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Do You Need A Conveyancing Solicitor?

If you are moving house you will need the services of a good conveyancing solicitor. Conveyancing is the transfer of legal title of real property from one person to another. A typical conveyancing transaction has two major phases: the exchange of contracts and completion. If you are looking for a conveyancing solicitor, tell us about your move and we will match you to one of our partners.

Typically the conveyancing process takes at least eight weeks and involves a number of stages.

We will take you through the process so that you understand what your conveyancer is doing while you are waiting for completing.


What You Need To Know About Conveyancing.

You are entitled to manage your own conveyancing, but if you are unqualified in this we would always recommend using a professional conveyancer to avoid any issues or costly mistakes.


Hiring or "Instructing" A Solicitor.

To hire a conveyancer is known as  (‘instructing’). You need to do this  as soon as your offer on a property is accepted.

Your solicitor will provide you with terms of engagement. This will including the solicitors fees and the deposits you need to pay. 

Your solicitor will then contact the seller’s solicitor to obtain a draft contract along with any other documents, such as the property title deeds.


Drafting Legal Documents.

Your conveyancer will review the contract and documents to see if anything needs looking into further. Your solicitor needs to establish whether the property is freehold or leasehold. If it is Leasehold then this means that someone else owns the land on which your home is built. With Leasehold ownership of the property can pass to the owner of the land if the lease expires and is not renewed. If it is freehold then you will own the land that the property is built.


Carrying Out Property Searches.

Your solicitor will carry out property searches to make sure there are no hidden surprises. There are common things that they are looking for like old mines, flood risks, drains and contamination. Having this information could give you better grounds for price negotiation or ring alarm bells so you can pull out of the purchase.


Selling a Property?

If you are selling your property at the same time as buying a new one this complicates the conveyancing process but not a problem for an experienced conveyancer. You can use the same solicitor for both transactions, or use different solicitors. It's up to you.


The Conveyancing Process

The Conveyancing process can take up to 8 weeks so keep in touch with your solicitor to make sure there are no hold ups or issues. They may need you to provide more information or there may be issues in the chain so make sure you keep in contact to avoid delays.


Exchanging Contracts

In England and Wales, when your conveyancer happy that their searches have found no problems, you will then exchange contracts and pay any deposits. The contract then becomes legally binding.

Your solicitor can then finalise the contract. You will also have to arrange a completion or moving date. Typically this is up to 4 weeks after the exchange of contracts. If you are in a chain then everyone in your chain will have to agree upon the same date.

Once your solicitor has exchanged contracts, you are contractually committed to the purchase, so if you pull out at this stage, you must still pay 10 per cent of the value of the property, so this can be costly and to be avoided unless absolutely necessary.



In the period between exchange and completion, you will receive a final statement showing you how much money you need to pay. This balance must cleared into your solicitor’s bank account at least one day before completion. 

On completion day your solicitor will transfer all funds to your seller’s solicitor. All other solicitors in the chain will do the same. When the funds are received will the solicitor confirm this with the estate agent, who will then release the keys. Depending on where you are in the chain you may have to wait a while for your part to complete.


What Happens Next?

After completion your solicitor will pay Stamp Duty for you from the money you paid them. The solicitor will also send your legal documents to the Land Registry to register you as the new owner of the property and they will send a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage lender.