What is Conveyancing?

What is Conveyancing?
Mike Whitehead

Author: Mike Whitehead - Content Editor

Updated: December 4, 2023

If you’re buying a property, you are going to need a conveyancer. But what exactly do they do? And why is conveyancing required in the UK? Read on to find out everything you need to know in this short guide.

Conveyancing: in a nutshell

A conveyancer is a specialised property solicitor. The act of conveyancing is ensuring the legal transfer of a property from one party to another. Conveyancers are required by both parties to make sure their legal interests are looked after.

A buyer’s conveyancer will arrange for them to take control of the title deeds. So, their key task is to ensure the buyer legally becomes the owner of the property and its land, when contracts have been signed and funds have been deposited on completion day.

On the seller’s side, their conveyancer will make certain the proceeds of the sale are all deposited correctly upon exchange and completion.

The general tasks a conveyancer will carry out as part of the purchase and sale process include (but are not limited to):

  • Checkbox PurpleInstructing searches (asking local authorities or utility firms of any past issues)
  • Checkbox PurpleDraft, agree and check contracts
  • Checkbox PurpleCommunicating with mortgage lenders
  • Checkbox PurpleStamp duty payments
  • Checkbox PurpleLand registry transfers

This list is far from exhaustive and often a conveyancer will be required to do far more – such as confirming the source of a deposit or arranging purchases through a special government scheme, such as Help To Buy, for example.

Why do you need conveyancing?

It’s basically a legal requirement if you want to buy a house. And whilst, technically speaking, it’s possible to carry out the work yourself, most (if not all) mortgage providers will require you to instruct a fully qualified conveyancer. They do so to lower the risk – for both you and your lender – that no mistakes are made during the purchase

An experienced conveyancer can help highlight any issues with a property that perhaps you might miss, before you buy it. For example, their searches may identify past or potential issues with subsidence or any boundary disputes that your would-be property is involved in.

How much does conveyancing cost?

There is no single answer to this. The fees you are charged will not necessarily be dependent on the purchase price of the property. The legal work required and effort involved could be the same for a multi-million pound property as with a starter home.

Instead, conveyancers all charge or structure their fees differently and every house sale is different too. The costs of conveyancing can therefore vary dramatically – irrespective of the purchase price.

The more complex your house sale, the more your conveyancing fees are likely to cost. Your conveyancer will require payment for the time they have put into your property purchase, so the more involvement needed from them, the more you will have to pay. They will charge for services such as searches, any calls they have to make, any documentation they have to draw up or for Land Registry administration.

How to choose a conveyancer

Given the importance of conveyancing, and the subsequent costs, it is vital to know how to choose the right one for your needs.

Before instructing a conveyancer, therefore, it is a good idea to:

You can do this easily online by looking at past reviews or any ratings they have received on various comparison websites.

As mentioned above, conveyancers all structure their fees differently. Before instructing a solicitor, ask them how they charge and for what. Be clear on what they include as standard in their fees and what is extra. While this may not give you an exact quote for your final conveyancing costs, you will have a better idea of what a conveyancer will eventually charge you.

Not every conveyancing firm will assign you a dedicated point of contact for your case. These are known as case handlers and, while not necessary, they can be helpful when trying to contact your firm for an update or with any questions.

Finding a conveyancer is therefore tricky at times. The brokers we work with can help with appointing one they know to be of high quality and reliable.

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