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FAQs: Conveyancing – general information


What is the general process of conveyancing?

Conveyancing means the legal process of buying and selling property. When a buyer makes an offer on a property, their estate agent will ask for their conveyancer’s details, as the latter will need to communicate with the seller's conveyancer. The buyer’s conveyancer will manage the legal and administrative work which then ensues. This includes

  • Locals searches
  • Land charges searches
  • Land registry searches
  • Calculating and paying stamp duty on the client’s behalf

What is the difference between a licensed conveyancer and a conveyancing solicitor?

Since 1985 licensed conveyancers, regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, can undertake the legal aspects of conveyancing. However, conveyancers are not generally qualified solicitors. Conversely, a specialist conveyancing solicitor will be aware of additional legal problems that may arise during property transactions, for example, if their client is disposing of the marital home during separation or divorce. In England and Wales, all solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Can I undertake the buying of property by myself?

Legally, this is possible. However, conveyancing is a time-consuming and complex process, and unexpected difficulties can occur. If something goes wrong, your solicitor will have the professional indemnity to cover many eventualities, whereas a private individual will not. Additionally, a mortgage company may be unlikely to lend on this basis; as they will judge that a solicitor will look after their interests most competently throughout the transaction.

What is the difference between freehold and leasehold?

Conveyancing with regard to a leasehold property will take more time and may cost more, because of the additional work for the conveyancer in checking the lease.  A leasehold property is one where you buy the right to live in the property for a set period, after which the property reverts to the freeholder. In contrast, a freehold property is yours until you decide to sell it.

How much will conveyancing cost?

It may be helpful to ask friends and family for recommendations, and to obtain several quotes. Generally-speaking, the conveyancing fee plus other costs, such as Search fees, Land Registry fees, and electronic transfer fees, could amount to £600 plus VAT if your property costs £100,000. However, if a conveyancer charges well below the going rate, it may be because they have taken on a large volume of clients, and you may not get the attention your transaction requires.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on conveyancing, Caven can put you in touch with a local conveyancing solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local conveyancing solicitors please call us on 0808 129 5758.

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