What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the term given to the legal transfer of home ownership to the buyer, from the seller. The process begins when the offer on a house is accepted and it ends when the buyer receives the keys to their new home. In addition, conveyancers manage the transfer of funds during the purchase of a property, see featured image the transfer of funds and how conveyancers fit within this chain.

Homeowners who are remortgaging a property will also need a conveyancer if they are switching lender to manage the legalities of removing the original lender’s interest from the property to the new lender. Conveyancers are also involved with the transfer of funds between the new lender and the old lender to clear the previous debts.


Who does conveyancing?

Key professionals that carry out conveyancing are, solicitors, property lawyers or licenced conveyancers but many conveyancers are solicitors who have chosen to specialise in conveyancing only. Homeowners are legally allowed to undertake the conveyancing process without specialist support however the process can be very complicated and time consuming if you do not have the knowledge or experience. Some lenders will request professional conveyancing services are carried out in order to protect their investment. This is because there will be a greater risk of the process falling through without trained professionals conducting the conveyancing.


What does a conveyancer do?

Conveyers carry out a range of different administrative and legal duties to enable the process to progress smoothly. These include:

  • Matching requirements with timescales
  • Organising appropriate searches for the property – See more below in ‘What searches do conveyancers do?’
  • Working with sellers’ solicitors to progress the transaction
  • Making enquiries on the buyer’s behalf to sort out queries
  • Checking mortgage offers and dealing with special conditions
  • Reporting back providing key information and important updates
  • Arranging dates for exchange of contracts and completion
  • Submitting a tax return and transferring funds for any stamp duty


What searches do conveyancers do?

A key part of the conveyancing process involves a set of legal property searches that are carried out to identify any issues that you should be aware of. Some searches will be recommended by the solicitor and others will be required by the mortgage lender.


Local authority searches- these provide detailed information about the property and surrounding areas for example, if there a plan for a new busy road right next to the property.

Environmental search – highlights potential issues including; flooding risk, landslips, subsidence, radon exposure and contaminated land from landfills/waste sites.

Water authority searches – identifies who the water supplier is and requiring confirmation that the sewers, drains and piping are maintained by the supplier. Also finds out whether there are any public drains on the property that could pose problems with regards to future extensions or building work.

Chancel repair search – if the location of a property is within the parishes of a church it is important to identify whether you are liable for contribution towards the cost of the repairs to the church.

Optional and Location specific searches – occasionally extra searches are required or recommended based on the location or type of property which can raise concerns with the buyers. Examples include mining searches, additional local authority details e.g. public paths, common land, noise abatement zones.


Delays with conveyancing

As there is a lot of administrative and legal work that goes into conveyancing which means that there is the chance of it holding up the whole buying process. Similarly, conveyancing can be delayed by external factors including:

  • Missing documents
  • Long chain of buyers involving lots of properties and circumstances
  • Adverse search results meaning further investigations are required
  • Buyers pulling out of the process


How can you reduce the chances of delays?

Although sometimes there are delays that are due to reasons out of your control it is important to remember there are steps that you can take that may help the process progress more efficiently.

  • Provide relevant ID evidence promptly
  • Provide relevant evidence of funds promptly
  • Sign and return documents in accordance with requests promptly
  • Provide prompt payment for searches when requested


Finding the right conveyancer

Here at Windsor Hill Mortgages we work regularly with a number of qualified and experienced conveyancers, therefore we are able to recommend professionals that you can be assured will be proactive with getting the process completed smoothly. Speak to one of our advisors on 01225 962 456 to discuss your conveyancing options.

The FCA does not regulate conveyancing and solicitors.