Buying property – what is conveyancing?

What is conveyancing?

Say you’re buying a property and have made an offer on the home of your choice. What happens next?

Conveyancing is the legal process involved when ownership of a property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. It can start when your offer is accepted, up until after the sale is completed.

The conveyancer will manage tasks including:

  • handling the contract of exchange – negotiating any details, if needed
  • dealing with the Land Registry
  • handling local council searches and other formal enquiries
  • reviewing your mortgage offer from the lender
  • the collection and transferring of money for the property purchase
  • arranging for payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax and other payments
  • notifying the freeholder of the sale, if your home is leasehold
  • providing legal guidance.

Who does the conveyancing?

You may choose to work with a licensed conveyancer, a solicitor, or to do it yourself. While a solicitor has a wider scope when it comes to areas of the law, a licensed conveyancer is a lawyer who specialises in property. Conveyancers and solicitors can vary according to experience, reputation and company size.

If you’re thinking of tackling conveyancing yourself on your property purchase, you should note that all relevant parties may have to prove their identities before the application can be registered. Some mortgage lenders will only want to deal with solicitors or conveyancers, and not directly with you. You may also not be covered by insurance if any problems arise, whereas professional conveyancers usually have professional insurance. The costs may also depend on how simple or complex the process will be.

What costs are involved?

If you’re hiring a licensed conveyancer or solicitor to handle the conveyancing on your home purchase, they may charge you a fixed fee, an hourly rate, or a percentage of the price of the property. You may want to ask them to list the costs involved for you. These can include searches, Land Registry fees, Stamp Duty Land Tax (if required), as well as fees for any other work that they may do for you.

Before applying for a mortgage

You may want to get an indication of how a lender may view your creditworthiness. You can do this by viewing your Equifax Credit Score – it’s free for the first 30 days, then £14.95 monthly after that.

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