Guide to Property Conveyancing

If you are buying or selling a house you will need to instruct a conveyancer. This might be a solicitor or licenced conveyancer who will deal with the legal processes. Our conveyancing guide takes you step by step through the process.

Conveyancing Services


Before you decide on instructing a conveyancer you must ensure that the conveyancing firm is licensed to practice. At Nationwide Conveyancing ALL conveyancers on our panel are fully licensed to practise. Also by entering the mortgage lender details when comparing quotes will ensure only conveyancers listed on that particular lenders panel will be shown.



What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal administrative process to transfer the owership of a property from one party to another. Conveyancing must be undertaken to ensure that the property sale or purchase is legally valid.

Who deals with Conveyancing?

Conveyancing should only be undertaken by licensed conveyancers or solicitors who act on behalf of the buyer and seller of the property. If using a Licensed Conveyancer they are licensed and regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers or if using a solicitor this will generally be one that specialises in conveyancing.

Property owners can also handle conveyancing if they so wish, however lenders would insist that a licensed conveyancer or solicitor is used. You may also find that the buyer of your property insists on this also.

What does a Conveyancing Quote include?

A conveyancing quote will include:

1. Basic Legal Fee for handling the case.

2. Disbursements. These are costs incurred by the conveyancer and then passed onto you. These are all itemised on our quotes and may include:-

Land Registry - This is the charge levied by the Land Registry Office to regisiter the legal owner of the property.

Stamp Duty - This is the tax payable to the Government when purchasing a property.

Telegraphic Transfer - This is the charge made by the bank to transfer the funds between bank accounts.

HMLR Final Search - Final Search charge made by Her Majesty's Land Registry

Other Searches - These can include Enviromental, Mining, Water and Drainage, Local Authority, Chancel, Bankruptcy searches.

Electronic ID Checks - Veryfying the ID of the clients

There may also be other charges made depending on each particular case, however these would all be itemised on a quote, with the exception of leasehold properties, where the landlord is likely to charge a Lessor's Registration Fee. This fee is NOT included within quotes for leasehold properties as it is at the landlord's discretion and cannot be known without first contacting the landlord, after instruction has been made.

How long does the Conveyancing process take?

Generally the whole process takes about 3 months, but when buying at auction it needs to be completed within 4 weeks. If you are neededing a speedy completion you will need to advise the Conveyancer immediately you have instructed them so that they are aware of the smaller timescale.

What are the stages in Conveyancing?

There are three main stages to go through before you finally can move in or out of your property.

1. Pre-exchange of contracts

Once you have instructed your conveyancer or solicitor you will be required to give these details to your estate agents. The conveyancer will then contact the sellers solicitors to obtain a draft contract. This will include details of the seller, details of property price, details of any fixtures and fittings included in the sale and details of the title deeds.

At this stage you will need to arrange for a mortgage if you require funds, and if buying a property.

Once the mortgage is approved arrange to have your own survey done if required, as the mortgage company generally look at theirs for valuation purpoeses and not condition of property. As a rule of thumb, a homebuyers report, which can be included at the same time as the mortgage valuation, is suitable for properties up to 100 years old and any older than this you should consider a full buildings survey.

Solicitors for both sides will agree on the contents of the contract, this will include information about the deposit if there is one. You should request a copy of this and take time to look over the drafted contract to make sure that anything you may have verbally agreed with the vendor is included. It will be at this early stage that any disagreable issues should be ironed out. Your conveyancer will want to make sure that the current owner is lawfully able to sell the property on to you, or that you can lawfully sell a property.

Searches will then be carried out. The most important searches are those through the local authority as they will determine the likelihood of any major changes in the local area such as road building or the development of a new housing estate nearby.

2. Exchange of contracts

At this stage you will be required to hand over a deposit, generally this will be a minimum of 10%. The initial 10% deposit would be lost and paid to the vendor if the sale fails to complete after exchange of contracts. You will then also be required to forward any additional deposit that will be required to make any shortfall between the purchase price and your mortgage and any stamp duty due.

Your conveyancer will send the deposit to the seller's conveyancer and arrange to swap signed contrcats.

Please note that you must have buildings insurance on risk for the property prior to exchange of contracts, since you are then liable for the building at this point.

3. Exchange to Completion

Your conveyancer will now prepare the transfer deed, which you will be required to sign. This will then be sent to the sellers conveyancer/solicitor. Finances will be requested from your lender or from you if paying cash.

4. Completion

On the day of completion your conveyancer will either send the monies to the sellers conveyancer or request the funds if you are selling a property. This will be minus the initial deposit paid at exchange. Title deeds will be sent to your conveyancer who will forward these to your lender if they have provided finance or you if you were a cash buyer. The conveyancer will have also ensured that any outstanding mortgages on the property have been cleared prior to completion.You will then be able to collect your keys and move in.

You will then receive a statement of completion from your conveyancer itemising the charges.