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A Quick Guide to Conveyancing for Buyers and Sellers

For home buyers and sellers, conveyancing is one of the most complicated processes to navigate. So, what is conveyancing, and how can you prepare for it?

Faye deGavre

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Apr 29, 2021

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5 min read

A Quick Guide to Conveyancing for Buyers and Sellers

So, you’ve finally found the house of your dreams, whether you’re stepping on the first rung of the property ladder or finally moving into your forever home. During this time, you’ll need to consider conveyancing; an important process which you can’t purchase a property without. 

But conveyancing isn’t only relevant for buyers. If you’re selling or remortgaging a house, you’ll also need to factor it in. So, what is conveyancing, and what are the associated fees? Read on for the lowdown on one of the most misunderstood aspects of the moving process.

An overview of conveyancing

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is all the legal work involved in transferring ownership of a home from one party to another. It may not be the most glamorous part of the home buying process, but it is one of the most important. 

It’s kicked off by property solicitors who receive instruction once an offer has been made on a home and accepted by the seller. Once an offer is successful, solicitors representing the seller and buyer will exchange details and begin the conveyancing process.

This process isn’t exclusively for those on the move. In some cases, homeowners remortgaging a property will also need to tackle the conveyancing process. 

Who carries out conveyancing?

A professional conveyancer or solicitor typically conducts conveyancing. Unless your mortgage provider stipulates a specific firm, it’s up to you who you work with. If you’re not taking out a mortgage, it’s possible to do the conveyancing yourself – though it is far wiser to have a professional acting for you.

In theory, any solicitor can conduct this legal work, though not all will have experience in the conveyancing area. In recent years, ‘conveyancers’ have boomed in popularity, and these specialists are licensed and regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). 

What does a conveyancer do?

You’re probably wondering what you get for your hard-earned cash. Here’s a rundown of some of the main services your conveyancer provides.

When buying a property 

  • Searches: Your conveyancer will carry out checks with the local authorities, among others, to see if there are any building control, environmental or water/drainage issues that you should know about. 
  • Enquiries: Your conveyancer will raise all necessary enquiries with your other party’s solicitor to ensure you have all the information needed to transfer the property into your name legally.
  • Land Registry: Your conveyancer will register the property with the Land Registry and obtain the new title deed. This document shows the ownership of a property. 
  • Stamp Duty: If you’re liable for stamp duty, your solicitor can ensure you are charged and pay the correct amount. 
  • Bank transfers: The conveyancer will carry out the money exchange to ensure the right funds reach the right accounts. There may be an additional charge for this. 
  • Fraud checks: Transferring a large lump sum can be a risky business, so your conveyancer will verify your identity and the legitimacy of the other parties. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of just how much goes on during this process. 

When selling a property

Once you have found and instructed a conveyancer, they will request the property’s title deeds. If you own the property outright, you may have these to hand or you may have them lodged with a solicitor. If there’s a mortgage on the property, the lender’s deeds hold the deeds. In this case, the conveyancer will request them directly from the lender. 

Your conveyancer will also ask you to review and approve the property information form. This outlines everything that will be included in the draft contract. 

When selling your property, conveyancing is important as it ensures the buyer has enough funds to complete the purchase. It also makes sure they do not become the legal owner without having paid the agreed amounts.  

How long does conveyancing take?

On average, the conveyancing process typically takes between 8 and 12 weeks. But it can take longer if there are concerns around the property or the land it sits on. 

If you’re moving into a home as a chain-free buyer, then conveyancing could take as little as 4 weeks. Take this with a pinch of salt, though, as it largely depends on the type of property you’re buying. Leasehold flats often take longer than freehold houses, for example. 

How much are conveyancing fees?

The cost of conveyancing is made up of a basic fee in addition to disbursements with fixed costs. Most homeowners in the UK can expect to pay between £330 and £1,500 for a full conveyancing service, depending on how many services are carried out.

Before you instruct your conveyancer, they will provide you with a quote with a breakdown of the legal fees and disbursements. 

Do I need a conveyancer before I make an offer?

It’s not necessary for house-hunters in England and Wales to find a solicitor to make an offer on a house. It can, however, speed up the process. If you find someone before making an offer on a property, then you can get to work straight away if the offer is accepted. Allow yourself time to shop around for a professional to avoid making a hurried decision.

In Scotland, you will need a solicitor beforehand as they are responsible for putting in the formal offer, negotiating the price and overseeing the contract.

Let’s get you moving

Now you know what’s involved in conveyancing, you’re ready for the next steps. Whether you’re buying or selling, Boomin helps you make your next move easy. Book viewings and valuations online, 24/7 and receive instant confirmation. From finding the right home for sale to getting started on selling your property, you can do it all right here. 

Faye deGavre

Content Writer