A quick guide to conveyancing solicitors
It is important that you find reputable property solicitors or a licensed conveyancer who will ensure everything runs smoothly when buying or selling a house.
To give you a head start, our quick guide to conveyancing solicitors and what they do will help you on your way. To find out more details about how the conveyancing process works, you can read our complete guide to conveyancing .
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is a term that refers to all of the legal aspects of moving house and administrative work associated with transferring the ownership of a property from one person to another.
The process will start once you accept an offer on a property or your offer has been accepted and will finish once all relevant contracts have been signed and money transfers have been completed.
Solicitors can carry out conveyancing however they’re also licensed to advise and practice other parts of the law. Conveyancing is best undertaken by specialist conveyancing solicitors or licensed conveyancers who act on behalf of a buyer or seller.
All solicitors in England and Wales need to be registered with the Law Society and regulated by the Solicitors Regulations Authority (SRA) and conveyancers will need to be licensed and regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own societies which are the Law Society of Scotland and the Law Society of Northern Ireland.
Why do I need a conveyancing solicitor?
When you buy, sell or remortgage a property, you will need to hire a conveyancing solicitor (property solicitor) to make sure that both parties are meeting all the necessary legal requirements. They will handle the transfer of rights to the property to ensure that no legal issues arise.
Some mortgage lenders will also require you to use a conveyancing solicitor who is on their panel. It's worth looking at the costs of these conveyancing solicitors, and whether it's worth the difference in your mortgage.
What is the cost of conveyancing?
Conveyancing fees range from between £250 to £1,500. The average conveyancing costs will vary depending on the value of the property you wish to buy, sell or re-mortgage and whether is it freehold, leasehold and whether schemes such as Right to Buy or Help to Buy are being used. There are other costs for things like using a Gifted Deposit, or sometimes for accesing savings from a Lifetime ISA.
Find out more about solicitor’s fees for buying a house and solicitors fees for selling a house by reading our article on conveyancing costs and fees.
What will my conveyancing quote include?
The quotes from your conveyancing solicitors will include basic fees, disbursements and expenses. The basic fees will cover the cost of your solicitor or conveyancer’s time. Disbursements and expenses are costs that are incurred by your solicitor or conveyancer which are passed onto to you. The kind of disbursements you are likely to be charged for include: local authority searches, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Land Registry, environmental and drainage searches. Expenses have VAT added and include, electronic ID verification, telegraphic transfers and dealing with shared ownership or new build properties.
You can use our Moving Costs Calculator to discover how much Stamp Duty will cost you when moving house.
How long does the conveyancing process take?
The average conveyancing process takes between 8 and 12 weeks to be completed. You can find out more details about the process by reading our step by step guide about the stages of the conveyancing process, which is full of helpful tips and advice.
Conveyancing in Scotland
The process for buying or selling a property in Scotland is different to England and Wales. It is important to note that since April 2015, Stamp Duty Land Tax, in Scotland is now called Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. To find our more information read our useful guide to conveyancing in Scotland.
Buy to let
A buy to let property is a building that is purchased for the purpose of renting it out for a profit. A buy to let property requires a specific type of portgage and can create unique circumstances for first time buyers. For more information read our buy to let guide.
If you are struggling with the legal jargon of conveyancing, then read our conveyancing glossary of terms and definitions to make moving house that little bit easier.
*Average saving was calculated using data collected from May 2021 - April 2023. Our goal is always to ensure people get the best range of quotes for conveyancing solicitors in their area. We offer up to 4 quotes from property solicitors.