Conveyancing Guide: What is Conveyancing?

Everything You Need to Know About the Conveyancing Process UK

A Practical Guide to Conveyancing

conveyancing guide

If you’re buying or selling a house, you’ll require a conveyancing solicitor. We have pulled together this helpful conveyancing guide with all the hints and tips you’ll need to understand the conveyancing process in the UK. 

For anyone who’s planning on moving house, conveyancing is by far one of the most complicated and confusing parts of the house-moving process. Here at SlothMove, we’re all too aware of how tricky it can be to get your head around conveyancing. That’s why we’ve compiled all our conveyancing advice into this beginners guide to conveyancing. 

This in-depth conveyancing guide will help you enjoy a super-smooth and cost-effective conveyancing process, with tips on what a conveyancer is, what they do, the conveyancing steps, conveyancing costs and much more. 

Whether you’re a first time buyer or an experienced home-owner, you’re sure to benefit from this up-to-date, practical guide to conveyancing as we answer all your essential questions. 

So, what are you waiting for? Read on to get the lowdown on the entire conveyancing process. 

This article covers

What is Conveyancing?

conveyancing guide

Conveyancing is the umbrella term that encompasses all of the legal and administrative work associated with buying a house. It covers the notoriously complicated process of transferring ownership of a property from one party to another. 

The conveyancing process is undertaken by property solicitors, or conveyancers. Conveyancers receive instruction once an offer has been made and accepted on a property. Following the successful offer, the property solicitors representing the seller and buyer will exchange details and begin the conveyancing process. 

Anyone considering remortgaging their property will also need to choose a conveyancer to complete the legal side of the house-buying process. 

Who Undertakes Conveyancing?

conveyancing guide

Almost always, the conveyancing process is completed by property solicitors working on behalf of the buyer and seller. Any solicitor in England and Wales has to be registered under the Law Society and must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

In more recent years, conveyancers have become especially popular for managing the legalities of moving house. These specialist solicitors are licensed and regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). 

While it is strongly advised that you use a conveyancer when moving home, homeowners are legally able to undertake conveyancing themselves. However, you should beware that the conveyancing process can be very complicated and pretty time consuming. 

We would advise opting for a conveyancer to handle your house move as their specialist legal knowledge may be required to overcome some more complex cases. This is especially important if problems arise with your house transaction – which isn’t unlikely. 

In addition, mortgage lenders are extremely keen to protect their investments and will often insist that you use a professional conveyancing service. This is to avoid the risk of the process falling through. 

What Should be Included in Conveyancing?

guide to conveyancing

The entire conveyancing process, on average, takes between 8 and 12 weeks. It is a fairly long, complex process with many steps involved. Here are the steps of conveyancing: 

Step 1: Instruction to exchange

The first step in the conveyancing process is instructing a conveyancing solicitor to help you sell or buy a house. This means that when you secure a buyer, they will be able to start the next step immediately. 

Step 2: Enquiries & conveyancing searches 

The next task for the seller’s solicitors is to obtain the certificate of ownership (title deeds), along with a lot of other information. Once they’ve got all the required details, they will prepare a contract for the sale of the property and will send it to the buyer’s solicitors. 

Meanwhile, the buyer’s solicitors will arrange conveyancing searches to ensure there are no adverse matters that the buyer should be aware of before making a commitment to purchase the property. 

Step 3: Mortgage approval and house survey 

Then, the buyer will apply for a mortgage and the mortgage lender will carry out a valuation of the property to ensure it’s worth the agreed sum. There are different types of house survey, such as a Home Buyer’s Survey or a more detailed Building Survey. 

Step 4: Signing the contract

As soon as the buyers’ conveyancers have received all the paperwork from the sellers’ solicitors, along with the search results and the buyers’ mortgage offer, they will send the buyers a written report to fully advise them about the property and discuss a number of issues, including: 

  • Buildings insurance 
  • Mortgage repayments 
  • Ownership options 
  • Deposit 
  • Money 
  • Wills 

Step 5: Exchange of contracts 

When the buyers’ and sellers’ conveyancers are satisfied that everything is in order, they will arrange the exchange of contracts. This is when you will agree on a moving date and insert it into the final contract. 

