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A guide to conveyancing

Around 1 million homeowners in the UK move every year – and each property that changes hands must go through conveyancing. Here are the key points.

Around 1 million homeowners in the UK move every year – and each property that changes hands must go through conveyancing. Here are the key points.

Written by
Sajni Shah
Consumer expert on money and utilities
Last Updated
26 APRIL 2023
4 min read
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What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process associated with the transfer of land or buildings from one person to another. The process starts once an offer is accepted on a property and ends when the final contracts and payments have been completed.

How does conveyancing work?

Most commonly, a solicitor or licensed conveyancer is put in charge of conveyancing and it’s their job to:

  • handle contracts between the buyer and seller
  • update or register the ownership of the property with the Land Registry
  • organise the payment of stamp duty, if applicable
  • conduct local searches – for example, to check if there are any plans for new developments in the area.

Be aware that when you apply for a mortgage, a lender might offer you a list of conveyancers they've selected. Sometimes the conveyancing service might be include as part of the mortgage deal, but you'll usually have to pay a separate conveyancing fee. You're free to choose – and pay for – your own conveyancer if you wish.

If you're selling a property, your estate agent should be able to recommend a solicitor to handle your conveyancing or, again, you could choose your own.

What else should I think about when choosing a conveyancer?

Check whether the price you’re offered by a conveyancer includes VAT and if there’ll be any additional charges. Some providers offer a no-completion, no-fee service that could protect you if a property sale falls through.

How much does conveyancing cost?

The cost of conveyancing varies. According to Compare My Move, the average cost of conveyancing fees in 2023 are £2,239 for buying a house and £1,690 for selling a house. If you want a better idea of how much you should expect to pay, use their conveyancing fees calculator. Since December 2018, solicitors in England and Wales have to publish conveyancing fees on their websites.

It’s worth factoring in the other expenses of moving to a new home. Mortgage lender fees typically covers a booking fee, administration fee and valuation fee. Stamp duty is another cost to think about. You can calculate how much stamp duty you might have to pay on the government’s website.

Can I do my own conveyancing?

You can do your own conveyancing but the process is complicated and, if it isn’t managed correctly or mistakes are made, problems could arise - for example, with a boundary dispute. Most buyers are typically better off using a legal professional for their conveyancing.

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Sajni Shah - Consumer expert on utilities and money

Sajni is passionate about building products, allowing Compare the Market to help you make great financial decisions. She keeps track of the latest trends and evolving markets to find new ways to help you save money.

Learn more about Sajni

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