When you’re selling a house or flat, good preparation is key to helping things go smoothly. Find out what you can do to help speed up the conveyancing process.
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Conveyancing is a catch-all word covering all the legal work that happens to enable the transfer of ownership of a property from one person to another. As a seller, conveyancing happens in the period between you accepting an offer and the day when you give your keys to the estate agent for your buyer to collect.
The Scottish system works a little differently, so if you’re buying there check out our guide to conveyancing in Scotland.
There are three main stages in the conveyancing process when you’re selling a property:
When you’ve accepted an offer on your home, you’ll need to find solicitor or licensed conveyancer to carry out the legal work on the sale.
Your estate agent may try to tell you otherwise, but you’re under no obligation to use their in-house service or any companies they recommend.
Solicitors are all qualified to do conveyancing but, as they tend to offer a range of legal services, if you want to use a solicitor you should look for one with lots of property law experience. Conveyancers are trained legal specialists who only offer conveyancing (and sometimes probate) services and so can cost a little less.
Choosing a company offering a ‘no-move, no-fee’ guarantee means you won’t lose money if your purchase falls through. It’s also worth making your decision based on the firm’s reputation, as well as its fees, and ensuring you use someone who has enough time to give your sale the attention it deserves.
Once you’ve chosen a solicitor or conveyancer, they’ll work with you to provide your buyer with essential information about your home. This part of the process often takes a while so the more you can do to help speed things up, the better.
You’ll have to fill out a number of forms (usually TA6, TA10, TA13 and, for leasehold and share of freehold properties, TA7), as well as supplying paperwork including a mortgage statement. You’ll also need to help your solicitor with any queries that come through from your buyer’s solicitor. If you’ve had any work done to the property, such as structural work, rewiring or changes to the plumbing or central heating, you may be asked for certificates showing the work has been approved by a professional.
Digging out your paperwork in advance means you’ll be able to provide it quickly if asked. You can also complete some of the legal forms before you’ve even accepted an offer. Preparation like this can really help to speed up the process.
Your solicitor will use all of the information gathered to finalise the terms of the sale with your buyer’s solicitor and draw up a legal contract.
When everyone is happy to proceed, both you and your buyer will sign and exchange contracts via your solicitors.
At this point your sale becomes legally binding, meaning you can heave a sigh of relief. Among other things, the contracts will confirm a date for completion – the day when the ownership of the property is legally transferred to your buyer.
On completion day, your buyer’s solicitor will transfer the remaining funds to your solicitor and you’ll hand over the keys to your estate agent and move out.
If you're just selling a property, you'll pay somewhere between £500 and £1,500 in conveyancing fees. If you're buying a new property as well, you'll need to pay for the legal work on both your sale and purchase, typically totaling £750 to £2,500.
Charges vary depending on the type and location of the property in question and the firm you use, but cheapest is not always best.
Selling (and/or buying) a property is likely to be one of the biggest commitments you'll ever make, so paying a little extra for an experience, reputable firm who won't let you down is usually money well spent.
Conveyancing is the legal process you have to go through if you’re buying, selling, remortgaging or extending a lease.
Typically, a sale or purchase in England or Wales will take around 8-12 weeks from the moment an offer is accepted to the point of completion.
However, the conveyancing process varies from case to case and it can take longer depending on the complexity of the transaction, the number of people in the chain (if applicable), and how quickly you can respond to queries from your conveyancer.
When you buy or sell a property, conveyancing typically costs between £500 and £1,500. But fees can vary depending on a number of factors including the firm you choose, the type and price of the property in question, and where it’s situated.
See our guide to conveyancing fees to find out more about the costs involved, or use our cost calculator to get a personalised quote with a cost breakdown.
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A conveyancer is a legal professional who specialises in property law and can carry out the legal side of buying or selling a property, remortgaging or extending a lease.
This is a penalty charged by your mortgage lender if you pay off the mortgage early. It compensates the lender for lost interest.
An estimate of a property’s worth made by a surveyor or property specialist after a brief inspection of the property.
The surveyor will use their knowledge of comparable prices nearby. The valuation may include a 'minimum reinstatement value' which is the sum of money it would take to rebuild the property from scratch. Valuation surveys are only conducted in the interest of the lender, and you should always opt for a more comprehensive survey of your own to identify any issues which could affect you.
An energy performance certificate (EPC) provides details of how energy efficient a property is and what can be done to improve it.
EPCs are created by energy assessors who check the type and age of the heating boiler, windows, light bulbs and existing insulation and provide an EPC rating of A (highest) to G (lowest).
An EPC is needed for properties when built, sold or let. Find out more about EPCs.
A property chain occurs when at least one vendor is selling their home to a buyer who also has property to sell and, as a result, there are a number of linked transactions depending on each other.