UK Conveyancing Guide

Conveyancing is the legal term for the process of transferring ownership of a property between two parties. A conveyance is legal document known as a deed that conveys a property from the seller (or vendor) to the buyer.

Property conveyancing is usually carried out by a solicitor, a licensed conveyancer, or, in Scotland, a solicitor’s agent. It is possible to carry out your own conveyancing, but for most people this is not advised. Some estate agents offer in-house conveyancing services, although it is usually wiser to engage an independent solicitor in order to avoid any conflict of interest. It is also a good idea to engage a solicitor who has been personally recommended as frauds committed by solicitors are not unheard of, and have even increased in recent years.
For buyers, your conveyancer will require the property details, the name of the selling agent (if applicable), a list of items to be included in the sale, details of your financial sources, the name and contact details of your lender and when you wish to take possession.

If you are selling, the conveyancer will need details of the deeds, the name and contact details of your lender, copies of any planning consents, and the date by which you wish the transaction to be completed.

The conveyancing process (detailed below) takes on average 10-12 weeks to complete, but the timescale is determined by financial, legal, social and personal factors. During the period prior to contracts being exchanged either party can pull out of the transaction for any reason without obligation to the other, giving rise to gazumping or its opposite, gazundering.

The conveyancing process should involve the following:

1) Verifying ownership of the property and ensuring that a good title is obtained. Title refers to a bundle of rights in a property and is distinct from possession, which can accompany ownership but is not necessarily enough to prove it.

2) Carrying out local authority searches.

3) Ensuring that the land has been registered and checking the existence of any restrictive covenants. Restrictive covenants refer to the restriction of anything from the height or size of building, to the materials used in construction.

4) Ensuring that any planned alterations have necessary planning permission, building licenses, and that they have a warranty.

5) Checking that any debts against the property are cleared before contract exchange.

6) In leasehold properties, the lease and its clauses are checked.

7) Drawing up a contract of sale.

8) Registering the title in the name of the new owner after the property is sold.
There are a number of other checks that you can ask your conveyancer to carry out, for example:
a) Finding out who own any adjacent land, and checking the level of development that may be allowed, especially any commercial activity. Checking if there are planned developments in the area that may affect the value of the property (e.g a motorway, landfill sites, railway lines etc) is highly recommended.
b) Ensuring that the seller is the sole owner and actually has the right to sell.
c) Discovering if the property is prone to flooding is important especially with coastal properties or those near to rivers. Erosion and global warming issues should also be considered.
d) Discovering what the land both surrounding and under the property was originally used for which is especially important with relatively modern properties.
Many people successfully carry out their own conveyancing and it is entirely legal to do so. However the process is time consuming, complex and a good grasp of details and much patience is required. It is also risky as if a mistake in the contract is missed, it is possible to be left with a property you cannot sell. If it is the fault of the solicitor or conveyancer, you can at least sue.

If you do have a complaint about your solicitor, it is advisable to try to resolve it with them personally, if this fails you can report them to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors.

Our conveyancing solicitors and licensed conveyancers do not compromise on the service provided despite the low cost of the conveyancing package. Our conveyancers utilise revoluntionary conveyancing practices and procedures in order to ensure that they are able to provide a cheap conveyancing service without compromising on the quality of service that they provide.

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