What is Conveyancing?
04 September 2022
Conveyancing is the legal process of buying and selling a property and conveyancers are a vital part of that process.
In this guide, we will explain everything about the conveyancing process, how much it could cost and what you can do to keep everything on track.
What does a conveyancer do?
A conveyancer ensures all legal aspects of buying or selling a property are taken care of, including protecting the legal rights of buyers and sellers and assisting with the transfer of funds.
Your conveyancer will play a key role from day one of your property sale or purchase and the tasks they complete on your behalf are as follows:
Starting a paperwork file
One of the first tasks a conveyancer will carry out is collecting and compiling crucial documentation for your purchase or sale.
This file will include:
- Proof of your identification
- Proof of address
- Bank details
- Details of the property you’re selling or buying
- Your estate agent’s details
- Your mortgage lender’s details
- Details of your deposit if buying
- Details of the conveyancer’s terms and fees
Property title checks
Your conveyancer will check the title deeds of the property you’re selling and the one you’re buying.
They will also establish whether the property being purchased is freehold or leasehold.
Local searches are one of the most important tasks your conveyancer will carry out.
These searches can reveal problems with the property you’re buying or the land surrounding it so you can decide if you want to go ahead with the purchase.
Local searches your conveyancer will carry out include:
- Local authority searches stating planning permission, restrictions, road maintenance responsibilities etc
- Land Registry searches, which prove who owns the property you’re buying
- Environmental searches, which show if the property us built on contaminated land or on potentially unstable ground
- Water authority searches, highlighting any public drains on the property
- Chancel repair searches, which will show if the property comes with liability for repairing any local churches
Searches usually take around two-to-three weeks to complete but can take longer depending on how busy the local authority is.
Contract, progression and legal forms
Working alongside seller or buyer’s conveyancer, your conveyancer will draft your contract and progress your purchase or sale.
If you’re selling, your conveyancer will send your buyer’s conveyancer your property’s title deeds and ask you to complete several key forms including the TA6 property information form, the TA10 fixtures and fittings form and the TA7 leasehold information form.
If you are purchasing with a mortgage, your conveyancer will work with your lender to obtain a copy of your mortgage offer.
Once both the seller and buyer contracts are fully drafted, both conveyancers will begin to discuss possible dates to exchange contracts and then complete the transaction.
Exchange and completion
Once your contracts are completed and all other searches and queries are complete, your conveyancer will exchange contracts with your buyer or seller’s conveyancer.
Usually, this is done over the phone and makes your sale or purchase legally binding.
Can I do my own conveyancing?
It is legally possible for you to do your own conveyancing when buying or selling a property. However, it is a very rare specialist role that should only be carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
If key parts of the conveyancing process such as searches aren’t completed correctly, legal problems can occur later.
If you are buying with a mortgage, it’s likely your lender will insist all legal work is carried out by a professional.
Professional conveyancers are also covered by insurance.
How much does conveyancing cost?
Standard conveyancing fees cost anything from £700-£2,500, depending on the value and complexity of the property being sold or purchased.
Along with standard conveyancing fees, you may be required to pay disbursement charges on top.
Disbursements are tasks like local searches, bankruptcy checks and ID verification. These could add around £300 to £400 to your total bill.
Who pays conveyancing fees?
Buyers and sellers pay conveyancing fees, although the exact amounts may vary depending on:
- How complicated the process is
- Whether both parties are buying and selling at the same time
- The value of the properties being purchased or sold