Get the Best Conveyancing Quotes by Understanding the Process

What is Conveyancing?

It is the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property from one person to another.

Once an offer is accepted, your conveyancing solicitor will ensure all relevant contracts are signed and money transfers are completed.

Conveyancing should be undertaken by specialist conveyancing solicitors or licensed conveyancers. They act on behalf of a buyer or seller.

Solicitors in England and Wales should be registered with the Law Society and regulated by the Solicitors Regulations Authority (SRA). Conveyancers need to be licensed and regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own societies; the Law Society of Scotland and the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

A Quick Note

To choose your local Conveyancing Solicitor you must compare both conveyance fee and the quality of service. Whether buying, selling or remortgaging your home, you want the legal process managed as quickly as possible. Quality of service comes before cheap, low cost fees. Use our comparison tool to compare quotes and find a conveyancing solicitor.

Why Do I Need Conveyancing?

Buying, selling or re-mortgaging a property, requires a licenced Conveyancing Solicitor to meet the necessary legal requirements. They will oversee the transfer of deeds to ensure that no legal issues arise.

Some mortgage lenders require you to use a conveyancing solicitor on their managed panel. You can compare quotes for panel solicitors by using our online comparison tool.

Should I Use Fixed Price Conveyancing?

Look for a solicitor that offers you a fixed fee quote. This way you know the exact legal fees you will pay if you are selling, buying or remortgaging your property.

What Will My Conveyancing Quote Include?

Your local conveyancing solicitor quote will include basic fees, disbursements and expenses. Basic fees are the general solicitors fees. Disbursements and expenses are costs that are incurred and passed onto you.

-These might include:
-Local Authority Searches
-Stamp Duty Land Tax
-Land Registry
-Environmental and Local Searches.
-Expenses have VAT added and include; electronic ID verification, telegraphic transfers and shared ownership issues or new build properties.

Use our Stamp Duty Calculator to discover Stamp Duty costs.

Our Simple Guide to Understanding the Conveyancing Process.

The following is our general guide to the conveyancing procedure when buying a property. If you are new to conveyancing or have any questions on specific issues please contact us. We will arrange for one of our solicitors to call you and they can help you through the conveyancing process.

First Steps

  1. Firstly  you need to instruct a conveyancer to take on your purchase/sale. Use the helpful tools on this site to find the best conveyancer for you.
  2. Your conveyancer of choice will draw up a draft contract, known as terms of engagement. It sets out their charges and deposits required.
  3. Your conveyancer will write to your seller’s solicitor to confirm they are instructed. They will request a copy of the draft contract plus any other details, such as the title  deeds and other standard forms.
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Legal Work

Your conveyancer will examine the draft contract and supporting documents. Any queries will be raised with the seller’s conveyancer. You must to go through the forms the seller has completed. Raise any queries or concerns with your solicitor. Check the tenure of your new home: is it leasehold or freehold? If  it is leasehold, you must check the length of the lease yourself. Leases below 80 are problematic and can be costly to extend. You need to have owned the property for 2 years before you are eligible to do so. It is best to avoid leases of under 60 years.

Property Searches

The conveyancer will do a set of legal searches to ensure there are no other factors to be aware of. Some searches will be recommended by the solicitor for all purchases. Others will be required by the mortgage lender to protect them from any liabilities. We have grouped these searches into a comprehensive search pack covering England and Wales. A single all inclusive price which includes:

      • Local authority searches: Search the local area for any plans that will affect the value or condition of your property. For example, plans for a motorway being built through your back garden.  This costs between £70 and £400 depending on the Local Authority and usually takes 1-2 weeks, but can take up to 6 weeks.
      • Checking the ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’ at the Land Registry: these are the legal documents proving the seller’s ownership. The title register check costs £3 and the title plan check costs £3. Both are legally required to sell.
      • Checking flood risk: this can also done at the Land Registry. If you are getting an Environmental Search it may be included in that.
      • Water authority searches: this investigates how you get your water and if any public drains on the property might affect extensions or building works. This will cost between £50 and £75.
      • Chancel repair search: checks for potential leftover medieval liabilities on the property to help pay for church repairs. This is a necessity and costs £18. You may choose to take out Chancel repair insurance instead for £20 or so. The laws around Chancel repair changed in October 2013 so the onus is on the Church to establish and lodge liability with the Land Registry.
      • Environmental Search: this report is nearly always made on property transactions. It is provided by either Landmark or Groundsure.  Depending which product your solicitor uses, the report will give information on,- Contaminated Land in or around the Property
        – Landfill Sites
        – Former and Current Industry
        – Flooding Predictions
        – Radon Gas Hazard
        – Ground Stability Issues and other related information.
        – This costs approx £50 to £60 including VAT.

