What is Conveyancing?

What is conveyancing?

“Property transactions can often be complex and challenging so engaging the right conveyancer is key to a smooth and less stressful conveyancing process. Too many times people will overlook experience and knowledge over price, many times to their detriment”Amrit Bhogal, Head of Property, RLK Solicitors.

Whether you are buying your first home or expanding your property portfolio, investing in a property can be exciting – but also challenging. Property agents and mortgage brokers can help streamline the process of finding a property and securing a mortgage but when it comes to navigating the legal aspects of transferring the ownership of a property from one party to another, that’s where a conveyancer comes in.

Conveyancers are trained, regulated professionals who will help you avoid legal pitfalls and liability and streamline the process of becoming the proud owner of a property.

In this guide we’ll cover all you need to know about the conveyancing process.

What Does Conveyancing Mean?

Conveyancing refers to the legal process of transferring property ownership from one party to another. This practice falls within property law and is conducted by professionals known as conveyancers (we’ll delve into the role of a conveyancer in more details below). Both buyers and sellers in property transactions will engage a conveyancer to facilitate the process, whether the transaction involves residential or commercial properties.

A conveyancer will deal with:

  • Drafting and reviewing the property contract
  • Commissioning property searches
  • Raising pre-contract enquiries
  • Liaising with the other party’s legal team
  • Managing exchange of contracts and dealing with legal completion

A conveyancer will assist you in avoiding common and costly issues such as legal defects in the title to the property, unresolved financial claims on the property, and inaccuracies in the property description. Ultimately, conveyancers ensure a smooth and legally sound property transaction.

The role of a conveyancer becomes even more paramount when considering the findings of a research paper published by the UK Government:

  • Nearly 1 in 4 property buyers report finding the process complicated
  • 59% of buyers and 57% of sellers found the process longer than they expected
  • Nearly a third of buyers and sellers encounter issues with solicitors and estate agents

By working with a conveyancer you can avoid these issues and make the process much more streamlined and risk-free.

What Are The Steps In The Conveyancing Process?

Now that we’ve covered what conveyancing is, let’s explore the conveyancing process.

Usually, the conveyancing process begins after the seller accepts the offer made by the buyer. At this point, each party instructs their own conveyancer to start the conveyancing process. During this initial step, you will:

  • Receive a formal Letter of Engagement from your conveyancer
  • Receive the conveyancer’s terms and conditions (this document will state the legal fees and costs for the legal services provided).
  • Review and accept the terms and conditions and make a payment on account of your conveyancer’s costs.

Once you’ve formally instructed your conveyancer, your conveyancer will require some key information to draft the property contract and to send to the other party’s conveyancer. These details include details about the property and any certificates and relevant property paperwork that you hold.

If you are buying a property then your conveyancer will carry out certain standard steps, including:

  • Property Searches. Your conveyancer conducts various searches to identify any legal or environmental issues with the property. Basic property searches include:
    • Local authority searches
    • Water and drainage searches
    • Environmental searches
  • Review of Documents. This involves a thorough analysis of the contract pack from the seller’s conveyancer, including property title and standard forms.
  • Contract Negotiations. The conveyancer will address any concerns found in searches or in documentation before finalising the terms of the contract.
  • Overseeing the Exchange of Contracts. During this step, the conveyancer will oversee both parties as they commit legally to the sale and purchase.
  • Managing the Transaction Completion. In this final step, the remainder of the purchase price is transferred, and ownership is officially passed to the buyer.

What Is A Transfer Deed?

A Transfer Deed is the legal document which will transfer legal ownership of a property from seller to buyer. It outlines the property being transferred, the parties names and the price being paid. It may also create covenants which will affect how you can use the property in future.

This Transfer Deed is drafted by the buyer’s conveyancer and approved by the seller’s conveyancer and requires all parties’ signatures. In most cases, the signatures must also be witnessed.

After completion the Transfer Deed is submitted by the buyer’s conveyancer to the Land Registry to update the property’s title, officially recording the change in ownership.

How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

“Typically a conveyance can take anywhere between 8-12 weeks from receipt of the sale contract from the seller’s conveyancer. There are factors which may affect timescales such as issues revealed in the title or in searches which need further exploration or special conditions in a mortgage offer which need to be compiled with on behalf of a lender. Our aim is to keep you updated at all times so that you can monitor the progress of your case and, if matters do become protracted, provide you with revised time estimates where possible.”Amrit Bhogal, Head of Property, RLK Solicitors.

The duration of the conveyancing process can vary significantly depending on several factors, including how complex the transaction is, whether there are any legal issues in the title to the property or any searches or surveys.

Typically, it takes between 8 to 12 weeks from the moment the draft contract documentation is received from the seller’s conveyancer. However, often, delays can occur due to unresolved legal issues or financing problems. To streamline these timeframes, your legal team will provide comprehensive support and guidance. Nonetheless, it’s crucial for all parties to actively participate and communicate effectively.

What Does A Conveyancer Do?

In the UK, conveyancers must be certified, and are required to hold a licence from the Council for Licensed Conveyancers or being solicitors registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Conveyancing services provided by specialised law firms must also meet the standards set by the Law Society.

Some of the roles conveyancers are responsible for include:

  • Conduct property searches (local authority, environmental, etc.)
  • Draft and review contracts and legal documents
  • Liaise with the conveyancer acting for the other party to a contract
  • Advise clients on legal and procedural matters
  • Handle the exchange of contracts and completion processes
  • Manage the transfer of funds between parties
  • Submit documents to the Land Registry to update ownership records

According to a recent survey by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, over three quarters of people who worked with a conveyancer were satisfied with their services, mostly due to the speed, efficiency, and ease of communication provided.

How Much Does Conveyancing Cost?

Conveyancing costs vary depending on the property’s value, transaction type (buying vs. selling), and whether the property is freehold or leasehold. Generally, fees range from £850 plus VAT and disbursements to £2,250 plus VAT and disbursements.

If these are required, disbursements (which are typically items such as searches and Land Registry fees) can add an additional £250 to £450. Comparison websites can help the parties involved obtain detailed quotes from conveyancers, ensuring maximum transparency.

How Our Experienced Residential Conveyancing Team Help You

“Our aim is to guide you through the conveyancing process to make it as smooth and stress free as possible for you”Amrit Bhogal, Head of Property, RLK Solicitors.

Navigating a property transaction can certainly be overwhelming, especially if you are buying or selling your first home or are looking to invest in an extensive investment property.

Our team of conveyancers can help you streamline the legal aspects of this transaction, including:

  • Sales, purchases and re-mortgages of residential and commercial properties
  • Purchases of new build property and property from Housing Associations
  • Sales of property forming part of a deceased estate
  • Transfers of equity
  • Leasehold enfranchisement
  • Shared ownership schemes

To obtain a quote for a residential or commercial property transaction please complete a Quotation Enquiry and your bespoke quotation will be sent to you by one of our team.


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