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England and Wales
Conveyancing process

Understand the legal process of buying a home with our step-by-step guide below - or get a free quote for your conveyancing from our preferred partner.

Find a solicitor

Find out how to choose the best solicitor or conveyancer for your home move.

How to choose a solicitor or conveyancer


Once you’ve had an offer accepted on a property you want to buy, or have accepted one on your own home, you’ll need to find a solicitor or conveyancer to carry out the legal work for you.

To help your move run smoothly, it’s essential to use a reliable, experienced professional who won’t let you down. Getting recommendations from friends and family, reading reviews online, and having an initial chat with prospective firms are all good ways of finding a solicitor.

Below, we explain the main factors you should consider to find the best company for you.

Choosing a good solicitor or conveyancer

Before hiring (or ‘instructing’) a solicitor or conveyancer, there are some key things to bear in mind:

1. Solicitor or conveyancer?

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 sometimes probate) services but will always specialise in property law.

As they offer a wider range of services, solicitors tend to be slightly more expensive than dedicated conveyancers.

However, if your property sale or purchase is tied in with another legal matter, such as a divorce, it may be better to use a solicitor who will be able to help with these issues as well.

2. How much should I pay for a good solicitor?

Conveyancing for one property sale or purchase typically costs between £500 and £1,500, although fees can vary depending on the firm you choose, the type and price of the property in question and where it’s located.

If you’re selling a property and buying a new one at the same time, you’ll be able to use the same solicitor or conveyancer for both the sale of your current house and the purchase of your new one. In this situation, you’ll be charged conveyancing fees for both the sale and the purchase, normally totalling £750 to £2,500.

While this can seem like a lot of money in an already-expensive process, it’s important to remember that cheapest is not always best: more experienced practitioners with good reputations will often cost a bit more.

Moving home is likely to be one of the biggest financial transactions you ever make, so paying a little extra for a decent, reputable conveyancer or solicitor is generally money well spent.

You can occasionally find solicitors advertising fees as low as £200, but be wary as they will often carry hidden extra charges which mean you could end up paying more than you expected in the long run. Look for a firm offering a fixed, upfront fee to avoid costs mounting unexpectedly throughout the process.

For extra peace of mind, choose someone offering a ‘no-move, no-fee’ arrangement, which means you won’t pay for the conveyancing if your move falls through. It's important to be aware, though, that you may still be charged for any searches that have been carried out or other costs already paid by your solicitor on your behalf.

3. Do I need a local solicitor?

You may think that choosing a local solicitor or conveyancer will make it quicker and easier to iron out problems and hand over documents, but it’s much more important to opt for someone who’s efficient, communicative and has the capacity to deal with your purchase. If you use a firm based in a different area, documents can be posted or sometimes scanned and emailed.

4. Do I want a dedicated case handler?

Having a single point of contact from start to finish can be a godsend when it comes to conveyancing. You won’t have to spend time explaining things several times to different people and, if you do have a query, you’ll know exactly who to speak to.

We’d recommend looking for a firm that promises a dedicated solicitor to handle your case the whole way through.

Dos and don'ts

Do:

  • Choose a conveyancer or solicitor offering fixed fees - this will help to keep costs under control.

  • Look for a 'no-move, no-fee' deal - this means if the purchase falls through, you won't have to pay your conveyancing fees. 

  • Be clear about costs from the start - use our conveyancing fees guide to help you.

Don't:

  • Assume you need to use a local firm - someone who is efficient and keeps in touch will do the job just as well.

  • Just choose the cheapest option - paying a little extra for an experienced conveyancer is money well spent.

  • Be fooled by extremely low quotes - there are likely to be hidden fees that will cost you more in the long run.

Related FAQs View all FAQS >

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.

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.

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Jargon buster
  • Conveyancer

    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.

  • Disbursements

    These are legal fees and expenses paid on your behalf by your solicitor or conveyancer. They include the fees paid for official copies of deed and title documents, estate agent's fees, and any bank charges for transferring funds.

  • Lender

    A lender is an individual, bank or building society that provides a mortgage loan to a borrower. The borrower will repay the mortgage in regular instalments, usually over a period of five to 30 years.

  • Leasehold

    If you own a leasehold property, you have a right to occupy the land or property with certain conditions in place, but it’s technically owned by the freeholder.

    Find out more about the difference between leasehold and freehold properties.

  • Freehold

    If you own a property on a freehold basis, you own it along with the land it stands on. As a freeholder you will have full responsibility for the maintenance and repairs of the property.