Conveyancing Solicitors

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What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing refers to the legal process of transferring a property’s title deeds from a seller to a buyer. It is often described as the ‘legal side’ of a property sale or purchase, as it involves all the paperwork required to ensure the transfer of a home’s ownership is valid.

The conveyancing process will start as soon as an offer has been accepted on a property. It will end when the final contracts have been exchanged and signed, and all the money involved in the sale has been transferred.

It’s up to you to appoint your conveyancer or solicitor. So it’s always best to have an idea of which firm you’d like to use before making an offer, or accepting one if you’re selling a property.

We work with reputable conveyancing solicitors and conveyancers who can help you with:

What do conveyancing solicitors do?

Conveyancing solicitors and conveyancers are ultimately responsible for making sure your house sale or purchase is legally binding. They deal with the contractual elements of the transaction, as well as liaising with estate agents, the Land Registry and HRMC (if Stamp Duty is applicable).

They’ll also:

  • Arrange property searches with the local authority
  • Deal with other solicitors involved in the property chain
  • Raise any queries, such as those involving boundary disputes
  • Arrange the exchange of contracts
  • Send you all the necessary paperwork
  • Exchange signed contracts with the seller’s buyer or solicitor
  • Transfer or receive the deposit funds
  • Request payment from the mortgage lender
  • Send title deeds to the mortgage lender

Depending on your circumstances, your conveyancing solicitors could end up doing more than what we’ve listed here. This might apply if you’re involved in a more complicated property transaction, such as a leasehold sale.

How much does conveyancing cost?

This will largely depend on whether you’re buying or selling a property.

If you’re buying a home, the cost of conveyancing could be up to £3,000, including any disbursements (fees that need to be paid upfront) – such as HM Land Registry fees and property searches. But the legal fees for selling a house are slightly lower, typically falling between £610 and £950.

There are other factors that could impact conveyancing fees, too. These include:

  • Whether the property is leasehold or freehold
  • The price of the property
  • If it is a shared ownership property
  • If you’re using a conveyancer rather than a conveyancing solicitor
  • If you’re using an online conveyancer (this will often be cheaper, but you may not receive the same level of support)

We understand that the costs involved with buying or selling a house can seem intimidating. But your solicitor or conveyancer will explain their fees to you at the very start of the process. So there will be no nasty surprises further down the line.

Is a conveyancer the same as a solicitor?

This a commonly asked question, and the answer is no. While conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors carry out very similar roles, they are not one and the same.

Conveyancing solicitors are registered with the Law Society and will often have training in different areas of law, outside of conveyancing. Conveyancers are also legally trained, but they can only assist with conveyancing and property law.

It’s usually cheaper to instruct a conveyancer than a solicitor. But which one is right for you will depend on the complexity of your sale or purchase. If you suspect there may be legal issues that arise, it might be best to use the services of a solicitor.

How long does conveyancing take?

The entire conveyancing process – from the moment an offer is made on a house to the keys being picked up – typically takes up to three months. But this isn’t a guarantee, and every instance of conveyancing is different.

For example, if you’re involved in a particularly long property chain, the process of conveyancing could take longer. This is because you’ll be relying on other people to complete on their property transactions before yours can go through.

You’ll also be reliant on the efficiency of local authorities, the Land Registry and mortgage lenders – to name just a few. It will be up to your conveyancer or solicitor to communicate with each of these parties, minimising delays wherever possible.

Can I speed up the conveyancing process?

There are a number of things you can do to ensure there are no unnecessary delays during the conveyancing process, including:

  • Having your documents ready
    Your solicitor or conveyancer will ask you for certain documents, including your ID and proof of where your deposit funds have come from. Getting everything you need together will help to reduce any potential delays.
  • Disclosing a gifted deposit
    If you received your deposit – either the full amount of part of it – as a gift from a loved one, make sure your conveyancer knows this. Your solicitor will likely ask you for proof of where the funds have come from, too, usually through bank statements.
  • Returning signed paperwork promptly
    Make sure you get all the necessary documentation signed and returned to your solicitor as quickly as you’re able to. It could stall the process if you don’t.
  • Paying for property searches upfront
    This will let your conveyancer or solicitor progress things without having to wait for payment, and you won’t have to pay for the searches later on.

Most importantly, you should try to work closely with your conveyancer or solicitor. If they ask you for something, try to act as quickly as possible. This will help to ensure that things keep moving along at a good pace.

Can conveyancing be done without a solicitor?

Conveyancing can technically be done without a solicitor or conveyancer. But it’s only recommended if you really know what you’re doing. The conveyancing process can become complex, and any mistakes made could be costly.

It’s also worth noting that most mortgage lenders will only provide loans for buyers who are working with a conveyancer or solicitor. If you’re not a cash buyer, this could delay the conveyancing process significantly.

How can First4Lawyers help?

We know that buying or selling a house can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. But part of a conveyancer or solicitor’s role is to take some of the pressure off your shoulders, so you can get excited about your move.


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