FAQs

Top FAQs

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.

A freehold property is owned by you outright, together with the land it stands on. A leasehold property is ultimately owned by the landlord – or freeholder – but with ownership granted to the leaseholder for a specified time (normally 99 years for a standard flat).

If you’re buying or selling a leasehold property, the conveyancing process can take slightly longer as there will often be additional enquiries relating to the terms of the lease.

Find out more about the conveyancing process when buying a leasehold property.

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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.

Usually, conveyancing is carried out by either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.

It is possible to do the conveyancing yourself, but it’s time consuming and risky if you're not an expert. Few people choose to undertake conveyancing themselves, and many mortgage lenders insist it be done by a qualified professional – as there is a lesser risk of things going wrong.

Solicitors are qualified lawyers who can offer a wide range of legal services. If you choose to use a solicitor, make sure they have plenty of experience (and preferably specialise) in property law.

Licensed conveyancers only offer conveyancing and/or probate services, but specialise in property law.

A freehold property is owned by you outright, together with the land it stands on. A leasehold property is ultimately owned by the landlord – or freeholder – but with ownership granted to the leaseholder for a specified time (normally 99 years for a standard flat).

If you’re buying or selling a leasehold property, the conveyancing process can take slightly longer as there will often be additional enquiries relating to the terms of the lease.

Find out more about the conveyancing process when buying a leasehold property.

Gazumping happens when you've had an offer accepted on a property, but a different buyer then makes a higher offer which the seller accepts.

If you’ve had your heart set on a property, being gazumped can be very upsetting. You could try to negotiate with the seller via their estate agent, and up your offer if you can afford to. However, given that in England your offer is not legally binding until contracts are exchanged, in reality there’s little you can do.

Next time, once your offer has been accepted, insist the property is taken off the market and any for sale sign replaced by a sold sign.

Keep in regular contact with the seller's agent – tell them when you have completed the survey and received a formal mortgage offer. This assures them the sale is progressing.

Not always. If you opted for a conveyancer or solicitor offering a no-sale, no-fee deal, you shouldn’t have to pay your conveyancing fees if the sale falls through.

You may still be responsible for extra fees, though, such as any searches that have already been carried out.

This will depend on the age, condition and size of the property.

There are three levels of survey: a basic lender’s valuation; a homebuyer report; and a full building survey.

It’s advisable that you don’t settle for a basic lender’s valuation, and instead pay for a more comprehensive survey to check for any issues such as damp or dry rot that could end up costing you money later on.

Find out more about the different types of survey.

If you are purchasing a property with a mortgage you will always need to have searches as a condition of the mortgage.

If you are buying a property outright with no mortgage then it's up to you whether or not to have searches.

Generally, it's a good idea to have them as they can uncover important issues about the property such as flood risk, contaminated land and whether any alterations have received planning permission and building regulations consent. 

Typically, a sale and/or purchase in Scotland will take around 4-8 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 solicitor.

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We carried out a rigorous selection process to identify Shoosmiths as our first preferred partner.

Shoosmiths is accredited by The Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme and is one of the UK’s largest national law firms, with 120 dedicated expert conveyancing staff ready to assist you.

We believe Shoosmiths has what it takes to deliver a professional, expert and transparent conveyancing service. 

However, our work doesn’t stop there. We’re working with Shoosmiths to monitor and continually improve the service delivered to customers. 

Learn more about the relationship between Which?'s preferred partner.

We've negotiated a 5% discount on Shoosmiths' standard conveyancing fee for customers who sign up through Which?.

Simply use our cost calculator to get a free quote and then, when you're ready to proceed, request a call back to appoint Shoosmiths and claim your 5% discount. 

We are working with Shoosmiths on an ongoing basis to continually enhance the service offered to customers, and make sure you're receiving a conveyancing service you can count on. 

In the unlikely event that you do have any problems, you can speak to your dedicated case handler at Shoosmiths. They will work with you and your conveyancer to resolve your issue as soon as possible.

Still concerned? You can get in touch with our friendly Which? team by phone or email.

Yes. Which? receives a referral fee of £90-£175 – depending on the transaction – for every customer who completes their entire conveyancing journey with Shoosmiths.

This doesn't affect the price you pay; the 5% discount you receive is deducted from Shoosmiths’ standard fee.

The fee we receive covers the cost of running our site and goes towards the work that we do campaigning on behalf of all consumers.

Shoosmiths have a number of office across the UK to assist customers who wish to deal with certain issues face to face.

Offices are located in London, Reading, Birmingham, Southampton, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Manchester and Basingstoke, with most of the conveyancing work undertaken in Northampton.

The majority of conveyancing queries, discussions and actions can be carried out by phone or email and it's very rare that any aspect of conveyancing would need to be dealt with in person.

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