Conveyancing is the name given to the legal process of transferring a property from one owner to another. It begins from when you first instruct a conveyancing solicitor and continues through to the completion of the property transaction.
Conveyancing is required when buying and/or selling a property as well as for transfer of equity, equity release and re-mortgage. The steps will vary depending on which transaction is being undertaken.
What is a conveyancer?
The role of a conveyancer is to carry out the necessary legal work required for the legitimate sale and purchase of a property. The work involves a fee which is for the conveyancer's legal expertise, time and administration in carrying out the property transaction.
Do I need a conveyancer when selling a property?
Selling a property is legally complex and therefore having a conveyancer to take care of the legal aspect of the sale is important. They will act as the go-between the seller's and the buyer's conveyancer to negotiate and compile the contracts. They will also need to deal with the seller's lender if there is a mortgage on the property being sold.
How long does conveyancing take?
How long the conveyancing process takes will vary depending on factors such as:
The number of people in the chain
How long searches take and if there are any issues that need to be resolved
How quickly information is received, reviewed and responded to
The time it takes for surveys to be completed and the results returned
Ongoing negotiations (Enquiries)
A smooth conveyancing process can take on average around ten to twelve weeks but it is often more realistically around 3 months.
How do I get started with conveyancing?
The best place to start is to do your research early to find the best conveyancer for you and what you can expect to pay for conveyancing services. Online conveyancing quotes will give you a great starting point. Once you receive your quote it's important to read and understand it so you are clear what your quote covers and importantly what it does not.
What information is provided in a conveyancing quote?
A conveyancing quote will detail the cost for the conveyancing legal fees, mandatory government costs and disbursements. When selling a property, the third-party costs are lower versus buying a property as for example stamp duty or searches are not payable.
How much does conveyancing cost?
The average cost for conveyancing is dependent on the price of the property and the legal work involved. You can expect to pay anywhere between £500 and £1500.
Below are the average conveyancing costs based on a 3-bed property:
£400 to £2000
Government and mandatory disbursements
Stamp Duty Land Tax
0 - 12% Dependent on the purchase price of the property
Local Authority Searches
Water and Drainage Search
£150 to £450
HM Land Registry Search
HM Land Registry Fee
* based on a £300,000 property
£6 - £20
£5 - £30
Chancel Indemnity Insurance
£20 - £40
£4 - £10
Bank Transfer Fee
£20 - £30
Transfer of Ownership
£200 - £300
Lifetime / Help to Buy ISA
Unregistered Property Supplement
£120 - £250
Leasehold Property Supplement
£200 - £300
What is fixed fee conveyancing?
Fixed fee conveyancing is where a price is given for the necessary legal work required. With a fixed fee conveyancing quote, the price quoted is the price you pay. Fixed fee conveyancing costs are the costs associated for the legal work undertaken and do not include the disbursements such as property searches and stamp duty.
What is no sale no legal conveyancing?
No sale no legal fee conveyancing means if a property sale falls through, the cost of the legal fees are not payable. This can also be known as no move no fee or no completion no fee. It applies to the legal fees only. Disbursements and third-party costs such as local searches are not counted as legal fees.
What does conveyancing involve when selling a property?
There a number of key steps in the conveyancing process as follows:
Step 1: Choose and instruct a conveyancer
When you have a buyer for your home and you have accepted their offer price, the first step is to instruct a conveyancer to undertake the conveyancing work necessary for the sale of the property.
A file opening fee or deposit is typically required at this point as well as acceptance to the Terms and Conditions for that conveyancer or conveyancing network.
Step 2: Await Welcome Pack from conveyancer
It is usual to receive a phone call or an email from your conveyancer to confirm your instruction. Your verbal instruction may be required for some conveyancing firms
You can then expect to receive a Welcome Pack which contains documentation that must be completed and returned to your conveyancer
Step 3: Provide details to your estate agent for the Memorandum of Sale
The Memorandum of Sale is a formal document that confirms the sellers' details, the buyers' details and their respective conveyancers' details.
The buyer will be required to submit the same to their estate agent.This allows the Memorandum of Sale to be drawn up by the seller's estate agent.
This document must be received by both your and your buyer's conveyancer before any conveyancing work can start.
Step 4. Sign and return documentation and Letter of Engagement (Terms and Conditions) to your conveyancer
Within the Welcome Pack is the 'Letter of Engagement'. This must be signed and returned before the conveyancer can start to act on your behalf.
You are also required tocomplete a Client Information Form, a Property Information Form and a Fixtures and Fittings Form.
