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.

Tobi Owens From the Mortgages team
minute read

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.

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How much does conveyancing cost?

The cost of conveyancing varies. Typically, conveyancing fees cost between £850 and £1,500 (including VAT). Local searches usually cost a further £250-£350. You might be able to find a cheaper deal for conveyancing by searching online. Since December 2018, solicitors in England and Wales have to publish conveyancing fees on their websites.

Mortgage lender fees typically covers a booking fee, administration fee and valuation fee. Stamp duty is another cost to think about – and this would cost a home mover £2,500 on a property worth £250,000. 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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