What is Conveyancing?

Buying a property is a long-winded, difficult process. There are so many different elements and steps that need to be completed, and it can all be quite confusing, especially if you are a first-time buyer.

At Key Solutions, we pride ourselves on our ability to make buying a house or flat easy, so we are here to break down one of the steps – the conveyancing process!

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of the ownership of the property or piece of land from seller to buyer. The conveyancing process starts when your offer on a property is accepted, and ends once you have ‘completed’ on the purchase and have the keys. It is a critical aspect in the property buying process, so it needs to be done correctly.

Who does the conveyancing?

Conveyancing can be a complicated stage in your purchase journey, so it is important that it is completed by a knowledgeable individual.

Unless your mortgage lender specifies a firm, there are options when it comes to choosing who to undertake your conveyancing process.

You can choose between a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to complete the process for you. There is a common misconception that licensed conveyancers are not as qualified to deal with property as solicitors, however, that is untrue.

Licensed conveyancers specifically study and practise conveyancing and land law, so they have the knowledge and necessary experience to help you with the conveyancing of a property.

Solicitors have a wider scope when it comes to areas of the law. All solicitors are qualified to undertake this area of law, however, they may not all be as experienced as a licensed conveyancer.

If you need help with any other area of law during the conveyancing transaction – such as wanting to sue a buyer or seller following a dispute – a licensed conveyancer will not be able to help you, whereas a solicitor will.

real estate agent talking to her clients while showing them blueprints of their new home

How much does the conveyancing transaction cost?

Conveyancing costs can vary for a number of reasons, including who you choose to complete the conveyancing process, whether you use an online conveyancer or not, and the value of your property.

Conveyancing fees can be split into two parts:

  • Legal Fees: The amount charged by the solicitor or conveyancer for doing the work
  • Disbursements: Charged by third parties for certain services, such as searches

Some conveyancing fees must be paid by sellers, whereas others only need to be paid by buyers.

Average conveyancing fees when purchasing a property range from around £1,150 to £1,500, plus disbursements. These disbursements could add up to £700 plus.

When selling a property, conveyancing fees are considerably less, averaging around £600 to £950.

However, if the property is leasehold, it will usually cost around £500 more to complete the conveyancing process. This is because leasehold properties are more complicated, and therefore take up more time.

What is involved in the conveyancing process?

There are a number of different stages that are involved in the conveyancing process. The first thing to do is find the person or company you want to complete the conveyancing process on your behalf.

Contracts

Once you have instructed a licensed conveyancer or a solicitor to complete it for you, the first part of the process is liaising with the seller’s solicitor to draft the contract.

Property searches

The next step in the process is conducting the necessary property searches. They provide information about the property being purchased, the land it sits on and any other factors that may affect its future value.

They are not always compulsory. If you buy the property with 100% cash, you are free to choose whether or not you undertake searches, and which one(s) you want. However, if you are purchasing a property with a mortgage, your lender will inform your conveyancer of the searches that they require to be completed before they will release the mortgage funds.

There are three main searches that you will come across when buying a property:

  • Local authority searches: These highlight any planning, building control, highway or pollution issues that your new property may have.
    Environmental searches: These cover any flooding, landslide, subsidence or contaminated land matters.
    Water and drainage searches: These searches question who owns and maintains the sewers, drains and pipes; whether or not the property is connected to a public water supply and sewer; if the water supply is metered or rateable; the location of public sewer and drainage pipes; and whether you, as the owner of the property, will need permission from the water company to build an extension.
  • These searches usually take anywhere between 10 days to a few months. Your conveyancer will work with the other party’s conveyancer to move the transaction forward and sort any problems that may have occurred as a result of the searches and surveys.

Mortgage Conveyancing

If you’re purchasing your property with a mortgage, both you and your conveyancer are responsible for checking the mortgage offer and dealing with any special conditions.

Once your mortgage lender issues your offer, your solicitor will receive a copy of it from them to be able to complete this part of the process.

Signing and exchanging contracts, and completing on the purchase

Before signing the contract, your conveyancer will need to ensure that all enquiries have been returned and are satisfactory, that the fixtures and fittings included in the property are as expected, that a completion date has been agreed on between the sellers and buyers, and that you have made arrangements to transfer the deposit to them ready for the exchange of contracts.

They’ll work with the other conveyancers in the chain to arrange dates for the exchange of contracts and completion.

Finally, they will register the change of ownership with the land registry for you. If you are selling, this will be taken care of by the buyer’s conveyance.

man giving some keys to a woman

How long does the conveyancing process take?

The conveyancing process starts when your offer is accepted, and ends once you have the keys. The conveyancing process usually takes around 12 weeks. However, for a seller, the average time that it takes to complete a house sale is between 4 and 6 months as it can take around 10-12 weeks from a new home listing for an offer to be accepted.

Do I need to complete the conveyancing process again if I am remortgaging?

Whether or not it is necessary to undertake conveyancing when remortgaging depends on your circumstances. However, most of the time, if remortgaging with your current mortgage lender, you don’t need a conveyancer. That being said, it is always worth contacting your mortgage broker to check what service is required.

If you’re switching mortgage lenders, fees assisted legal advice may be included as part of their offering. Check with them to find out what is included in their policy, and what legal processes you need to undertake.

We provide award-winning mortgage and remortgage advice that can be arranged over the phone or online. If you would like to learn more or need advice with your mortgage journey, please get in touch with us today.

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About Key Solutions

Here at Key Solutions we believe taking out a mortgage should be easy. Why shouldn’t it? So when people say buying a home or getting a mortgage is one of the most stressful things ever, we say, come and speak to us.

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