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Buying or selling a home can be complicated. Our definitive guide to the conveyancing process will help you understand the procedure at the core of any transaction — conveyancing. We'll break it down and make it easy so you can understand what conveyancing is all about and maintain control throughout the process.

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing, strictly defined, is the legal transfer of property ownership from one person to another. Conveyancing refers to all of the processes and documentation that assure a successful sale or purchase.

Who Can Do the Conveyancing?

When it comes to who does the conveyancing, there are a few options:

Licensed Conveyancer: a lawyer who specialises in real estate transactions. Before being certified and qualified, a conveyancer must complete a series of tests and earn 1,200 hours of experience.

Conveyancing Solicitor: Conveyancing solicitors are certified solicitors who can also serve as conveyancers. Some are specialists, while others are generalists. Using a conveyancing solicitor might cost more than employing a specialised conveyancer.

The Conveyancing Process

1. Select a Conveyancer

There was a time when you had to hire a local solicitor for conveyancing to sign papers or view documents. You may use your family solicitor (if you have one) or a specialised conveyancer with the knowledge and technology to keep you informed throughout the sale or purchase.

When looking for a conveyancer or conveyance solicitor, it's essential to ask the following questions:

  • What is included in the price – and what additional fees may be incurred?

  • Will I be billed if the sale or purchase does not go through?

  • Will I be assigned a conveyancer or solicitor?

  • Is it possible to contact you and obtain information outside of business hours?

  • How can I keep track of what's going on?

2. Instruct

It's time to put your selected conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to work. Give their contact information to your estate agent, who will email them a Memorandum of Sale with all of the crucial facts.

You'll also be required to fill out specific papers and present identification, as well as evidence of residency, such as a utility bill.

If you're selling, you should complete the fixtures, fittings, and contents form right away. Meanwhile, your conveyancer will be explaining the mortgage status to ensure lenders are kept up to date. If you're purchasing, now is also the time to arrange for a survey to have an expert evaluate the property's construction — this is optional, but it may provide you peace of mind for older houses.

3. Conduct Property Searches

Searches collect all of the information that may be relevant to the property you're looking to purchase. Suppose there is a possibility of flooding, or a new railway line is being planned below your garden. In that case, it is critical to be informed of anything that might potentially influence the future of your investment. If required, your conveyancing solicitor may need to do extra searches.

3. Signing the Contract and Setting the Completion Date

After the property searches, the contract pack, and the mortgage offer have been assessed and any difficulties have been resolved, your solicitor will schedule a time for you and the seller of the property to enter into a binding contract. This will be arranged for you on the date you agree to complete the home purchase.

Your solicitor will also contact the seller's legal team to notify them of your intent to proceed with the transaction. You will be needed to transfer your deposit to your solicitor, which is usually 10% of the entire purchase price.

4. Exchange

Your solicitor will send you a final completion statement, transfer deed and mortgage deed to sign. The statement will also reveal the remaining fees you must pay to cover your legal fees and expenses.

A final HMLR search will be performed to ensure that no modifications to the Land Register have occurred since the first searches.

Your solicitor will transmit the signed transfer deed, together with your deposit, to the seller's solicitor, and the contracts will be exchanged. At this point, you are legally obligated to proceed with the purchase of the property.

5. Completion

Completion is often planned for approximately midday on the stated day, but in practice, it occurs when the seller's solicitor verifies that they have received all of the money due. When this occurs, the seller should deliver the keys to the estate agency for your collection. This signifies that the conveyancing procedure is complete, and you are free to move in.

What if I'm Only Buying or Selling?

The conveyancing processes for purchasing and selling are distinct, yet there is significant overlap. Sellers do not need to organise searches and may not need to consider financing if they are not purchasing another home.

How Long Does the Process Take?

The industry standard is 10 to 16 weeks. If there are cash purchasers and no chain, the process might be completed in a matter of a few weeks; but, if difficulties arise that require investigation and resolution, the process could take months. Your conveyancer or attorney will set a target date at the outset of the process to ensure that things proceed as swiftly as feasible. They should also keep you updated at all times — there's nothing worse than being left in the dark and wondering what's going on with your hefty investment.

How Much Will Conveyancing Cost?

Conveyancing fees are determined by the value of the property being purchased, even though there's no significant difference in the legal work needed in purchasing a £3 million house than there is in purchasing a £100,000 apartment.

However, the average home acquisition necessitates roughly £850 in conveyancing fees.

This sum comprises the conveyancer's time, calls, and letters, as well as the expenses for council searches and Land Registry registration.

You might be able to save money by using an online conveyancer, some of whom charge as low as £500.

However, if you are concerned about your buyer backing out, it may be worth paying a little more for a no-completion, no-fee option, which guarantees you owe nothing if the sale falls through. You can also read this guide on the costs that should be included in a conveyancing quote to learn more.

Final Thoughts

The conveyancing process begins when you make an offer on a home – or accept an offer on your own home – and continues until the keys are exchanged on completion day. Spot cash purchases drastically reduce the conveyancing process by eliminating the necessity for a mortgage provider.

Conveyancing Calculator provides instant online residential conveyancing quotes you can use to compare conveyancing costs. Whether you're moving homes, buying a property, remortgaging, or selling a house, our conveyancing quote calculator will supply you with instant prices directly from a UK-regulated SRA property solicitor or CLC licensed conveyancer. Contact us today to learn more!


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