Need help buying a home?
Read this guide to see if a conveyancer could be useful to you.

Last updated: 27/10/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Conveyancing explained

Moving home is considered one of the more stressful processes in life as it’s often time consuming and requires you to make several important decisions. The process can be made easier by choosing a good conveyancer who will handle a lot of the legal legwork and save you a lot of stress. This guide will explain what conveyancing means, how to find one and how to make the most out of your conveyancer. 

In This Guide:

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process that takes place to allow the transfer of land or a building from one person to another. This begins once an offer has been accepted and is completed when the final contracts have been signed and payments have been finalised.

The person usually tasked with this process is a licensed conveyancer or a solicitor who will deal with several different elements. Once you have found a conveyancer you can let your estate agent know that they are acting on your behalf.

What will my conveyancer do?

  • Local Searches: Your conveyancer organises local searches on the property which will find out whether the building is listed or whether there are new developments planned in the area, as well as any potential local land charges.
  • Handling Contracts: A key role your conveyancer will play is in the handling of contracts. The conveyancer will organise the transfer of contracts between the buyer and the seller, making sure all the required documents are signed, sending legal documents to the land registry and sending a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage provider.  
  • Land Registry Checks: Your conveyancer will carry out a land registry check to confirm that the seller is actually the owner of the property.  
  • Transferring of Funds: After contracts have been signed you will transfer your deposit to your conveyancer who will exchange contracts. This makes the deal legally binding.
  • Stamp Duty: If you are required to pay any Stamp Duty Land tax, then your conveyancer will deal with this in addition to transferring the mortgage money to the seller.

How to find a conveyancer

Usually your estate agent will recommend a conveyancer but beware that this recommendation will usually reflect a business relationship between the two rather than a guarantee of quality service. It’s usually better to find one yourself, this can be done through looking through reviews online or if you know someone who has recently moved you could ask them for a recommendation.  

It’s important to make sure whoever you choose is regulated, so if they are a solicitor, they will need to be a member of the Law Society while conveyancers must join the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.   

Another option is online conveyancing, this has become increasingly popular in recent years. Rather than meeting up in person you will usually only communicate with them via phone and email. Whilst this can usually be cheaper and convenient, you will often be dealing with a team of staff rather than an individual conveyancer.

How much should a conveyancer cost?  

Conveyancing services are most commonly charged as a fixed fee but can sometimes be an hourly rate or a percentage of the property prices. A typical fixed fee for a full conveyancing service starts at around £800 and can be as high as £2,000. This will usually vary depending on the cost of the property and whether there is any extra work entailed.

It’s important to check whether the price you’re offered includes VAT and whether there are any extra fees. It’s also possible to find a conveyancer with a no-completion, no-fee service which will help save you money in the event of the sale falling through.

A solicitor will typically be more expensive than a standard conveyancer as they can offer a wider range of legal services, although these will rarely be required in most cases.

Always try to shop around as much as possible and get quotes from several different conveyancers. It’s also useful to try and get a cost breakdown for each part of the process.

Can I do my own conveyancing?

An alternative is to do your own conveyancing, but the process is highly complicated, and problems can quickly arise if mistakes are made. Unless you have a professional background in conveyancing or law it would usually be recommended to use a professional.  

Getting the most out of your conveyancer

A conveyancer can make the process of moving to a new house much easier but only if you make good use of them. As soon as you have found your conveyancer ask them for the full range of services and searches, they can carry out on your behalf, you want to find out as much information as possible about your future property.

Make sure to check in with them for regular updates or to ask how far you are along with the current step of the process. A pro-active conveyancer can also speed up the process by reassuring the seller ensuring there are no delays in the process.

Your conveyancer will only see the legal documents for the property and not the property itself, so if you have any questions relating to future planning permission or potential local restrictions make sure to ask them.