Optional and location specific searches: extra searches needed or recommended. This depends on the location or type of property or due to particular concerns raised by the buyer.  These could include:

      • Tin Mining searches in Cornwall
      • Mining searches in various parts of the UK and Cheshire Brine searches
      • Additional Local Authority Questions such as Public Paths, Pipelines, Noise Abatement Zones, Common Land, etc.

Your Mortgage

Ideally your mortgage offer will be in place prior to making an offer on the property. You must ensure you have the financing available for a mortgage deposit. Your conveyancer will receive a copy of the offer and go through the conditions.

You will need to get a mortgage valuation. It’s carried out on behalf of the mortgage company so they know the property provides sufficient security for the loan. You have to pay for it unless included in the mortgage company fee. Mortgage companies include it in the fee to attract business.

You may have any other necessary surveys done depending on your specific circumstances.

Before exchange of contracts is made, your lender will require you to get Buildings Insurance for your new home. You are responsible for the property as soon as contracts are exchanged.

mortgage offer
signing contracts - house purchase

Signing Contracts

After receiving the draft contract from the sellers solicitor, your solicitor will communicate with you what is involved. Before you sign, your solicitor will need to ensure:

All enquiries have been returned satisfactorily .
All the fixtures and fittings included, are what was agreed.
A completion date has been agreed between both parties. This is usually 4 to 12 weeks after exchange of contracts
Arrangements have been made to transfer the deposit into your solicitors account, so that it clears in time for exchange. Different mortgages require a different percentage of mortgage as a deposit. Even if you pay less than 10% you are still liable for 10% of the value of the property if you later pull out of the agreement. Therefore if you pay a 5% deposit and pull out of buying the property you will not only lose your deposit but also legally owe an additional 5% of the value of the property.

Exchanging Contracts

You and the buyer/seller will agree on a date and time to exchange contracts at any time on any given day

Your conveyancer will exchange contracts for you. Usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers reading out the contracts over the phone (which is recorded) to make sure they are identical.  They are immediately sent to one another in the post.

If you are in a chain the process is the same. Only if all the other people in the chain are all happy to go ahead. This means if one person pulls out or delays, then everyone in the chain gets held up.

Once you have exchanged contracts you will be in a legally binding contract to buy the property with a fixed date for moving. This means that:

If you do not complete the purchase, you will lose your deposit. If the deposit was less than 10% you will owe the seller more.
The seller has to sell or you can sue them
The seller can no longer accept another offer (you don’t need to worry about being gazumped)

Exchange Contracts
signing-contracts

Between Exchange and Completion

Your solicitor will lodge an interest in the property which will mean that the deeds to the property are frozen for 30 working days. This allows you to pay the seller and lodge your application to the Land Registry to transfer the deeds into your name.

The solicitor will send you a statement showing the final figure to pay. It needs to be cleared into your solicitor’s bank account at least one day before completion.

On Completion Day

Completion is normally around midday on the specified date. In practice takes place when the seller’s solicitor confirms that they have received all the money that is due. Once this happens the seller should drop the keys at the estate agents for your collection. You can then move in.

After Completion

Your solicitor will tie-up some loose ends:

Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf.
Send documents to the Land Registry
You receive your legal documents around 20 days after completion
Send a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage lender. They stay here until you pay your loan off
Notify the freeholder if the property is leasehold
Send you a bill.

title deeds

Why Compare with Conveyancing Supermarket?

All our conveyancing solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers are regulated and credit checked
We can save you money compared to other conveyancing sources.
You won’t receive annoying marketing calls. You call them at a time that suits you.
We will provide the details of all the solicitors that match your criteria. You can contact them when you like.

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