What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring (conveying) ownership of property or land from one person to another.
The process begins when the buyer’s offer on a house is accepted. It usually ends when the keys are handed over.
There are normally two main milestones in the conveyancing process:
- Exchange of contracts—when the terms of the deal are agreed
- Completion—when legal ownership passes from the seller to the buyer
What does a conveyancing solicitor do?
Buying and selling a house involves the exchange of large sums of money. As a result, it’s important that both the buyer and seller are aware of any issues that may affect the sale or the future value of the property.
A conveyancing solicitor protects the interests of their client throughout all stages of the house‑buying process. This involves issues including:
- verifying the identities of the parties involved
- completing the necessary legal paperwork
- carrying out relevant searches on the property and land
- ensuring all legal rights are in place
- dealing with the mortgage and financial matters
- advising on and dealing with how the property will be held and whether a trust deed is needed to protect any interests
- dealing with stamp duty land tax
What are the differences between a solicitor and a conveyancer?
The differences between a solicitor and a conveyancer have little practical consequence for the client. Both are fully regulated and insured and both are equally capable of carrying out conveyancing work.
The main differences:
A solicitor specialising in conveyancing is regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA), a licensed conveyancer is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) and a legal executive is regulated by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX).
Solicitors have been trained in other areas of the law and have then chosen to specialise in property and conveyancing.
Most licensed conveyancers will not have general law expertise and will have been solely trained in areas of conveyancing, however some conveyancers may have been trained as solicitors beforehand.
Most legal executives will specialise in a particular field of law, such as conveyancing.
This is by no means a disadvantage, both licensed conveyancers and solicitors have ample experience and expertise in the conveyancing process.
Some property law work can also be carried out by conveyancers who are not professionally qualified but are trained in this type of work.
When should I appoint a conveyancing solicitor?
You can appoint a solicitor once you’ve made an offer on a property—you don’t have to wait until you’ve finalised your mortgage.
Some mortgage lenders insist that you choose a solicitor from their own panel to do the legal work. You should always find out whether this applies to you, otherwise you may be faced with paying an extra fee. Graysons Solicitors is on the panels of most lenders.
What is the conveyancing process?
The conveyancing process usually begins with the hiring of a solicitor or conveyancer. It’s a complex process which is most successful when carried out by an experienced professional, and so we’d never recommend doing it yourself.
Each stage of the process is explained in detail here.
How long does conveyancing take?
Conveyancing usually takes between eight and 12 weeks, from the time you contact your conveyancer about the house you’re interested in, to collecting the keys and moving in to the property.
However, there are a number of factors that could delay the process, and some sales can take up to six months, especially when a chain is involved.
To read more about the timescale for conveyancing, click here.
How long does conveyancing take with no chain?
Completing the conveyancing process without a chain takes less time, and the average time for a relatively smooth transaction to go through is between six and 12 weeks.
Even without a chain, issues with your mortgage lender or the results of your searches can still extend the time considerably.
What are conveyancing deeds?
Conveyancing deeds (sometimes just called ‘deeds’) detail the pertinent facts relating to the property or land, such as:
- who is the legal owner
- whether any charges are secured against it
- what rights, reservations or covenants affect it
Most properties are registered with the Land Registry, whose website enables you to download deeds for a small cost.
However, if the property has been in the same ownership for many years, it may be unregistered. If this is the case with the property you want to buy, the owner—or their lender—will hold original documents dating back to when the property was first sold, and must provide these to your solicitor for inspection.
What is a conveyancing quote?
Conveyancing costs consist of two different payments:
- Conveyancing solicitor’s basic fee—this covers the cost of your solicitor’s time. They will likely charge this in one of three ways:
- a fixed fee
- scale linked to the value of the property
- a per-hour fee
Graysons charges a fixed fee on all residential properties, unless the situation is particularly complex—such as those involving deeds of easement, adverse possession etc.
- Disbursements—this covers the cost of activities that your conveyancer has to pay a third party to perform, such as:
What will Graysons charge for conveyancing fees?
Why should I choose Graysons as my conveyancing solicitors?
Whether you’re buying or selling, we have a friendly team who offer a first-class conveyancing service. Years of experience and thousands of property transactions have taught us that people really appreciate being kept informed throughout the process, and we pride ourselves on being able to provide that personal touch.
Graysons is an accredited member of the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme, so you can rest assured that our expertise and quality of service is second to none.
Our conveyancing team uses the latest electronic conveyancing technology to help make your move go through as quickly and smoothly as possible.