The property forms ask for in-depth informationabout the property being solde.g.,any alterations to the property, any neighbour disputes
Supporting documentation will also be requested e.g., planning documents, gas safety certificates, FENSA certificate for window installations.
Step 5: Submit documentation for anti-money laundering and identification checks
An identity check is required to confirm you are who you say you are.
Check what information is required and submit this documentation to your conveyancer or, if you are using a conveyancing network, to their AML/Identity checking team.
It is good advice to check how your personal information is being protected and stored.
Step 6: Contact your mortgage lender
You will need to inform your conveyancer of your mortgage lender and inform your current lender if you have any outstanding mortgage on your property and if you need to get a mortgage on a new property
Step 7: Pre contract pack drawn up following the collation of the buyer and seller information
Once all the relevant documentation has been returned, the initial pre contract will be drawn up.
The legal work will begin to compile the contract ready for exchange.
Step 8: Searches ordered by the conveyancer on behalf of the buyer
Searches will be ordered on behalf of the buyer by their conveyancer, or the conveyancing networks' searches team.
As a seller there is little you can do to speed up the process of these searches being done
You can however keep in touch with your estate agent and your conveyancer to check the searches have been ordered and are in progress.
Step 9: Mortgage valuation and home buyers survey undertaken on behalf of the buyer
The buyer will require a mortgage valuation survey to ensure the mortgage amount is appropriate to the offer price.
A Home Buyers Survey or a more involved Building Survey may also be instructed by the buyer.
As the seller you will need to allow access to the property you are selling so the surveys can take place. You do not see the report, but any issues will be documented and raised to you via your conveyancer.
Step 10: Buyer's conveyancer obtains the approved mortgage offer
The buyer's conveyancer will receive the mortgage offer from the buyer's lender and confirmation of funds.
Step 11: Ongoing conveyancing legal process and resolution of enquiries raised
The length of time it takes to formalise contracts will vary depending on the length and complexity of those within the chain and how quickly information reaches the relevant parties.
Exchange relies on all factors coming together from everyone within the chain e.g. searches are back, enquiries are satisfactorily answered, and buyer's funds are in place.
Step 12: Consider the arrangements for moving out of your home
Moving out of your home is likely to be a big process so don't underestimate how long this will take
Get removal quotes and start to tidy out what you can
Most removal firms are happy to be flexible with firming up a moving day as they are used to dates changing
Step 13: Exchange of contracts and receipt of deposit from the buyer
Once all those in the chain are in a position to proceed, an exchange and a completion date can be agreed with the other parties in the chain.
The contracts are prepared and submitted to each party to sign.
Your conveyancer will hold the transfer of title deed which you will have signed
Thebuyer will transfer their deposit to their conveyancer. The conveyancer must be in receipt of these as cleared fundsbefore exchange can take place.
Once all the requirements are in place the conveyancer at the bottom of the chain will contact the next conveyancer in the chain to confirm they have receipt of the signed contract, deposit funds and terms of the sale and completion date.
This works its way up the chain and then back down to confirm receipt.
Once done, the exchange of contracts has taken place, and transfer of ownership is legally binding
Step 14: Get ready to move out of your home
You should now be in the last stages of getting ready to leave your home. You should be well prepared and ready to go.
It is usual to give keys to your estate agent at this point ready for completion day.
Step 15: Completion of the sale
Completion is the final stage of the property sale transaction and takes place on the day specified at exchange
Yourconveyancer will confirm they are in receipt of the full purchase amount.
Once this is done up and down the chain, ownership is transferred from the seller to the buyer
As the seller, you must vacate the property and the buyer is able to collect the keys usually from the seller's estate agent.
Step 16: Leave your property
Your property is sold and it's now time to vacate the property ready for the new owners to move in.
Step 17: Post completion
Your conveyancer will send you the Completion Statement.
How can I speed up the conveyancing process when selling a property?
As a seller, the best way to speed up the conveyancing process is to complete and return all information quickly and accurately. Missing documentation, documents not signed correctly, taking a long time to answer enquiries and return information will all impact how long the conveyancing process takes.
What information is it important to know when selling a house?
Selling a property is complex and there is a lot of information that needs to come together to reach exchange and complete the sale of your property. Understanding the key steps and having answers to questions such as What are searches? or What is a Property Information Form? can only be of benefit to you when speaking to your conveyancer, estate agent or mortgage lender.
Click here to find out the answers to everything you need to know to help the sale of your property go as smoothly and as stress free as possible.