Property blog on What is Conveyancing

What Is Conveyancing?


Conveyancing refers to the branch of law concerned with the preparation of documents for the transfer of property. In other words, conveyancers are the people who will hold your hand through the legal process associated with buying or selling your home. They will, for example, check contracts and organise stamp duty for you. Conveyancing really is an integral part of the property market but not everyone knows what it actually involves.

What Does Conveyancing Involve?

Your conveyancer works as the middle party between you, your mortgage lender and the buyer of your property. They will:

  • Check any contracts between you and your buyer to ensure they’re correct
  • Deal with the Land Registry to change over the rights of the property
  • Organise the payment of stamp duty
  • Transfer the money for the sale
  • Investigate any structural risks that the property may have (e.g. subsidence)

How Much Does Conveyancing Cost?

The costs of conveyancing can vary quite substantially so its very difficult to give an accurate estimation. It depends on a variety of different factors, such as the size of the property, the location and the legal fees involved. If you are selling a house near a well known mining area, for example, extra checks will have to be run to ensure that the land is safe.

What Are The Disbursement Fees?

A disbursement is defined as a payment that has to be made to a third party for a service provided or for a statutory required action; for example, local authority searches or land registry fees. These payments are not part of the solicitor’s fee for carrying out your conveyancing. Different disbursement fees include:

  • Anti-money laundering checks
  • Sourcing title deeds from the Land Registry
  • Any local authority searches, such as drainage or environmental searches
  • Property fraud prevention – Running checks on the solicitors and buyers to make sure you’re getting what you pay for
  • Transferring the ownership of the property
  • Bank transfer fees
  • Stamp duty land tax

Various fees are involved in conveyancing and the price can really add up. When you sell your property to us at Olivia Rose Estates we will cover the legal fees and so, none of these costs will apply to you!

What Is The Conveyancing Process?

The conveyancing process can vary depending on whether you’re buying or selling. In order to cover all bases, I will identify and label the process associated with each side individually.

If You’re Selling Your House

  • Complete Questionnaires – You will need to complete any relevant questionnaires as identified by your conveyancer. These questionnaires tend to relate to the general maintenance of the house including questions like ‘Has your house ever been flooded?’.
  • Contracts And Negotiations Are Drafted – These will usually include a date of completion, any fixtures and fittings that are staying in the property and the costs. This will also be where the conveyancer labels his findings from the surveys and who takes responsibility for any issues that have arisen.
  • Pay Off Your Mortgage –  You’ll have to request a redemption figure from your mortgage company, so you know what you owe, and arrange to pay this upon completion of the sale with your lender.
  • Exchange Contracts – Your conveyancer will agree on a date and time for contracts to be exchanged. You don’t have to worry about being there as your conveyancer will normally take the lead. After contracts are exchanged, you’re officially in a binding agreement to sell the property.
  • Exchange To Completion – You’re able to live in the property until completion. On the day of completion, your house will be sold and you will be required to leave.

If You’re Buying A House

There are various legal checks which happen intermittently throughout the process. Your conveyancer will deal with these and pass the information on to you where relevant.

  • Conveyancing Surveys – This can include local authority searches, title plans, flood risk surveys or water authority searches.  There are some location-specific searches that may have  to be undertaken, such as a tin or mining search.
  • Mortgage Valuation – You’ll need to have a mortgage valuation on the property you’re looking to buy. The lender insists on this to ensure the value of the property is consistent with the money you’ve applied for.
  • Signing Contracts – Before you sign, your conveyancer or solicitor will make sure that all of the enquiries surrounding the house have been answered. They will also confirm a completion date has been agreed and that arrangements have been made to transfer a deposit.
  • Exchange Contracts – Your conveyancer will exchange with the seller of the property on an agreed time and date. After this exchange, you’re in a legally binding agreement. If you drop out of the deal, you can lose your deposit, which is usually 10% of the sale price. If your seller drops out, you can sue them.
  • Exchange To Completion – The deeds to the property are frozen for 30 working days to give you time to pay.
  • Completion – the house is yours!

How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

Conveyancing is a legal process that cannot be hurried as everything has to be completed to the correct procedure and by the book. On average, conveyancing takes 12 weeks for a buyer or a seller. Sometimes this can be as little as four weeks if there is no property chain and everything goes smoothly. On the other hand, it can take upwards of 20 weeks if there are a lot of issues along the way.

If you find the idea of conveyancing overwhelming, you’re not alone. At Olivia Rose Estates we understand the extra frustration that the legal process can cause. That’s why we have committed to take care of all the legal fees and conveyancing for our customers so that you truly have a stress free sale.

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