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Guide to conveyancing

Guide to Conveyancing

This is a short guide to residential conveyancing for property buyers and sellers in England and Wales.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process that transfers a property from one person to another. It makes sure the legal title to the property is passed from the seller to the buyer. The transfer of funds for the sale is handled by the lawyers representing the buyer and seller.

What does a conveyancing solicitor do?

Conveyancing lawyers act for either the buyer or the seller in a property transaction. A solicitor cannot act for both sides.

For lawyers acting for the buyer, conveyancing will usually involve:

  • Carrying out property searches, and reviewing title documents;
  • Raising enquiries with the seller’s lawyers and reviewing replies to enquiries;
  • Amending and approving a contract and transfer document;
  • Preparing a report on title;
  • Arranging the exchange of contracts with the seller’s lawyers;
  • Handling completion by transferring funds to the seller’s lawyers;
  • Submitting SDLT forms and payment to HMRC, and registration of the purchase with the Land Registry.

For lawyers acting for the seller, conveyancing will usually involve:

  • Checking the title register and plan and reviewing Law Society forms;
  • Creating and sending the draft contract;
  • Replying to enquiries from the buyer’s lawyers;
  • Reviewing the contract and transfer deed;
  • Proceeding to exchange of contracts;
  • Drafting a completion statement and dealing with completion of the sale.

What are mortgage lender panels?

If you are obtaining a mortgage to fund your property purchase, your solicitor will be acting on behalf of your lender as well when organising the transfer of your mortgage funds. Mortgage lenders have a panel, or approved list, of solicitors that can act for them.

There is a list of mortgage lenders we work with here.

What are searches?

Searches are legal enquiries made by the buyer’s solicitor to find out about the property, including the local authority, water and drainage agencies, the Land Registry, and an environmental search.

Searches can reveal charges or restrictions relating to the property, planning agreements and conditional planning permissions, and proposals for new roads, railways or planning decisions that could affect the property, as well as outstanding statutory notices, breaches of planning or building regulations or a compulsory purchase order.

What is the legal title to a property?

The legal title is the ownership of the property, which is usually documented in title deeds, which show the chain of ownership for land and property, details of which are registered with the Land Registry.

What is the Land Registry?

The Land Registry is a part of government which holds records about most property or land sold in England or Wales.

What is the exchange of contracts?

The seller’s lawyer will usually draw up the legal contract to transfer ownership, which will contain details about the property including the price, the fixtures and fittings included in the sale, and any legal restrictions or rights which apply to the property.

When both sides agree the details of the contract, copies are signed, and then exchanged by the conveyancing lawyers making the sale legally binding. A date for completion of the contract will be agreed and put in the contract.

What does completion of the contract mean?

On the agreed completion day the balance of the money is transferred from buyer to seller, and once the buyer receives notification the transaction has gone through, they can then collect the keys to their new home and move in.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a tax payable when you buy a residential property in England. In Wales there is a land transaction tax. How much stamp duty is payable depends on the value of the property.

How much does conveyancing cost?

Our conveyancing solicitors act for clients nationally for property transactions in England and Wales.

You can get an instant online quote for conveyancing fees 24/7.

Get your quote now ››

Use our conveyancing fees calculator to get online quotes 24/7, or if you prefer to talk to someone, please call us (9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday) or send an e-mail.

phone 01707 246100

email quotes@bishopsgatelaw.com


If you send an e-mail please include your full name, a telephone number we can reach you on, and tell us briefly about the property transaction, including the sale or purchase price and location. Please do not attach any documents or share links. We respond to quotes e-mails as soon as we can during working hours.

Our fees and costs for residential conveyancing

There is more information about our fees and costs for residential conveyancing, what we will do, and who will work on your matter, here: