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Property Conveyancing in 2024 – How To Buy or Sell Your Home

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Table of Contents

  • Typical conveyancing fees: Around £2,250 for purchasing and approximately £1,700 for selling.
  • These expenses encompass solicitor fees, disbursements, and possible additional charges, based on an average UK house price of roughly £280,000 (including 20% VAT).
  • This data is derived from a survey of 50+ conveyancers across the UK for the year 2024.
  • Actual expenses may vary depending on factors like property value, location, choice of conveyancer, and service complexity.
  • High conveyancing costs can feel overwhelming, making it beneficial to compare quotes and understand the fee breakdown.
  • Our comprehensive guide aims to help you gain insight into the costs associated with buying and selling a property.
Property TypeAverage FeeHighest FeeLowest Fee
Selling freehold property£1,250£2,230£570
Buying freehold property£1,300£2,100£570
Selling leasehold property£1,520£2,050£625
Buying leasehold property£1,590£2,150£620
property conveyancing

If you’re buying or selling a property in the UK, you must go through the property conveyancing process. I’ve had my fair share of great stories and nightmare companies. 

 

I’ve used companies like Premier Property Lawyers, part of the Simplify group, and my experience could have been a lot better; I had to leave a lot of 1* reviews out of frustration, and they almost collapsed my sale. But I’ve been on the high street and had a great experience. Others are the total opposite.

 

This is the legal transfer of ownership from one person to another, and it involves a lot of paperwork, checks, and negotiations.

 

It’s a complex process that can take several weeks or even months to complete, but ensuring that the transaction is legally binding and that both parties are protected is essential.

 

During property conveyancing, a solicitor or conveyancer will act on your behalf to ensure that all legal requirements are met. They will conduct searches to check for any issues affecting the property, such as planning permission, environmental concerns, or outstanding debts.

 

They will also negotiate with the other party’s solicitor or conveyancer to agree on the terms of the sale, including the price, completion date, and any conditions that need to be met. Once all the paperwork is in order, the conveyancer will arrange to transfer funds and exchange contracts, and the property will officially change hands.

Understanding Conveyancing

If you are buying or selling a property, you must go through the conveyancing process. Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from one person to another.

This process involves several legal and administrative tasks, which a solicitor or conveyancer usually carries out.

The Conveyancing Process

During the pre-contract stage, the solicitor or conveyancer will conduct several searches and checks to ensure that the property is legally sound. This may include checking the title deeds, conducting local authority searches, and checking for planning or environmental issues.

 

Exchange of Contracts

Once all the necessary checks have been completed and both parties are happy to proceed, the contracts will be exchanged. At this point, the buyer will usually be required to pay a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price.

 

Completion

Completion is the final stage of the conveyancing process. This is when the purchase price balance is paid, and the keys are handed over. The solicitor or conveyancer will also register the change of ownership with the Land Registry.

Role of Solicitors and Conveyancers

Solicitors and conveyancers play a vital role in the conveyancing process. They are responsible for ensuring that the legal process is followed correctly and that all the necessary checks and searches are carried out.

 

A solicitor is a qualified legal professional who can provide various legal services, including conveyancing.

 

A conveyancer, on the other hand, is a specialist in property law who focuses solely on conveyancing.


Both solicitors and conveyancers are regulated by professional bodies, meaning they must adhere to strict codes of conduct.

 

This ensures that they provide a high standard of service to their clients.

 

It is important to have a solicitor or conveyancer who is knowledgeable and experienced in this area to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that your interests are protected.

property conveyancing

Initial Checks and Searches

Before buying or selling a property, it’s important to conduct initial checks and searches to ensure everything is in order. 

 

This includes:

  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Checks: As a buyer or seller, you must provide proof of identity and address to your conveyancer or solicitor. They will then conduct AML checks to ensure you are not involved in criminal activity.

  • Property Searches: Your conveyancer or solicitor will conduct various property searches to ensure no issues with the property or the surrounding area. These searches may include a local authority search, a water and drainage search, an environmental search, and a chancel repair search (if applicable).

Handling Contracts

Once the initial checks and searches have been completed, it’s time to handle the contracts. This includes:

 

  • Drafting Contracts: Your conveyancer or solicitor will draft the contracts for the sale or purchase of the property. These contracts will include details such as the purchase price, the completion date, and any conditions of the sale.

  • Negotiating Terms: If you’re buying or selling a property, you may need to negotiate the terms of the sale. This could include the purchase price, the completion date, or any other conditions of the sale.

  • Exchanging Contracts: Once the contracts have been finalized and agreed upon by both parties, they will be exchanged. This means the buyer and seller are legally bound to the transaction.

What Are The Conveyancing Fees?

Property TypeAverage FeeHighest FeeLowest Fee
Selling freehold property£1,250£2,230£570
Buying freehold property£1,300£2,100£570
Selling leasehold property£1,520£2,050£625
Buying leasehold property£1,590£2,150£620

Conveyancing fees are the costs associated with the legal process of transferring property ownership from one person to another. These fees can vary depending on the conveyancing process’s complexity and the transferred property’s value.

 

Some of the fees that you may encounter during the conveyancing process include:

  • Solicitor’s fees
  • Land Registry fees
  • Search fees
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

It is important to understand these fees upfront so you can budget accordingly and avoid any surprises later on.

Understanding Mortgages and Loans

If you are purchasing a property with a mortgage, it is important to understand the different types of mortgages and loans available to you. This will help you make an informed decision and choose the best option for your financial situation.

