What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of buying and selling property or land. It starts when the buyer and seller agree a price, and ends when the sale transaction completes and change of ownership occurs.

We'll handle your conveyancing professionally and without drama, but we always want our clients to know what's going on. This is why your transaction will be handled by a named conveyancer who will be pleased to answer your questions. In addition, you will be able to track your conveyancing online.

Here's a simple guide to what happens at each stage of the conveyancing process.

How conveyancing works...

When selling »

At the outset, we will provide you with a fixed quote. Once the quote is confirmed we'll instruct your solicitor.

The solicitor will contact you to ask you for some basic details including proof of your identity and details of your current mortgage.

Before you exchange contracts:

This stage normally takes a few weeks dependent upon any related transactions, the buyer’s financial arrangements, any legal complexities etc

Your solicitor will send you forms asking for details of:

  • the property and its fixtures and fittings
  • the leasehold agreement (if there is one)

These forms are quite detailed and might need a bit of research: your solicitor will help you wherever possible.

Send these back along with any supporting documents. For example: details of any planning permission or building consents, guarantees etc.

Your solicitor will obtain the title deeds to your property and prepare the contract.

If you're selling a leasehold property, they will also ask your freeholder or management company for a copy of your lease, along with information about insurance, expenditure and service charges.

When your solicitor has all this information, they'll draw up a draft contract and send it to your buyer's solicitor.

Your buyer's solicitor will raise questions at this stage - they will need the results of their survey and local authority searches - so it's important to make sure your solicitor can get in touch with you easily.

When your buyer's happy to go ahead, you'll agree a completion date. Your solicitor will send a final contract to you and your buyer's solicitor.

Read the contract carefully and ask your solicitor if there's anything you're not sure about. When you're happy, sign the contract and return to your solicitor.

Exchange, completion and afterwards

There's normally a timeframe of two to four weeks between exchange and completion although it is possible to exchange and complete on the same day in certain circumstances.

When the contracts are signed, your solicitor will formally exchange contracts with the buyer's solicitor, and collect your buyer's deposit. You're both now legally committed to the agreed terms of the sale.

If you are also buying at the same time your solicitor will exchange on the purchase and will either agree the same completion date or a date that fits in with your plans.

Your solicitor will pass on a transfer deed for you to sign and return. If you have a mortgage, they will also agree with your mortgage lender exactly how much is left to pay on your mortgage upon completion.

When you return the transfer deed, your solicitor will send it and the title deeds to your buyer.

The day of completion is the day the money changes hands. On the completion date, your solicitor will:

  • receive the money from your buyer
  • pay off any mortgages you may have
  • pay your estate agent's fee
  • pay his own fee
  • forward any balance to yourself or use as funds on any related purchase

When buying »

At the outset we will provide you with a fixed quote. Once the quote is confirmed we’ll instruct your solicitor. The solicitor will contact you and ask you for some basic details including proof of your identity and details of financial and mortgage arrangements.

Before you exchange contracts:

This stage normally takes a few weeks dependent upon any related transactions, your financial arrangements, any legal complexities etc

When you have an offer accepted and get a survey done, you and your solicitor will quickly have access to a lot of information, including:

  • local authority search results
  • title deeds
  • leasehold agreement (if it's a leasehold property)
  • your mortgage offer (if you are obtaining a mortgage)

Your solicitor will review these documents and report to you either in writing or face to face. At this stage your solicitor will also arrange for you to sign the contract.

Read it carefully and ask if you have any questions. When you're happy with it, sign the contract and return it to your solicitor.

Your solicitor will ask for your deposit on the property you are buying and will agree the completion date.

Exchange, completion and afterwards:

There's normally a timeframe of between two to four weeks between exchange and completion although it is possible to exchange and complete on the same day in certain circumstances.

When your deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) has been received, your solicitor and your seller's solicitor will formally exchange contracts, meaning you're both legally obliged to go ahead.

Your solicitor will prepare a completion statement. This statement sets out all the financial details of the transaction. They will also check with the Land Registry to ensure that the title deeds are in order and that nothing has changed since you made your initial offer.

When these checks are complete, your solicitor will prepare a transfer deed, and send you a copy to sign and return. They'll then send this on to your seller's solicitor. This is also when your solicitor will ask for funds from any mortgage lender plus any required monies from yourself in order to pay for your new property.

If you are also selling at the same time your solicitor will exchange on the purchase and will either agree the same completion date or a date that fits in with your plans.

On the agreed completion date, your solicitor will pay the seller's solicitor the balance of the purchase monies and you will own your new property.

Once you've completed, your solicitor will undertake the final processes in the transaction:

  • pay the stamp duty land tax and send the transfer deed to the Stamp Office
  • register the transaction at the Land Registry
  • get a revised title deed showing that you own the property, and send it on to your mortgage lender