The Conveyancing Process – and the Fees You Need to Pay

conveyancing fees

by Paul Forrest on 6 Mar, 2012

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the term used to describe the legal work that must be carried out when buying or selling a property. Buyers and sellers usually hire the services of a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to act on their behalf. There are a number of essential tasks that the respective solicitors will need to perform; conveyancing fees may vary from solicitor to solicitor. In this article, we will examine the various tasks performed on behalf of both the buyer and seller.

Buying a Property

There are a number of legal activities involved in buying a property. The purchase will consist of two stages:

• Leading to the Exchange of Contracts
• After Exchanging Contracts up until the Completion of the Sale

Leading to the Exchange of Contracts
These would include:
• Contacting the seller’s solicitor to obtain the contract pack, including the Home Information Pack (HIP).
• Where a HIP is not needed, preparing preliminary searches in order to make sure that there are no issues with the land. The solicitor will examine all planning applications for the immediate vicinity.
• Checking all the legal paperwork; asking and checking the replies to questions regarding the legal paperwork.
• Checking the details of the mortgage.
• Arranging for the buyer to sign all necessary paperwork including the contract.
• Agreeing a Completion Date
• Exchanging Contracts

After Exchanging Contracts up until the Completion of the Sale
• Making sure that the property is insured.
• Making any further searches, if necessary.
• Obtaining the Mortgage Deed and ensuring that the buyer has signed the Deed.
• Preparing the Transfer Deed for the seller to sign.
• Requesting, in writing, the mortgage money from the lender.
• Paying the Stamp Duty, receiving the Stamp Duty Certificate and registering the Deeds.
• Completing the paperwork on any Life Insurance Policies.
• Paying the purchase money to the seller.
• Sending the Deeds to the buyer or the lender.
• Completing the sale.

Selling a Property

The necessary tasks will be similarly divided into two stages:

Leading to the Exchange of Contracts
• Preparing the legal paperwork and/or HIP.
• Preparing and sending the draft contract and other legal paperwork to the buyer’s solicitor.
• Answering any questions that the buyer’s solicitor may have.
• Arranging for the seller to sign the contract.
• Exchanging the Contracts.

After Exchanging Contracts up until the Completion of the Sale
• Obtaining the repayment figure from the mortgagor.
• Obtaining details of commission from the Estate Agent.
• Ensuring the seller has signed the Transfer Deed.
• Receiving the sale money and completing the sale.
• Sending the deeds to the buyer’s solicitor.
• Paying off any remaining mortgage and Estate Agent’s commission.
• Paying any balance to the seller.

How are Conveyancing Fees worked out?

Conveyancing fees should reflect:
• The legal costs of conducting the sale; this would include the Land Registry and Local Search fees, Stamp Duty and any charges relating to the telegraphic transfer of funds for the purchase of the property. This set of fees should come under the heading of Disbursements.
• The fees that the solicitor charges for performing the service of conveyancing. These should be outlined by the solicitor and agreed by the buyer or seller before any conveyancing work commences. The buyer or seller needs to be wary of hidden costs, such as telephone costs, charging for letter writing, filling in forms and photocopying fees, which may be added on to the conveyancing fees after the event.

How to Get the Best Deal

It is wise, when considering buying or selling a property, to obtain quotes from at least three different conveyancing firms. Check how the fees are broken down. Some solicitors may charge a fixed fee; others may charge according to the value of the property. Some firms may advertise “low-cost” conveyancing. It is advisable, in all cases, to make sure that you know exactly what you are paying for and whether certain fees, as detailed above, may be added on at a later date.

About the Author

Paul Forrest

Paul Forrest is an experienced writer in many fields of interest and we are delighted that he will now be a regular contributor to in 2012.