What is Conveyancing? What is Conveyancing


What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is defined as the transfer of property ownership from a seller to a buyer.

Once a sale is agreed, both parties need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer.

Their role is to essentially put the whole transaction together.

Using a conveyancer is, therefore, an essential part of buying or selling a house.

It’s one of the first questions the estate agent or property buying company will ask you.

If you’re selling at auction, you’ll need to have a conveyancer in place before your property goes up for sale.  Auction buyers should also have a conveyancer in place to avoid costly delays.

Conveyancing - Instructing Legal Professionals to Undertake The Process of Buying and Selling Property

What Does a Conveyancer Do?

  • Confirm all the details provided by the estate agents in the Memorandum of Sale;
  • Establish terms of business and conveyancing fees;
  • Undertake anti-money laundering (AML) and identification checks;
  • Provide guidance and advice throughout the transaction;
  • Liaise with the other conveyancer to ensure a smooth sale;
  • Liaise with the other solicitor to deal with the sale contracts and transfer documents;
  • Exchange and complete;
  • Handle any post-completion enquiries.

Roles of Both the Buyer's and Seller's Conveyancer

The Buyer’s Conveyancer 

In addition to the above, the buyer’s conveyancer will…

  • Undertake all the searches;
  • Examine contract pack sent by the seller’s conveyancer;
  • Raise enquiries to the seller’s conveyancer, including unfair clauses;
  • Run through any lease with a fine-tooth comb;
  • Obtain a copy of the mortgage offer from the seller’s conveyancer;
  • Fully report back to the buyer, highlighting any issues of concern;
  • Receive deposit funds;
  • Prepare draft transfer deed and forward to seller’s conveyancer;
  • Ensure the buyer signs the draft transfer deed;
  • Organise pre-completion searches and liaise with the mortgage lender for the advance of funds;
  • Ensure the timely transfer of deposit and mortgage funds;
  • Pay and register the stamp duty payment at HM Land Registry;
  • Pass on all the relevant details of the sale to the HM Land Registry to confirm new ownership;
  • Assist, where necessary, with any onward purchasing intentions.

Roles of the Buyer's Conveyancer

The Seller’s Conveyancer 

In addition to the above, the seller’s conveyancer will…

  • Send out the ‘sellers pack’ once instructed. The conveyancer may also call this a ‘client care’ or ‘welcome’ pack;
  • Undertake the relevant ownership checks at HM Land Registry;
  • Obtain official copies of the deeds / title register and plan alongside other relevant documentation;
  • Obtain details of outstanding mortgage / secured loans;
  • Send and help you with completing the legal forms – namely the TA6, TA10 and TA7 for leasehold properties.  See info. + specimens here;
  • Produce the draft contract and send to the buyer’s solicitor;
  • Respond to enquiries raised by the buyer’s solicitor;
  • Redeem (or ‘pay off’) any mortgages or secured charges owed;
  • Check the title and transfer deeds prior to exchange/completion;
  • Forward title deeds title and transfer deeds to the buyer’s conveyancer alongside an undertaking to discharge any existing mortgages/secured debts;
  • Ensure the seller’s sign the transfer documents;
  • Ensure the property is vacant (unless sold with other conditions);
  • Ensure the transfer of any proceeds of sale upon completion in a timely manner;
  • Pay any estate agency fees due.  The conveyancer will also take their own fee (remember to compare conveyancing quotes beforehand).

Roles of the Seller's Conveyancer

If you are in a chain, then then you may be using the same conveyancer to represent you as both buyer and seller.

Either way, they should understand that you may be new to the process, avoid legal jargon and make themselves available to answer any questions.

It’s worth noting that these kinds of occurrences are rare and the UK has one of the safest legal systems in the world.

Please also note that you’ll usually also need to work with a conveyancer if you are transferring equity or re-mortgaging your house.

Conveyancing Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer?

Although it’s not always apparent, it’s worth knowing the difference between a conveyancing solicitor and a licensed conveyancer.

Conveyancing Solicitor

This is a legal professional that’s a fully qualified solicitor that often specialises in conveyancing.

They usually have a deeper understanding of inter-related areas of law which makes them useful if your case is a little more complex.

For example, in divorce or inherited property sale cases, you may be referred to other departments in the firm so that issues can be dealt with at the same time.

The solicitors must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and are required to be members of the Law Society (with a Lexcel accreditation).

Conveyancing Solicitors Need to be Registered at the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Law Society

Licensed Conveyancer

This is a legal professional licensed by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).

They are specialists in property law only and do not deal with other areas.

Although they do not have the wider legal remit of solicitors, there’s an argument that using a Licensed Conveyancer has it’s a number of extra advantages.

They’re dealing with property transactions day-in-day-out and therefore have a profound knowledge of every eventuality that could happen with your house sale.

They also have to undertake a series of examinations to get where they are.

Licensed Conveyancers Need to be Registered at the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)

It’s Worth Noting…

Generally speaking, you’re going to be paying less for a licensed conveyancer.

There are some lenders, however, that will only deal with certain conveyancing solicitors (usually the ones that have a minimum number of partners)

In these circumstances, conveyancers often work with solicitors in order to get over this issue. Or you may have to pay the mortgage lender’s legal representation fees yourself.

In our experience, many conveyancers will absorb the extra costs themselves to keep your business.

Similarly, on the rare occasion that an issue appears during the transaction, a conveyancer may refer the case to a specialist litigation solicitor from a different firm to handle.

Note that both conveyancing solicitors and licenced conveyancers must have professional indemnity insurance in place.  This insurance will mean that you’ll be protected if anything goes wrong.