What Is Conveyancing And What Does A Solicitor Do?

If you’re thinking about using a conveyancing service for purchasing a property then this article will show you:

  • What Conveyancing Is
  • Who Does The Conveyancing?
  • How Your Solicitor/Conveyancer Helps You
  • What Is Found In The Legal Contract?
  • If You Can You Do Your Own Conveyancing
  • How Much It Will Cost

Article Sections

What Is Conveyancing?

So, what does conveyancing mean? Definition by law is as followed:

Conveyancing is the branch of the law that is in charge of the transfer of legal title of property from one person(s) to another.

In majority of cases this is carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.

This whole process begins when your offer has been accepted on a property.

At this point the solicitor/conveyancer will begin work.

The sellers will then fill in a number of of documents (sellers property information forms or PIF) for their solicitor/conveyancer to then prepare a draft contract which is sent to the buyers solicitor/conveyancer.

The buyers solicitor/conveyancer then begins work based upon the information they have been supplied within the draft contact.

Average time for completion is 8 to 10 weeks for freehold properties and 10 to 12 weeks for leasehold properties.

Who Does Your Conveyancing?

The title given to people who are able to carry out your conveyancing will either be a solicitor, property lawyer or licensed conveyancer. Each person mentioned will be able to take on this kind of work, but they may not necessarily be experienced. So you’ll need to do your homework.

The main difference between conveyancers and solicitors is that conveyancers specialise in all aspects of property law, wheras solicitors practice a wider range of law which often includes conveyancing.

How Your Solicitor/Conveyancer Helps You

One of the areas they help you is by arranging for property searches to be carried out. You won’t find out everything about a property by just viewing it, so they do the following to help you make an informed choice:

  • Local Authority Search – Specific information about a particular property and its surrounding area, including any planning applications made by private or public organisations.
  • Title Register / Title Plan – Obtained by the sellers solicitors and included in the Draft Contract these are Legal documents that prove the seller’s ownership of a property. Usually costing £6 to £10 for a freehold property and more if the property is leasehold.
  • Flood Risk Search – Risk of flooding to property is researched, also done through The Land Registry.
  • Water & Drainage Searches – How your property receives water. It also checks if there is any water pipes or public drains that may inhibit extension works, for example.
  • Chancel Repair Search – You might of never heard of this but it’s a necessity! This is to ensure there are no potential liabilities on your property, to help pay for the repair of local Church property.
  • Environmental Search – This report will provide information about contaminated land on or around the property. It also covers topics such as ground stability issues, randon gas hazard and other related information.
  • Optional and Location Specific Searches – Some properties will require these extra searches, due to location or property type, for example if they are located in an area close to mines.

What Is In A Conveyancing Contract?

The seller is responsible for drawing up the legal contract for home ownership transfer, the contract will include the following:

  • The sale price
  • The home property boundaries
  • What fixtures are included in the home sale (i.e. carpets)
  • Legal restrictions, such as public footpaths
  • If there are any planning restrictions
  • What services are on the property, such as gas and drainage
  • When the sale will be completed by

Once seller and buyer (and lender if applicable) are happy with the contract, both parties will when sign the final contract copies and then send them to one another. Once this happens the agreement to sell is legally binding, and normally you can’t pull out with paying compensation to the other party.

Next up is completion, which means completion! It’s when you get the keys.

  • The money is transferred to seller from buyer
  • Legal documents needed for ownership transfer are handed over
  • Seller moves out leaving property in state that was agreed on in the contract
  • Keys handed to buyer

Congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of your property.

How Much Will This Cost You And Who Can Help?

The overall cost of conveyancing services depends on a number of factors including the actual value of the property you are purchasing. According to MoneySuperMarket, the conveyancing required for the average property purchase costs around £850.

These charges relate to the solicitor’s/conveyancers time, the calls they have to make and letters they have to send. Stamp Duty and Land Registry fees depend of the value of the property and follow a sliding scale set by both the HMRC and The Land Registry respectively.

Search fees can vary from firm to firm depending on which provider they use. Opting for an online conveyancer may save your a few hundred pounds, some even as little as £550, however always request a copy of their terms and conditions because costs can be hidden; in some cased you certainly get what you pay for! Check if any offer a ‘no sale – no fee’ opition.

We hope this guide has helped you understand how conveyancing works and if you have anymore questions please comment below and I will get back to you asap. If you’re looking to sell your house quickly, House Buy Fast offer a ‘We Buy Any House‘ service, contact us today to find out more.

A big thanks to Daniel Baker from Conveyancing Direct, who helped with creating this piece. If you want to contact him, you can reach him on his direct dial 01424 464937.

Jonathan Rolande

Jonathan Rolande

Jonathan Rolande began in the property industry in 1987 and has extensive knowledge of the property buying sector. Jonathan is also an avid supporter of greater regulation in the industry. Founding the National Association of Property Buyers to offer essential information to property sellers.