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Helpful topics

Finding a conveyancer

It’s important to find a conveyancer and solicitor early on when purchasing property, as you will need their services throughout the process of buying a home.

You should only put down an offer on a property you want to buy after you’ve found a solicitor or conveyancer that you are happy with.

How to compare conveyancers

Firstly, you should compare conveyancers based on cost. Moving is an expensive business and many people forget the associated costs. Anything you can do to reduce the fees and charges that come with buying and selling and home is worth doing.

However, you will want to consider the service on offer as well as cost. Buying a home is a complicated transaction and if something goes wrong having an attentive, communicative and personalised service will be much appreciated.

How much should conveyancing cost?

Conveyancing services are usually charged as a fixed fee, but some will charge at an hourly rate or ask for a fee as a percentage of the property price.

Conveyancing, including the searches, usually costs somewhere between £800 and £2,000 but this can vary depending on the cost of the property and the amount of additional legal work required.

Try to get quotes from at least two different conveyancers, and be sure their costs are broken down into each aspect of the job. You will want to know how much they will charge for arranging the following:

  • Searches
  • Bank transfer
  • Stamp duty
  • Land Registry
  • Additional legal work
  • Any other services such as postage and courier

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer. There are several steps to this process, which is why home buyers and sellers pay for a solicitor or conveyancer (a specialist in conveyancing) to handle it.

A solicitor or conveyancer will handle all other legal aspects of the process, which includes requesting and handling contracts and giving legal advice.

They will also carry out local council searches and deal with the Land Registry to check if there are any legal implications or issues with the land you are buying. They will also transfer the funds from your bank to the seller’s to pay for your property.

The difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor

The main difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer is that a solicitor can offer a full range of legal services that may not always be necessary for buying a home.

Therefore, a solicitor is likely to be more expensive, although they could be useful if you need legal advice on more complex home buying issues.

On the other hand, conveyancers are specialists, rather than fully qualified lawyers, so they may be unable to help if any complex legal matters.

You could potentially do the conveyancing yourself, although it is very difficult and time consuming, and you may only be allowed to do so if you are not taking out a mortgage.

How to find a conveyancing solicitor

We compare quotes from our panel of conveyancing specialists based on the information you provide. You can find a specialist that’s right for you.

If you’d prefer to go the traditional route you can ask friends or family if they can recommend a conveyancing solicitor or conveyancer. There’s a good chance that someone you know will have had a positive experience with their conveyancer.

You can also ask your mortgage provider, but be sure to still do your research elsewhere as there’s a strong possibility that your lender’s conveyancer is on commission and will cost you more.

If you used a mortgage broker or independent financial adviser to help you find your lender, then ask them if they can also help you find a suitable conveyancer.

You could also check with an estate agent, but similarly to the mortgage providers, you may find that they are partnered with a conveyancer on a commission basis, which could end up costing you more.

In recent years there has been a rise in online conveyancing services. These online conveyancers tend to conduct all communications via phone and email, and you may not be assigned an individual conveyancer, but levels of service will vary between companies.

Compare conveyancing quotes

Find a conveyancer or solicitor to help you complete your property purchase or sale. Compare quotes from a select panel of conveyancing specialists with uSwitch.

Compare quotes

When do I need to find a conveyancer?

Once your offer to buy a home has been accepted you will then need to provide contact details for your conveyancer, who you have instructed to carry out the conveyancing.

If you are selling, you will need to do the same, as the home buyer’s conveyancer’s first task will be to write to the seller’s conveyancer.

They will request from the seller’s conveyancer the draft contract and any other necessary forms and information, such as the property’s title.

The conveyancer is required from the moment you make an offer to the moment you get the keys, so it is important to do your research before making an offer so that you find the right person for you.

What services should I get from a conveyancing specialist?

The services you should be paying for from a conveyancing specialist include:

  • Searches
  • Land Registry
  • Bank transfer
  • Exchange contracts
  • Stamp duty

You may have to pay for additional services and costs that arise from legal complexities and urgent issues.

Searches

The conveyancing searches will include checking with the local authority and other bodies to see if there are any local development plans which could impact your property.

Land Registry checks

They will also check the land registry to ensure that the seller is really the owner of the property you are buying. Conveyancers can also do additional checks on flooding risk and other potential environmental risk.

Transferring funds

Once the contract is signed, you will usually transfer the deposit to your solicitor who will then deal with exchanging the contracts. They will ensure both contracts are identical and all parties are happy to proceed. After this point the deal must go ahead and is legally binding.

Stamp duty

The conveyancer will then deal with transferring the mortgage money to the seller, and will pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax due on your behalf.

Exchanging contracts and completion

The conveyancer will deal with any loose ends and finalise the completion, which includes sending legal documents to the Land Registry, sending a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage provider (your lender will keep this until the loan is paid off).

Good communication and guidance

You should also expect your conveyancer to provide you with good communication about what stage you’re at and what needs to be done next. It should be easy to get in touch with them and they should be available especially when an issue needs to be resolved urgently.

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