The Mortgage Was Lost On Completion Day!!

When I tell people what I do, I get three different reactions.

  1. Wow, I wish I knew you when I was moving, it was a nightmare!
  2. It was a nightmare, I’m never moving again!
  3. Oh really! What do you do?  I thought the estate agent and conveyancer took care of it all.

Clearly the latter have never moved or have been lucky enough to have a stress-free move.  And that’s just it, it is down to luck.  So many things can go wrong and result in lost money, lost time or both.    You can always earn money, but you’ll never get back time.

‘Lost time is never found again’ Benjamin Franklin

I thought I’d share a few things that have happened to me through my various house moves, the problems and the solutions.  To help you should the same thing occur.  

What went wrong?

I was living with my partner in rented accommodation whilst looking for our new home.  We had exchanged contracts four weeks before and given notice on the rental property.  Keen to get moving and into the new home as soon as we had completed, all the boxes were packed up.  I had taken a few days off work, to pack up the final items ready for the move day, the day after. On the day of completion, we were contacted by our conveyancer to inform us that we would not be completing that day as planned.  The mortgage lender couldn’t find the mortgage on their system and therefore would not be transferring the money! Shocked!!!! But the mortgage had been on the system at exchange, just 4 weeks before! The conveyancer would have checked that the lender was willing to lend before exchange took place!  There had been a system error and all the mortgage details were lost! Side profile of a house with green windows in Oxfordshire

What we had to do

  • Contacted the Mortgage adviser who had all the application details and forwarded them to the lender. He also contacted the conveyancer and together they escalated the issue with the lender to start to manually push the mortgage through the system.  Usually this takes weeks and clearly, we couldn’t wait that long.
  • The conveyancer contacted the seller’s conveyancer and informed them of the issue. Note that, once exchanged, if you do not complete on the completion date stated in the contract, the person at fault is liable for fees. Fortunately, the seller was moving into another property he owned, understood that it wasn’t our fault and agreed not to charge us any fees.
  • I contacted the removals company as we were clearly not going to move the next day. We were charged a cancellation fee, which was reduced when I explained the circumstances and the fact that we would be using them a few days later.
  • As I explained, we were in rented accommodation and had a few days left on the tenancy. If not, we would have had to find somewhere to stay temporarily and storage for all the boxes and furniture.

The mortgage was chased through every stage of the process and thankfully, two days later we completed.  The removals were booked in for the next day and we finally moved!  In the following months, we had all costs incurred as a result of the failed completion reimbursed by the lender. It was a very unusual but stressful experience and several lessons were learned. Farm House and sheep in Wiltshire

Lessons Learned

  • Ensure that you use a mortgage adviser when obtaining a mortgage. Not only will they get you the best rate, they will also help if you have any issues with the lender along the way.
  • Communicate with everyone involved every couple of hours, to ensure completion takes place as soon as possible.
  • If you are in rented accommodation. Try to ensure you have a few days ‘spare’ at the end of the agreement after you move.
  • If you are completing on your own home on the same day as completing on your new home, have a contingency plan
    • If you need to move that day as you are part of a chain. Your mortgage adviser may be able to organise a short-term bridging loan.  You should be able to claim any costs back for the mortgage lender, but this isn’t guaranteed.
    • If you can wait to move in, then you will need temporary accommodation, storage and even pet boarding if appropriate. Consider where you would go if this were to happen.
  • Keep a list of costs incurred and receipts, so that you can claim any expenses back from the lender.
  • If you lose pay as a result of moving ‘twice’, keep a record and ensure this is evidenced, so that you can claim it back from the lender.


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Have you ever had issues with a mortgage just before exchange or completion?  If so, I’d love you to share your experiences.