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What is Conveyancing?

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

17th May 2021 (Last updated on 20th May 2021) 5 minute read

Conveyancing is a required service when buying and selling a property. Many people may not be familiar with the process, especially if they're a first-time buyer. Conveyancing concerns the legal aspects of transferring property ownership.

Conveyancing will be carried out by a licensed conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor. The conveyancing process includes conducting property searches, exchanging contracts and finalising the sale. It’s a vital process to the transaction, ensuring it’s completed legally.

To help you with your research, Compare My Move has compiled the ultimate guide on everything you need to know about what conveyancing is. From what a conveyancer does, to how much conveyancing costs, we’ve included everything you need to know to help you through the process.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What Does a Conveyancer Do?
  2. How to Find a Conveyancer?
  3. What are Conveyancing Searches?
  4. What are Conveyancing Disbursements?
  5. How Long Does Conveyancing Take?
  6. Conveyancing Process for Buying a House
  7. Conveyancing Process for Selling a House
  8. How Much are Conveyancing Costs?
  9. What is Fixed Fee Conveyancing?
  10. What is No Sale No Fee Conveyancing?
  11. Learn More About Conveyancing

What Does a Conveyancer Do?

Your conveyancer will help take care of the legal side of buying and selling a house, with the ultimate goal being the transfer of ownership. They will ensure that the necessary documents and administrative duties are carried out. 

Main responsibilities include:

  • Apply for Local Authority, Environmental and Water and Drainage searches.
  • Apply for location-specific searches such as a mining search.
  • Apply for Land Registry searches.
  • Reviewing the Land Registry documents for the property and providing advice on the content.
  • Preparation of the contract.
  • Liaising with mortgage lenders and complying with their requirements.
  • Liaising with the seller/buyer’s conveyancer.
  • Making the contract legally binding on the seller and buyer, known as exchange of contracts.
  • Transfer or receive the sale price to facilitate completion of the transaction.

Find out more: What does a conveyancer do?

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How to Find a Conveyancer?

It’s important to use a regulated conveyancer or solicitor to ensure the process isn’t delayed and is done correctly. You should only ever use a licensed conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor that is regulated by the:

  • SRA
  • CLC
  • LSS
  • LSNI
  • CILEx

Rest assured, all partners with Compare My Move are regulated by these professional bodies. To find a trusted conveyancer, it’s important to compare conveyancing quotes with us.

Find out more: How to find a conveyancer?

What are Conveyancing Searches?

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

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

The searches will highlight any important issues going on in the area that could affect your property. There are other less common conveyancing searches available should you need them, such as a Mining Search, a Chancel Repair Search and a Flood Search.

Find out more: What are conveyancing searches?

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What are Conveyancing Disbursements?

Conveyancing disbursements are fees your conveyancer will pay on your behalf for third-party services. They are typically made up of:

  • Conveyancing searches
  • Stamp duty 
  • Land registry searches
  • Bankruptcy search

They will vary depending on whether you’re buying or selling a property, but your conveyancer will take care of it all. When you receive your conveyancing bill, it will be made up of the conveyancer’s legal fee and then the cost of disbursements.

Find out more: What are conveyancing disbursements?

How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

The conveyancing process will vary for everyone, depending on whether you’re in a property chain or not. Typically, the conveyancing process can take anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks from the point the sale is agreed.

If you are a first-time buyer or don't have a property to sell, this means you are chain-free and ultimately should experience a quicker conveyancing process than those who have to sell a house first. 

Find out more: How long does conveyancing take?

Conveyancing Process for Buying a House

The conveyancing process will begin once your offer has been accepted. You should instruct your conveyancer right away and they will send over paperwork to begin the process. The conveyancing process for buyers is as follows:

  • Conveyancer orders property searches
  • Will receive the draft contract
  • Your conveyancer will ask seller’s conveyancer pre-contract enquiries
  • You will agree on a completion date
  • Arrange deposit to be paid
  • Exchange contracts
  • Completion day

Find out more: Conveyancing process for buying a house

Conveyancing Process for Selling a House

If you're selling a property, once you’ve accepted an offer on your home, the conveyancing process will begin. The conveyancing process for sellers is as follows:

  • Fill out TA6 and TA10 forms 
  • Recieve draft contract
  • Answer questions raised by the buyer’s conveyancer
  • Exchange contracts
  • You will agree on a completion date
  • Receive final funds
  • Completion day

Find out more: Conveyancing process for selling a house

How Much are Conveyancing Costs?

The average conveyancing fees for buying a house are £1,040 and the average conveyancing fees for selling a house are £1,000. Conveyancing costs will vary, often depending on the cost of your house and the conveyancer you choose.

Below are the average conveyancing buying costs for the average price of a house, costing between £200,001 and £300,000 (not including stamp duty). It’s important to note that a variety of factors can influence your conveyancing costs. 

Conveyancing buying serviceCost of service

Legal Fee & VAT

£569

Conveyancing Searches

£290

Land Registry Searches

£6

Land Registry Registry Fee

£135

Telegraphic Transfer Fee

£40

Total

£1,040

 

These are the conveyancing selling costs for the average price of a house, costing between £200,001 and £300,000.

Conveyancing selling serviceCost of service

Legal Fee & VAT

£948

Anti-money Laundering Checks

£6

Land Registry Document Fee

£6

Telegraphic Transfer Fee

£40

Total

£1,000

Find out more: How much are conveyancing costs?

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What is Fixed Fee Conveyancing?

Fixed fee conveyancing is when a fixed price is agreed for your conveyancing process beforehand, it won’t change. It's common for a lot of UK conveyancers to operate a fixed fee service, but not all conveyancing solicitors will use it as some still work at an hourly rate.

A fixed-rate service, also known as fixed price or flat rate conveyancing, is often preferred by customers as it allows them to budget for the expected costs rather than to have an estimated amount with possible surprise costs added on.

Find out more: What is fixed fee conveyancing?

What is No Sale No Fee Conveyancing?

“No sale, no fee” conveyancing is a service offered by some conveyancers that means if the property sale or purchase falls through, you don’t have to pay for the conveyancer’s legal fee. It’s important to note, you might still have to pay for other third-party services such as the property searches and your surveyor.

Find out more: What is no sale no fee conveyancing?

Learn More About Conveyancing

This is the first article in our conveyancing guide. Next, we will explore what the role of a conveyancer is and what they must do to progress the process. To learn more read what does a conveyancer do? 

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 at RMNJ Solicitors, 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.