In this guide
What is conveyancing?
As part of property law, conveyancing is the process of transferring property ownership from one party to another. It is a legally binding process that can at times be a complex, confusing, and time-consuming endeavour. Luckily for you, we have compiled some advice on how to make this process as painless as possible. Be sure to follow them for the best results.
The process of buying or selling a home can be stressful. You will go through the conveyancing process on any property sale or purchase therefore understanding what to expect along the way is very important.
The legal part of buying and selling a house is carried out by either a conveyancing solicitor who specialises in property purchase or a licensed conveyancer. The solicitors can be fully trained solicitors while conveyancers are only able to handle properties and related details due to their expertise.
How to find a conveyancing solicitor
Most people buying a property will choose a local conveyancer. This is because they may need to physically view the property and will know more about the local area. The first step to finding a conveyancer is to ask your mortgage broker or financial services. Your broker will usually have a list of their favourite and most efficient conveyancers.
We would also recommend asking family and friends as to who they used and if they would suggest their services. Failing all this, you can report to good old Google and search “conveyancing solicitors near me”.
You want to choose a company that is associated with a regulatory body such as The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). You’ll want to pick a firm that has high standards and a good name but it is ultimately your decision on who you choose. We recommend discussing your situation and requirements with the conveyancer before instructing them. This is to fully make sure that they best match your needs.
Steps of the conveyancing process
The steps of conveyancing help you remember what needs to be done and in what order. You need to consider the following key stages while conveyancing searches.
1. Gather Your Details
The first step is submitting your details to the solicitor or conveyancer including things such as your name, address, and contact details. They also needed to know who the estate agent is and whether you require a mortgage.
Your conveyancing solicitor also requires information about any deposit that might be required on top of their search fees or conveyancing fees. If you have a Lifetime ISA (Individual Savings Account) to buy your first home your conveyancer will be the person who will be able to get access to this account on your behalf. or save for later life. You must be 18 or over and under 40 to be open a Lifetime ISA.
Also, a confirmation of service charge upfront depending on which services are provided by the specific company (estate agents usually send all buyers notification or memorandum of sale).
Your solicitor then needs to correspond with the seller’s solicitors so that both parties know where each other stands. Otherwise, there could be some confusion later down the line!
You can also include whether or not there are any restrictions on ownership that will affect who can buy the house or flat from you. It’s good practice to keep details like this close so that when you start property searches you can make sure that there are no issues before going ahead with buying.
2. Local Authority Searches
Your property solicitor or management company carries out authority searches to see if there are any problems with the property you’re buying or the area.
These could include future developments, subsidence, bankruptcy search, public footpaths, and contaminated land.
It also includes things like any planning consents, building notices, and environmental search such as trees, green spaces nearby, and chancel repair liability.
Also, the licensed conveyancers will include whether there are any restrictions on how people can use the land around it.
The conveyancing lawyers will also carry out a search on behalf of your buyer that checks for things like geological surveys as well as other factors such as off-street parking; proximity to schools and shops noise, light, and air quality, etc.
The information will help when looking at different properties and making an informed decision about the selling process! Your solicitor reviews all of this information for you but it’s up to your discretion whether or not these conditions make a difference in what house you buy!
3. Review The Information
Now the seller’s solicitor will review all of the information, pre-contract inquiries, documents, and few other details that have been collected so far. It makes sure that everything is up-to-date before proceeding! If anything needs updating now is the time to do it. For example, an email address may have changed over time. It’s also worth going back through old communications as they might need some clarifications too.
As your solicitor reviews all of the information, they make sure to send over what you need. It includes but is not limited to:
A draft contract and date you are hoping to exchange contracts will include important details such as how much you would be buying it for and who else’s name might appear on the document with yours.
Deeds or property ownership documents that show any other names attached
An inventory form detailing anything in this home and fittings list if there are items within living space.
Lastly, leasehold information forms may come up depending on whether you’re purchasing a commercial, residential building, or leasehold property.
The lists can help avoid disputes so it’s best to look them both over carefully!
If you’re considering a house purchase, it’s absolutely crucial to read the contract produced by the conveyancing firm carefully. The contract includes tons of important details from legal work including:
- The purchase price (including taxes) and how this is calculated
- Your name as well as the name of the seller
- Any special conditions such as an inspection or home warranty.
They all are important in the conveyancing market before signing on the dotted line and proceeding to completion!
4. Ask Questions
Ask enough questions and legal advice until you are confident about what you’re doing. For example, be aware of the anti-money laundering checks guide, land registry search, stamp duty land tax, legal requirement, and drainage search.
If something doesn’t seem right in any way then don’t hesitate to ask a question and get reassurance from your solicitor. They will be able to explain and answer any queries before the process goes ahead.
5. Sign The Documents
Once you have finished reviewing all of your information, sign the documents ensuring that they are accurate and up-to-date in terms of the purchase price and land registry. Make sure that everything is signed by both yourself and a residential property solicitor or conveyancer if applicable!
You should also keep copies for your records in case anything happens later on down the line. It might not seem important now but it’ll come in handy at some point! The exchange of contracts will not be long now!
6. Organise Exchange Deposit
If you’re buying a property through an exchange scheme then make sure you organize a property transaction based on what has been agreed with your mortgage lender or conveyancing solicitor and third parties. The mortgage lenders and the formal mortgage offer are very important.
The deposit needs to be paid by your solicitor into their account within the agreed timeframe so that you’re ready to move in and complete your new property. Be sure to discuss the legal costs and conveyancing costs, land registry fees, and other fees beforehand.
7. Agree On A Completion Date
It’s really important not to miss any deadlines as it could have a big effect on how much money you’ll end up paying overall! Make sure an agreement is made about completion dates with both yourself and your solicitor.
Also, include whether or not there are any restrictions involved based on what you’ve found out from authority searches etcetera. The completion day needs to be written into the contract before the exchange of contracts.
8. Exchange Contracts
Exchange of contracts happens once all agreements have been signed off by everyone who was originally required to sign them. It means that you are legally bound to complete your property and take ownership of your new property! Congratulations, you’re finally getting closer to owning your own home with all the rights and responsibilities involved – now is the time to put the champagne on ice!
Before completion, your solicitor will produce a completion statement this will show the total costs of purchasing the property including conveyancing costs for the legal work carried out, legal fees and stamp duty.
9. Completion Process
Once completion has been agreed upon by everyone involved including yourself your conveyancing company and your seller and their conveyancing company, this is when everything switches over from being under contract into being owned outright and legal. You will receive keys if applicable before signing for the deeds giving you full possession of the property.
10. Register Change of Ownership
After completion has been agreed upon your conveyancer will need to register the change in ownership by filling out a “Change Of Title” document. The legal title will be available from your conveyancing solicitor. It’s worth noting that it can take up to six weeks for these documents to be processed and registered with all relevant authorities who might not suit everyone’s timelines but there are different ways around this if needed.
You’re now officially an owner of the property! Congratulations on making it through the conveyancing process successfully – hopefully without any major issues and fulfilling exactly what you need.
Conveyancing Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Conveyancing Take?
Conveyancing services can take any number of weeks depending on the complexity and number of transactions involved in the purchase. A short number of properties in your chain will usually be able to happen quicker than a chain with a lot of buyers and sellers.
It’s hard to give an approximate length as there are too many complex factors that could affect it, but generally speaking, it takes about 8 weeks. For example, it usually takes a month or two for solicitors to get all the paperwork ready and arrange for clearance. You also need to be aware that you’ll need at least 2-3 days for arrangements before completion (i.e., arranging meetings with different parties involved).
It typically takes 3 months to complete conveyancing – sometimes longer if anything goes wrong or has complicated legal implications.
How can you speed up conveyancing?
If you want to speed up the conveyancing process:
- Get in touch with your solicitor or licensed conveyancers for an update at every stage of the transaction.
- Provide acceptable evidence of ID as soon as possible and provide funds if requested.
- Get any lender’s special conditions and requirements dealt with promptly so they can release funds.
There is no need to wait until everything else has been signed off before actioning any of the above as quickly as possible. You will have to sign documents according to instructions given by your solicitor when necessary too, which should lead up to a successful conclusion faster.
Should I use free legals offered by my lender or my own solicitor?
When you are buying a home, it’s important to choose the right solicitor. The lender may offer ‘free legals’ as an additional service with their products but it may be worth paying your own solicitors legal fee as they are likely to proceed at a quicker pace.
It’s always best to speak with an independent professional of the conveyancing process who has experience working on property transactions so they know what sort of legal protection will suit your needs. It also makes them accountable for their work which is a benefit whichever way you look at it!
However, taking up free legal offered by someone else might seem like a good idea at first glance but could lead to more problems down the line should something go wrong during or after settlement day.
How much are the conveyancing fees along with legal fees?
The total cost of the process will depend on the complexity and number of transactions involved. Generally speaking, you will need to budget at least £1000 for a straightforward purchase.
If you are buying and selling a typical fee will be between £1500 and £2000+. The costs typically range based on the property type and complexities. It means that some cases are handled entirely online while others require a fairly substantial amount of paperwork that can end up being costly. A good example of this will be leasehold properties.
You find that leasehold properties will require a lot of extra work and therefore will come with additional fees.
We know how stressful and expensive moving home can be. This is why we have provided you with great advice as well as to help your next move go smoothly by providing you with a free, instant conveyancing quote.
All quotes are fixed fee which means that all of your legal fees are included in one price. We also offer a ‘No Move, No Legal Fee’ guarantee so if for any reason your property transaction falls through there is no charge for the legal fee.
Whether you’re selling or buying a property, our online conveyancing quote system can provide you with specialist property legal experts and licensed conveyancing solicitors. You will get given a list of firms that are dedicated to providing you with a fast, smooth and cost-effective conveyancing transaction.
New homeowners are easily swept up in the excitement of it all. Sometimes this excitement leads to overlooking property defects, which costs you as the new buyer in the long run. With a home surveyor by your side, you can ensure that you’re paying exactly what the property is worth. Need a surveyor to pay your new home a visit before signing the papers?
Get a list of competitve survey quotes below.
Get a conveyancing or survey quote in seconds!
No Obligation FREE Conveyancing Quotes
We work closely with a panel of conveyancing solicitors across England and Wales. Fill in the form and we will send you a no-obligation conveyancing quote for your property sale, purchase or both.
Our customer reviews make us blush 😊
We have many happy customers from across the majority of the UK. Take a moment to read our customer reviews below or alternatively visit our reviews page. We have thousands of reviews across our Google, Facebook, and Trustpilot pages.