Guide to conveyancing solicitors in England and Wales

What is conveyancing? How much will I pay for conveyancing? What you need to do and what your solicitor will do to help you buy, sell or remortgage your home.

Guide to conveyancing solicitors in England and Wales

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of a property from one person to another. The property can be leasehold or freehold. On behalf of the buyer, the conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer must ensure that he or she obtains 'title' to the land; ie,  that the person selling the property has the right to sell with no factors that would obstruct a mortgage or a re-sale. The solicitor will also commission searches on the property. It is best to get several conveyancing quotes.

Have you been offered a No-Sale-No-Fee deal?  Let us explain what this involves.

Normal practice

Under English and Welsh law agreements are not legally binding until contracts are exchanged. This gives both parties the advantage of freedom before contract, but also the disadvantage of wasted time and expense in the event the deal is not done.

The normal practice is for the buyer to negotiate an agreed price with the seller. The buyer then organises a survey and the buyer’s solicitor subsequently carries out searches and pre-contract enquiries. The seller's conveyancing solicitor will collect and prepare property information to be provided to the buyer's solicitors. It takes approximately 10-12 weeks to complete a conveyancing transaction but this can be affected by many factors such as personal, social and financial.

Exchanging contracts

In the phase before the exchange of contracts (exchange is the point when the transaction becomes legally-binding) either party can cancel the transaction. This can be done at any time and for any reason, with no obligations to the other and can lead to a risk of gazumping and its opposite, gazundering.

When you exchange contracts, you commit yourself to the purchase and to the agreed terms. This is an important hurdle in the home-buying process and normally involves payment of a deposit (typically 10 per cent of the purchase price).

What do clients ask their solicitors? We list four common conveyancing questions that you may want to ask.

Completion date

At the completion date, you pay the balance of the price (and stamp duty and other fees), and take ownership of the premises. This is organized via the Transfer Deed; a document that passes the ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.

It is dated with the completion date and will be sent to the Land Registry after completion. The Land Registry needs this deed to change its records and show the buyer as the new owner of the property.


  • Fiona Burnett says...

    posted on 11/09/2014 20:49:39

    I have read this article & find it very informative & useful.

  • C.wild says...

    posted on 23/01/2016 02:19:55

    We have now 11 months into paying our mortgage and still we are waiting for our lease from dc law we have been passed from solicitor to a anyone available to answer our email unfortunately we settled our bill in full before our paper's were complete so now you've had our money you don't care the next t step is the ombudsmen which I will be sending all the emails and information on to them asap I hope I never have to deal with this dreadfull company again

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