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What Is Conveyancing?

A step-by-step guide to the conveyancing process

5 min read
Updated: 04 Apr 2024

You cannot buy your first home or any other property without going through conveyancing. But what is conveyancing exactly? It’s the legal process involving the transfer of property ownership titles from one person to another. Read ahead to learn more.

What is Conveyancing?

The term conveyancing refers to all the legal and administrative work associated with transferring the ownership of land or buildings from one person to another. Conveyancing is the legal tapestry that binds the buyer and seller in the property market. It's a term that encompasses all the legal and administrative tasks required to transfer ownership of land or buildings from one person to another. The conveyancing journey begins the moment an offer on a property is accepted and only ends when the final contracts are signed and the funds have been transferred to complete the purchase.

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Who Does My Conveyancing?

You have a few options when it comes to who will handle your conveyancing. A solicitor, property lawyer, or a licensed conveyancer can all do the job. In the digital age, online conveyancers have emerged as a cost-effective alternative, sometimes offering their services for as little as £500. While all solicitors are technically qualified to manage conveyancing, it's often wise to choose someone with a specialization in residential property transactions for that extra peace of mind. Additionally, if you're working with a mortgage lender, they may have a preferred list of conveyancers, and stepping outside this list could mean incurring extra fees.

What Exactly Will a Solicitor/Conveyancer Do for Me?

A solicitor or conveyancer is your legal guide through the property maze. They will:

  • Conduct thorough searches with local authorities and utility companies to unearth any potential issues such as planning permissions, sewers, flood risks, and outstanding financial liabilities.

  • Break down the "incurred costs" for you, including stamp duty, and go through the seller's contracts, clarifying the sale price and property boundaries.

  • Work closely with your mortgage lender, ensuring all the necessary information is provided.

  • At the final stage, they'll handle the payment of all related fees on your behalf and ensure you're registered as the new property owner with the Land Registry.

How Much Will It Cost?

Conveyancing costs can be as varied as the properties themselves, and they're not always directly related to the size or price of the property. On average, you might expect to pay around £850 for conveyancing on a property purchase, which includes the conveyancer's fees, communication costs, council searches, and Land Registry fees. Online conveyancers might offer you a cheaper rate, and some solicitors provide a no-completion, no-fee service. It's also possible to agree on a fee upfront with some solicitors, but be aware that additional charges may apply if the process hits unexpected snags.

How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

Conveyancing doesn't have a one-size-fits-all timeline. It can vary widely from case to case. If all the stars align and everything proceeds without a hitch, the process can take as little as six to eight weeks from the offer stage to completion. However, if you find yourself in a complicated chain of buying and selling, prepare for the process to take longer.

Can I Do My Own Conveyancing?

While it's technically possible to take the DIY route with conveyancing, it's a path fraught with potential pitfalls. The complexity of the process and the risk of making serious mistakes, like overlooking a boundary dispute or dealing with sellers who don't have the legal right to sell, make professional conveyancing the safer choice. This is particularly true for first-time homebuyers. Moreover, most mortgage lenders will insist on a solicitor or conveyancer to safeguard their interests.

Is Conveyancing Necessary When Remortgaging?

Undertaking conveyancing when you remortgage depends on your personal circumstances. Generally, though, you may not need a solicitor or conveyancer if you’re remortgaging with your current mortgage lender. That said, it’s always wise to get in touch with a solicitor or conveyancer to prevent any unwanted mishaps down the line, especially in more complicated scenarios.

If you’re switching mortgage lenders, then free legal advice might be part of their package and offering. Make sure to check their terms and conditions to find out what is included in their policy.

Compare Conveyancing Options with MoneySuperMarket

Buying or selling a property is a significant undertaking, with various legal and bureaucratic phases to navigate. MoneySuperMarket recognizes the complexity of this process and offers a helping hand by comparing the market for the best conveyancing deals. Whether you're looking for affordability, expertise, or convenience, MoneySuperMarket can help you find options tailored to your individual needs, requirements, and budget.

Embarking on a property transaction is a momentous occasion, and while the road may seem daunting, the right conveyancing support can smooth out the bumps along the way. With this guide, you're better equipped to make informed decisions and take confident steps toward your new home or successful sale.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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