Five frequently asked conveyancing questions

In the context of house moves, conveyancing is the legal and administrative work associated with changing ownership of a property from one party to another. In practice it’s an umbrella term that includes exchanging contracts, transferring finances for the property and a host of other related tasks.

Conveyancing is frequently identified as the most stressful aspect of the moving process and many homeowners fret both before and during the procedure. It’s definitely one of the most complicated aspects of moving and one which can cause no end of worry. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

A lack of knowledge can often increase the relative stress of conveyancing, as can the fact that it is almost entirely handled by a provider (traditionally a solicitor) with frequent but basic input from the homeowner. However, too much stress can be detrimental, as homeowners will have other tasks to be getting on with while the conveyancing process takes place.

To reduce stress and help you on your way, here are five frequently asked conveyancing questions and detailed answers.

How long will conveyancing take?

Traditionally the conveyancing process will take between 8 and 12 weeks from initial instruction to completion, but bear in mind this is the estimate for a single, uncomplicated sale involving a freehold property. Leasehold properties, or those with unusual features e.g. a listed building, may take longer. You should always book your conveyancer in plenty of time to allow for any delays, and complete your part of the process as quickly as possible to reduce the possibility for any hold-ups.

How much will conveyancing cost?

This will depend on whether you opt for a solicitor or a licensed conveyancing provider; however most quotes given in the UK for a standard house sale will be between £250 and £1300. Quotes that fall outside the lower limit should be treated with caution, as many will attempt to entice you in and then whack on associated fees at a later stage in the process.

What can I do if my conveyancing provider is inefficient?

Solicitors should provide you with a client care letter which details the company’s grievance procedures. Your first port of call should be a phone call to a senior partner who may be able to sort the problem out quickly. If you do decide to end the relationship you will be billed for the time already spent on your case; if you feel this is unfair you’ll need to get in touch with a regulating authority. In the case of solicitors this is the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) for registered conveyancing providers.

If I pull out of a sale must I still pay for conveyancing?

If you decide to pull out after exchange of contracts you open yourself up to a host of potential legal action as you will be breaking a binding agreement. You will need to check your terms and conditions with your conveyancer.

Before exchange of contracts you’re free to pull out at any time but you will be required to pay for the work your provider has completed. This will include the basic fee plus any disbursements (fixed costs incurred by the provider and passed onto you) up to that point.

Can I perform my conveyancing myself?

In some instances you can but it is often inadvisable to do so. Leasehold properties should always be handled by a solicitor or conveyancing provider, but for freehold properties it is technically possible to conduct the conveyancing process yourself – there are a number of software packages to make it easier for you. However, conveyancing is a very important legal process and any mistakes made can affect property ownership and cause financial difficulties in the long run. In addition, the large amount of time needed is often worth more during a house move than the money saved.

This article was written by, who provide conveyancing quotes free of charge from their website. They also offer a comprehensive range of information on the moving process, including a moving checklist and tips and tricks for packing efficiently.

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