What is Conveyancing?

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Conveyancing refers to the transfer of legal ownership of a property from one person to another.

What does the Conveyancing process involve?

The process starts when the seller has accepted the offer made by the buyer.

It involves ensuring that the legal and administrative side of the transfer of ownership is complete to validate the transaction under the law.

Though you may take up the task yourself, due to the legal and administrative formalities involved, you should seek the aid of a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.

Arranging the finances

If you have the resources, you can come up with the deposit and sale price yourself. Otherwise, you may consider taking out a mortgage or asking a family member for a loan.

There are different kinds of mortgages. You should consider each to assess which is right for you.

If you are buying your new home and selling the existing one at the same time, you may also require a bridge loan.

In other circumstances, you may also be able to remortgage.

Engaging a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer

One of the initial stages of the process is engaging a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer after you have accepted an offer.

What is the difference between the two?

Though they carry out the same tasks and largely follow the same process, there is a crucial difference between a solicitor and a Licensed Conveyancer.

A fully licensed conveyacning firm is not able to provide the same breadth of legal services as a firm of solicitors.

However, is come cased, Licensed Conveyancers may be able to carry out some probate work so long as they are sufficiently qualified and have the right experience.

What will a solicitor or licensed conveyancer do for you?

Your solicitor or licensed conveyancer will request the seller’s solicitor to provide a draft contract and supporting documents (i.e. title documents, completed property information form, or lease agreement).

They will inspect the draft contract and the supporting documents and does some property searches. These searches will provide you with the practical information you need to decide whether you want to buy that property or not.

Property searches

  • Local authority searches - checks Through this, you get information about local planning issues, local road and rail schemes, and whether the road is adopted..
  • Land Registry searches - This is to confirm that the seller actually owns the property.
  • Water authority searches - c- you will get information about whether any public sewers are running within the property's boundaries.
  • Environmental searches - a search that checks a wide range of environmental factors such as local contaminated land and provides predictions about flooding and other hazards and other related important information.
  • Chancel repair search – you will find out whether the property is subject to chancel repair. After you know this, you can decide whether you should take out chancel repair insurance.

Through these various property searches, you will acquire practical information regarding your desired property, which you may otherwise not be aware of. You can use this information to negotiate your deal with the seller.

Exchange of contracts

Thereafter, the seller’s solicitor or licensed conveyancer will draw up a finalised agreement, and the parties will agree on a date and time to exchange contracts. The exchange of contracts legally commits both you and the seller to the to the property's sale on the agreed terms and price; this is the point of no return.

You will likely have to pay a deposit at 5% or 10% of the sale price at the exchange of contracts. Regardless of whether you are the seller or the buyer, if you cancel the deal after the exchange of contracts has taken place, you may find yourself having to pay heavy penalties.


Following the exchange of contracts, you will set a time and day, known as completion day. On this day, the actual sale or purchase will take place and the remaining balance proceeds will be submitted to the seller.

In between exchange of contracts and completion

However, there is an essential task you have to carry out after the exchange of agreements and before the completion day. You have to lodge your interest in the property in the Land Registry. This will allow you thirty (30) working days to pay the seller and apply to the Land Registry to transfer the property's legal ownership under your name.

Remaining processes

The process that remains after completion is the payment of stamp duty and receiving title and other important documents from the Land Registry, which your solicitor or licensed conveyancer will do for you.

Conveyancing costs

The Conveyancing cost has two major components: solicitor or licensed conveyancer’s fee and disbursements. If you want further information, on which costs you will incur in the Conveyancing process, please see our article on this subject.

How long will it take?

The entire process, on average, takes eight (08) to twelve (12) weeks. However, it can take longer on a case to case basis, but you can take some measures to speed up the conveyancing process.


The conveyancing process has to be carried out diligently and with utmost attention so that there are no legal defects in the title being passed on. Some parts of these processes require hiring specialists.

For instance, to carry out the actual process, you may engage a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. Additionally, you can hire independent firms which will carry out various property searches. You will have to bear the conveyancing cost, so you have to figure out how you will do it. 

Lastly, you should remain on top of the entire process because it may cause a legal defect in your title.

Please note that the information provided on this page:

  • Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
  • Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
  • Does not create a contractual relationship;
  • Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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