Top Residential Conveyancing Questions

Published: 18/03/2019


Buying or selling a house is an exciting time, no doubt, but it can also be an overwhelming one. The conveyancing process is complex - there are so many different things to think about! To make the whole experience a little easier for our clients, we asked our Head of Property Lynne to answer some of the most common questions we are asked about residential conveyancing - that is, when you are buying or selling a home

Let’s get started…

1. I’m buying or selling a house, but I keep hearing the word ‘ conveyancing’ being used. What exactly is that?

Conveyancing is the legal transaction that must occur when you buy or sell a property. Conveyancing itself is the action of preparing documents for the ‘conveyance’ of property - when the legal title of the property (the ownership) will be transferred from one person to another, for example. Conveyancing generally has two major phases: the exchange of contracts and the completion. Conveyancing must be carried out by a qualified legal professional and it’s always best to opt for a solicitor with many years of experience in the property field, to ensure the whole process (which can be quite complex and confusing) goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. 

2. How long will my conveyancing take?  

On average, the conveyancing process usually takes between eight and twelve weeks. It can take as little as four weeks. 

Of course, how long the process will take can vary depending on your individual circumstances and, if you do have a deadline or any special requirements in mind, you should make this clear to your solicitor upon starting the conveyancing transaction with them. Please bear in mind that the length of time the conveyancing process takes may be out of your (and your solicitor’s) control. 

Some factors that can affect the timing of your conveyancing include:

• How many different individuals (buyers and sellers) are involved in the ‘chain’ (we’ll explain more later on)

• Whether your property is a freehold or a leasehold

• How quickly the searches are returned (for example, some local authorities take longer than others to respond). Please note: there may be many searches that could be required before buying your property e.g. local, drainage, flood risk, environmental, and so forth.

• Issues with the property title (such as missing title deeds on an unregistered property)

Buying or selling a shared ownership property, for which there are more rules and regulations attached

• If a problem is discovered with the property following a building survey

• When problems arise with the buyer’s mortgage

• Probate sales 

• If the seller is buying a new property that is not yet ready

• When a cash buyer does not have the funds available as they are waiting for an investment to release them

• Etc. 

As you can see, there are many, many factors that could complicate the conveyancing of your property, so you will need to be patient and trust that your solicitor is doing their best to speed the process up for you!

3. Can I exchange and complete on the same day?

Technically you can, however I’d advise against it. There are a number of reasons why it might not be practical, or even possible, to exchange and complete on the same day. In my opinion, the conveyancing process is difficult enough without adding this extra complication to the equation. 

For more information about exchanging and completing on the same day, read our article by clicking here. 

4. I’m buying a leasehold property. What does that mean for me?

Simply put, a leasehold is where you own the property but not the land it is situated on. The land is owned by the freeholder. It is normally flats which are leasehold properties. 

For more information, read our article by clicking here. 

5. What is a conveyancing ‘chain’?

The chain in conveyancing is when there are multiple people buying and selling properties and each person’s purchase relies on their sale. 

For example, Andrew is a first time buyer and he is buying a flat from Jane. Jane is using the money from the sale of her flat to buy a house from Sally. Sally is using the money from the sale of this house to buy another house from Sam. Sam is moving in with his family, so isn't buying a new home.

In this example, there are 4 people in the chain. There is no chain below Sam as he does not need to sell a property in order to complete on his purchase, so Sam is at the bottom of the chain. The first link is Jane, as she is using the proceeds of her sale to Andrew to complete her purchase - she is the first link. And so forth.

The smaller the chain, generally the less complications that could potentially arise during the transaction. 

6. How much does conveyancing cost?

The fee for conveyancing will vary depending on whether you are buying or selling the property

If you are selling a house, you will need to budget for the estate agent fees and legal fees. 

If you are buying a house, you will need to budget for legal fees and disbursements - you’ll need to be mindful of stamp duty, land registry fees, search fees, lender’s valuation fees and your own survey fees. 

If you decide to instruct GWlegal to do your conveyancing, you can rest assured we are 100% transparent when it comes to the fees you will pay. 

We offer a free quote service online here.

Why are we the best solicitors for you? 

GWlegal are a property solicitors based in Liverpool, specialising in buying or selling, remortgage, declaration of trust, bridging and buy-to-let landlords.

If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0345 373 3737 email us with your question.

Who are GWlegal? We’re a national firm with local values.

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Content correct at time of publication.

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