Step 6: Completion!

On completion day, the buyers’ conveyancers will transfer the funds to the seller’s conveyancers. In return, the buyer’s conveyancers will receive the legal transfer document, along with all the other relevant documentation for the property. 

Once the sellers have received the money for the property, they will authorise their estate agents to hand over the keys to the buyers. 

This is a rough guide to the conveyancing stages, but the process does not always run that smoothly. It is possible that you might experience a few delays and problems along the way e.g. planning permission, survey problems and unclear search results. 

How Much Does Conveyancing Cost?

conveyancing guide

No conveyancing guide would be complete without some discussion of how much conveyancing costs. 

The simple answer to ‘how much does conveyancing cost?’ is between £330 to £1050. That’s quite a wide range, we know. 

However, conveyancing fees do vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as: 

  • The type of conveyancer used (e.g. solicitors, online conveyancing, DIY conveyancing)
  • The price of the property you’re purchasing or remortgaging 

So, what’s included in these conveyancing fees? 

Well, a conveyancing quote tends to be made up of two distinct costs: 

  1. Basic Fee – covers the cost of the conveyancer’s time and varies depending on how they calculate the fee e.g. fixed-rate, per-hour, or based on the buying or selling price of the property.

  2. Disbursements – costs incurred by the conveyancer that are passed onto you. These should be similar across all conveyancing fees as they are fixed charges during the conveyancing process. 

A Guide to the Conveyancing Process

moving home checklist

Congratulations! Now you should be an expert in all things conveyancing. 

In this comprehensive conveyancing guide we’ve touched on everything there is to know about the conveyancing process. 

What is conveyancing? Who undertakes the conveyancing process? What’s included in conveyancing? How much does conveyancing cost? After reading our beginners guide to conveyancing, you should have all the answers. 

If you still require a little more information, though, just take a look at our handy conveyancing FAQs below. 

Frequently Asked Conveyancing Questions

Finding a good conveyancer isn’t easy and there are some less-than-reputable providers out there. Therefore, it is worth putting in some extra effort to find a professional and experienced conveyancer that will ensure the process is conducted as smoothly as possible. 

When trying to find a conveyancing solicitor, remember: 

  • Estate-agent recommended solicitors are often poor value 
  • Always choose a ‘no move no fee’ conveyancer 
  • Don’t just choose the cheapest service 
  • Always check your conveyancer is licensed by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers 

You should contact a solicitor as soon as you decide you’re going to move house. 

The seller’s estate agent will require details of your conveyancing solicitor soon after your house offer has been accepted. Therefore, you should contact a conveyancer as soon as possible. 

Contacting a solicitor sooner rather than later will leave you plenty of time to contact various different conveyancing providers until you find the best one based on cost and experience. 

No, you do not need a local conveyancer. 

Traditionally, local conveyancers were the go-to, largely because prospective clients tend to think that ‘local knowledge’ is essential to doing the conveyancing process properly. 

However, there is no need to limit your options to a pool of local solicitors. When choosing a conveyancing solicitor, you should shop around and find a specialist that will provide you with the service at a competitive price. 

Many reputable and experienced conveyancing companies do not have client-facing premises and so, today, the norm is for all correspondence to be handled via phone, post or email.

There are three main checks that conveyancers do once your offer has been accepted on a property. These searches include: 

  • Local authority search 
  • Environmental search 
  • Drainage search 

These conveyancing searches are required to satisfy your mortgage lender’s requirements and check that the property has been valued correctly. 

No, you don’t necessarily need a conveyancer before making an offer. However, it is advised that you employ a conveyancer from the very beginning of the house-buying process. 

Although you should instruct a conveyancer to start the conveyancing process as soon as your offer has been accepted, you can choose your conveyancer as soon as you start your property search.

Finding a conveyancer before making an offer will save you valuable time and will mean that your solicitor is ready to act as soon as you have your offer accepted.

Yes, normally. 

Conveyancers are usually cheaper than solicitors. While solicitors tend to deal with a complex mix of legal issues as well as the conveyancing process, such as providing specialised legal advice and dealing with problems that may arise later, conveyancers only handle the process of conveyancing. 

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