday last October, when it crashed for nearly 10 hours, effectively putting thousands of home moves at risk. So, if you would really prefer to complete on Tuesday, say, rather than Friday, I think you would be surprised to discover how amenable your agent and solicitor might be. The only problem, of course, being that everyone else in the chain will probably still be focusing on Friday. But it’s worth a try!