Conveyancing

Whether you are buying or selling, conveyancing is a necessary part of the process. But what is it?

Basically, it is the legal process of transferring property ownership from one person to another.

In the majority of cases, this work is undertaken by a solicitor or licenced conveyancer. There are differing views on whether it’s best to use a solicitor or a conveyancer, but it all comes down to how good the people are you are dealing with.

Solicitors can deal with a whole host of legal queries during their day-to-day role whereas a conveyancer only deals with property transactions so, in theory, they could be better placed to provide this service on your behalf. 

1What does a conveyancer do?

  • They will carry out important searches (detailed technical queries) with local authorities, utility companies and other bodies to ensure no future plans or financial liabilities hang over the property you wish to buy. The searches will highlight if there are any restrictions, future financial liabilities or environmental issues which could be detrimental to your home and/or health.
  • Advise you of any ‘incurred costs’ ranging from stamp duty to more unusual charges such as service charges on nearby open space, that you will be liable for.
  • Check (or draft) contracts regarding your purchase of the property.
  • Make sure your mortgage lender has all relevant information about the property, from the sellers as well as from yourself.
  • Transfer all fees and settle all associated costs at the end of the transaction, such as estate agency costs and stamp duty.
  • Register you as the legal new owner with the Land Registry.

2Who and how do I choose?

You can’t beat a recommendation. If someone else has had a good experience then there’s a good chance you will too so, ask your friends, relatives and colleagues and see if they can give you a good start.

However you choose your conveyancer, there are a couple of things you should consider:

  • Do you prefer the traditional approach with a local expert where you will visit your solicitor’s/conveyancer’s office?
  • Are you happy to do virtually everything online or through the post and outside normal working hours?

3Traditional

Benefits

  • You can visit the solicitor in person.
  • You will go through paperwork face-to-face, which can make it easier to understand some of the more complicated intricacies of the conveyancing process.
  • They should have a good knowledge of land or building issues in your area.
  • You will mostly deal with one person (and their assistant).

Drawbacks

  • Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm.
  • If your solicitor/assistant isn’t available, you will need to wait for answers.
  • They can cost more than online conveyancers.
  • Some will charge you even if the purchase falls through.

4Online

Benefits

  • Open seven days a week.
  • Open late in the evening (often till 8 or 9pm).
  • Scan and upload important documents (speed).
  • Track your purchase with your own online account 24/7.
  • A team of people will be able to access your case and answer your questions.
  • No sale, no fee.

Drawbacks

  • They won’t have an intimate knowledge of the area you are buying in.
  • It can feel less personal and more transactional.
  • You could have a long way to go if you want or need a face-to-face meeting.

Once you have decided which option suits you best, get some quotes and compare services and prices. Remember to keep things in perspective when comparing quotes. You will be buying a property worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, so don’t let a few hundred pounds get in the way of securing your dream home.

5When should I appoint someone?

The sooner the better, but definitely before you find a property you want to buy.

It isn’t unusual for a seller to leave their property on the market until the estate agent has proof of how you intend to finance the purchase (normally a mortgage agreement in principal), and details of which solicitor you are using.

If you delay in providing those details to the agent, another buyer could legitimately sneak in and secure the property while you are trying to sort out who to represent you. So, if you haven’t already done so, start your enquiries today.

Conveyancing quote online

If you would like to know how much you need to budget for conveyancing services, we can tell you – right now!

First, complete the brief details below. Then fill in the information on the following page about the property you wish to buy and/or sell and we will give you an immediate, free, personalised, no-obligation quote.