Conveyancing

Business % Satisfaction % Recommend % of All Clients

This table shows the businesses providing Conveyancing as a service and how their customers have rated them.

Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal term for transfer of ownership of a property and often the most stressful and time-consuming part of buying and selling a property. It usually involves two solicitors or conveyancers - the seller's solicitor/conveyancer and buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer - although a few buyers and sellers undertake the process themselves. Most sellers also turn to an estate agent to sell the property and purchasers use these estate agents to find and but again a few go for a DIY sale or purchase.   

The time taken to complete the conveyancing process is primarily due to the number of searches and documents that need to be found and checked, and documents/contracts that have to be drawn up, checked, and signed. For example, the seller's solicitor obtains the deeds to the property, and then prepares the contract. The buyer's solicitor makes a local authority search. This will provide details of who owns or is responsible for the roads or sewers and whether there are any road-widening proposals near the property. Separate Land Registry, environmental, and flood-related searches are also on the list. These searches can take weeks, and even months in some cases. In addition, the buyer of the report may decide to undertake an independent structural survey of the property to be purchased, alongside a survey and evaluation that will be carried out by the mortgage lender.   

There are major differences between conveyancing in Scotland and England and Wales. In particular, the seller can set a closing date for offers on a property in Scotland. Interested parties make sealed bids which are opened on that date. If the seller accepts your bid you are essentially legally bound to buy the property. In practice, buyers in Scotland are committed at an earlier date than in England and Wales.

"Very helpful service from Rebecca and Anne-Marie"
11/12/15
John Bale from Pontardawe

In Scotland however ‘missives’ are usually concluded at a much earlier stage – at which point there is a binding contract so that neither party can walk away from the deal. And in Scotland, these ‘missives’ are not signed personally by seller and purchaser but by their respective solicitors.

In England and Wales, probably the two most important elements of the conveyancing process are the exchange of contracts, usually between the buyer and seller's solicitors, and completion. When exchange takes place the buyer usually puts down a 10% deposit. This is the first point at which the seller and buyer are legally committed to the deal. If the buyer pulls out, for whatever reason, they lose their deposit. Conversely, the seller cannot accept a higher offer and if they pull out the buyer can claim compensation.

After exchange, a date will be fixed for completion and this usually takes place within a few weeks. The balance of funds for the purchase is paid and at completion, the transfer of ownership takes place. 

The whole process is often made even more complex because an individual may be a link in a chain of buyers and sellers. One deal cannot proceed unless all the other transactions in the chain work as well.

Most sellers also turn to an estate agent to sell the property and purchasers use these estate agents to find properties, check them out, and make offers.