Definition - Conveyancing
Area of Law: Conveyancing


Moving Home - Get Conveyancing Quotes

Most of us will at some point will sell or buy a house.  Although the prospect of moving home is daunting and fraught with legal challenges, hiring a qualified property solicitor can help you through the conveyancing process.

But what is conveyancing?

When we move home, we need to transfer the land (and/or property) from one party to another party.  This legal transfer of the title is called conveyancing.

Conveyancing is a word that describes all the legal and administrative work that is taken to make sure that the transfer of the property is legal and valid under law.  This is usually done by a licenced conveyancer who will undertake the work required by law to transfer property between parties.

Conveyancing can also involve the creation or cessation of an ownership interest in land or property.

The conveyancing process commonly involves two fundamental legal transactions; the exchange of contracts and completion, although the process also incorporates the pre-contract stage.

These transactions are usually undertaken by a local solicitor or qualified conveyancer on behalf of the vendor (the seller) and purchaser.  However, this is not always the case.  Many conveyancing transactions are now conducted from a distance using the internet and/or email.  

Although it is possible to carry out your own conveyancing, it can be extremely difficult, especially if the transaction involves a mortgage.  Our advice is to always seek out a reputable firm of solicitors who specialise in conveyancing.

Our simple and quick form lets you compare conveyancing quotes online instantly.

Putting in an 'offer'

When a house is 'on the market', it is usual practice for the seller to sell the property at a price that has been advised by an Estate Agent who has local knowledge.  

When a buyer is interested in the property, they typically 'put in an offer' - ie an agreed price that the buyer is willing to pay for the property.  It's up to the vendor (seller) to decide whether to accept that offer or decline it.

Once an offer has been accepted, the conveyancer is then instructed to carry out their 'searches' and other pre-contract enquiries, and draft a contract to be approved by the buyer's solicitor.  

It is the conveyancing solicitor's job to carry out enquiries, known as Conveyancing Searches, which will discover factors that the estate agent or surveyor may not be aware of, including:

  • Local authority searches which may reveal charges and restrictions of use
  • Title register searches at the Land Registry
  • Environmental risks, such as potential for flooding
  • Drainage searches from the local water authority
  • Chancel repair searches
  • Local authority searches, including noise abatement zones, common land, pipelines etc.

Depending on various factors, it takes an average of around 2-3 months for a conveyancing transaction to complete.

Exchange of contracts

The exchange of contracts is the process whereby equitable title passes from the vendor to the purchaser.  In other words, it is the signing and exchange of the signed contracts between the party buying the property, and the party selling the property.

The exchange of contracts is usually carried out by a qualified property solicitor - also known as a 'conveyancer' or 'conveyancing firm'.

Any agreement to buy a property is not legally binding until the contracts are exchanged to avoid wasting time and money.


Yeah, it's moving day when you get the keys and move into your new house!

Completion is the means whereby legal title passes from the vendor to the purchaser, and gives rise to the common phrase "completion day".  When this happens, the seller must have left the property, and the buyer can move in.

Completion usually happens at any time between 7-28 days after the contracts have been exchanged, although it is possible to complete and exchange on the same day in some cases.  However, this carries an element of risk as you have a lot to organise in one day, including arranging removals firms.

Depending on what has been agreed between the buyer and seller (and legal process), the actual completion day is agreed in advance.  

In most countries conveyancing is facilitated by a system of land registration based on established public records. In some jurisdictions conveyancing agreements are not considered legally binding until the exchange of contracts has taken place. In others there is an element of legal protection offered to the purchaser once their offer has been accepted by the vendor.

On completion day, the money should be transferred from the buyer to the seller, typically through your solicitor, so this transfer is normally arranged on a weekday when solicitors firms are at work.

It's common practice to pick up the keys to your new house either from the estate agents acting on behalf of the vendor, or for the vendor to hand them to you directly as you are moving in.

Compare online conveyancing quotes

Buying and selling a property is a minefield. It's difficult to know which solicitor to take care of your conveyancing needs. Luckily, there's a simple answer - comparing quotes before you instruct.

We'll help you find the best conveyancers for your property, for the sake of your wallet and your peace of mind.

Just one simple form and you'll be able to compare quotes from professional, qualified conveyancing firms.

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