 

Some of the key terms that you should be familiar with when it comes to mortgages and loans include:

 

You should also know the different fees associated with mortgages and loans, such as arrangement fees, valuation fees, and early repayment charges.

 

Overall, it is important to approach the financial aspects of property conveyancing with a clear understanding of the costs and terms involved. By doing so, you can ensure that you make informed decisions and avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line.

property conveyancing

Key Stages of Property Conveyancing

When buying or selling a property, it is important to understand the key stages of property conveyancing. This will help you know what to expect throughout the process and ensure you are fully prepared.

Exchange of Contracts

The exchange of contracts is a crucial stage in the property conveyancing process. This is when both the buyer and seller become legally bound to the transaction. At this stage, the buyer usually pays a deposit, which is typically 10% of the purchase price.

 

Before the exchange of contracts can take place, both parties must have agreed on the terms of the transaction. This includes the purchase price, completion date, and any special conditions.

 

Once the contracts have been exchanged, it is important to ensure that you have adequate insurance, as you will be responsible for the property from now on.

Completion

Completion is the final stage of the property conveyancing process. This is when the remaining purchase price balance is paid, and the property officially changes hands.

 

The completion date is agreed upon during the exchange of contracts and is usually a few weeks after this stage.

 

On completion day, the buyer’s solicitor will transfer the remaining balance to the seller’s solicitor.

 

Once this has been received, the keys to the property can be released to the buyer. It is important to note that the completion date is legally binding, and failure to complete it can result in financial penalties.

 

By being well-prepared and working with a reputable conveyancing solicitor, you can ensure that the process runs smoothly and that you are fully protected throughout.

property conveyancing

Property Types, Freehold & Leasehold

Regarding property conveyancing, it’s important to understand the different types of property ownership. This section will explain the different types of property ownership, including freehold, leasehold, shared ownership, and lease extensions.

 

Freehold and Leasehold Explained

Freehold ownership means owning the property and the land it sits on outright. This is the most common type of property ownership in the UK. 

 

As a freeholder, you are responsible for maintaining the property and the land it sits on. You have the right to sell the property and the land, and you can change the property without seeking permission from anyone else.

 

Leasehold ownership means you own the property but not the land it sits on. Instead, you lease the land from the freeholder for a set period. Leasehold ownership is common for flats and apartments. 

 

As a leaseholder, you are responsible for maintaining the property, but the freeholder is responsible for maintaining the land. You may also have to pay ground rent, service charges, and other fees to the freeholder.

 

Shared Ownership and Lease Extensions

Shared ownership is a scheme that allows you to buy a share of a property and pay rent on the rest. This is a good option if you need help to afford to buy a property outright. You can buy between 25% and 75% of the property and take out a mortgage to pay for your share. 

 

You will also have to pay rent on the remaining share of the property.

 

Lease extensions are necessary if you own a leasehold property and the lease is running out. A lease extension will give you the right to extend the lease for a set period. 

 

This is important if you want to sell the property, as a short lease can make it difficult to find a buyer. You will need to pay a premium to extend the lease, and the amount will depend on the property’s value and the extension’s length.

What does a conveyancer do Post-Completion?

After completion, several important procedures must be followed to ensure a smooth transition into your new home. This section will cover the key steps you need to take to finalize the property conveyancing process.

 

Land Registry and Transfer of Ownership

One of the most important post-completion procedures is the transfer of ownership. This involves registering the property with the Land Registry and updating the ownership details. Your conveyancer or solicitor will take care of this process on your behalf. 

 

It usually takes a few weeks for the Land Registry to process the registration and update their records.

 

Once the transfer of ownership is complete, you will receive a confirmation from the Land Registry. This confirmation will include details of the property and the new owner’s name. It is important to keep this confirmation safe as it is proof of ownership.

 

Settling into Your New Home

After the transfer of ownership is complete, you will receive the keys to your new home. It is important to check that all the keys work and that you have the correct number. You should contact your conveyancer or solicitor immediately if there are any issues.

 

You should also ensure you have received all the necessary documents, including the title deeds. The title deeds prove that you own the property and contain important information about the property boundaries and any restrictions on its use. It is important to keep these documents safe and secure.

 

Finally, if you have used a removal company to move your belongings, you should ensure that they have been paid and that there are no outstanding issues. If there are any problems, you should contact the removal company as soon as possible to resolve them.

 

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Typical Conveyancing Problems

Dealing with Delays and Disputes

Conveyancing is a complex process involving much legal and administrative work. As a result, it is not uncommon for delays and disputes to arise during the conveyancing process. However, several solutions can help you deal with these challenges.

 

Delays

Delays can occur for various reasons, such as slow communication between parties, missing documents, or unexpected legal issues. 

 

To avoid delays, it is important to choose an experienced and efficient conveyancing solicitor. They will be able to keep the process moving smoothly and quickly and will be able to negotiate effectively with other parties to resolve any issues that arise.

 

Another solution to dealing with delays is to be proactive and organized. 

 

Ensure you have all the necessary documents and information ready before you start the conveyancing process, and keep track of all deadlines and appointments.

 

Disputes

Disputes can also arise during the conveyancing process, particularly when negotiating the terms of the sale. To avoid disputes, it is important to understand the sale terms clearly and communicate effectively with the other parties involved.

 

If a dispute does arise, it is important to resolve it as quickly and amicably as possible. This may involve negotiating a compromise or seeking the advice of a legal professional.

 

While delays and disputes can be challenging, several solutions can help you deal with them effectively. 

 

Choosing an experienced conveyancing solicitor, being proactive and organized, and communicating effectively with other parties can help ensure a smooth and successful conveyancing process.

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