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What is Conveyancing? A Step by Step Guide of the Entire Process

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

19th Feb 2020 (Last updated on 27th Apr 2022) 3 minute read

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership when buying and selling property.

You might not be familiar with the process, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. That’s why we’ve created this guide that features all you need to know about the conveyancing process.

  1. How to Choose a Conveyancer or Solicitor?
  2. How Long Does Conveyancing Take?
  3. What are Conveyancing Searches?
  4. How Much are Conveyancing Fees?
  5. How Do I Exchange Contracts?
  6. What Happens on Completion Day?

How to Choose a Conveyancer or Solicitor?

A good conveyancer or solicitor will help to avoid potential delays in the process. Here’s how to find the best conveyancer or solicitor.

  • Compare My Move - We already have a network of conveyancers and solicitors ready to help with your move.
  • Recommendations - Ask family and friends for recommendations as you know you can trust them.
  • Mortgage Provider's Panel - Although they will likely receive a fee, your mortgage provider will have a list of recommended conveyancers and solicitors they work closely with.
  • Accreditations - You should only ever hire a licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor that is regulated by the following; SRA, CLC, LSS, LSNI or CILEx

Learn More

Still curious? Click here to learn about choosing a conveyancer or solicitor

How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

The conveyancing process usually takes between 8 and 12 weeks from the point the buyer’s conveyancer receives the contract paperwork supplied by the seller’s conveyancer. It can be quicker or take longer, it all depends upon the individual property and the personal circumstances of all the parties involved.

Once you’ve instructed your conveyancer, they will order searches once the contract paperwork arrives from the seller’s conveyancer.

  • Arranging a mortgage - 4 weeks
  • Conveyancing searches - 2-6 weeks
  • Exchanging contracts to completion - 1-2 week
  • Total average time - 8-12 weeks
    Learn More

    Still curious? Click here to learn about how long conveyancing will take

    What are Conveyancing Searches?

    Conveyancing searches are an important part of the process for buyers and are made up of 3 main searches:

    • Local Authority Search
    • Environmental Search
    • Water and Drainage Search

    The searches will highlight property specific issues in the area that could affect your property. Less common conveyancing searches include Mining, Chancel Repair and Flood.

    Learn More

    Still curious? Click here to learn about conveyancing searches

    How Much are Conveyancing Fees?

    The average conveyancing fees for buying a house are £1,040 and the average cost for selling is £1,000.

    The final fee will be made up of the conveyancer’s legal fee and disbursements such as searches and land registry fees.

    Conveyancing ServiceBuying CostsSelling Costs

    Solicitor’s legal fee



    Search pack



    Transfer ownership with Land Registry



    Bank transfer fee



    Anti money laundering checks



    Title deeds copy



    Learn More

    Still curious? Click here to learn about conveyancing fees

    How Do I Exchange Contracts?

    Exchanging contracts is a process undertaken by both conveyancers via a telephone call. Contracts are exchanged to make the sale legally binding and during this process the completion date will be set.

    Exchange of contracts takes place at the end of the conveyancing process once the buyer has paid the deposit. It shouldn't take longer than a couple of hours to do this.

    Learn More

    Still curious? Click here to learn more about exchanging contracts

    What Happens on Completion Day?

    Completion day is the final step in the conveyancing process and typically happens between 7 and 28 days after exchanging contracts. The money is transferred to the seller so the buyer can receive the keys to the property.

    It's important to be easy to contact on completion day so you know when to pick up the keys. Once the payment has been received, completion has legally taken place. The buyer will then receive the keys to their new house. The buyer is now the official owner of the property and can move in.

    Learn More

    Still curious? Click here to learn more about completion day

    Martha Lott

    Written by Martha Lott

    Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

    Gareth Brooks

    Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

    Solicitor and Partner, RMNJ Solicitors

    With 19 years of experience in the residential conveyancing industry, Gareth Brooks is a partner and head of management for the conveyancing department at RMNJ Solicitors.

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