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What is a conveyancer and what do they do?

Whether you’re a first time buyer or you just haven’t been through the process for a while, learning about what a conveyancer does will help you understand your home buying or selling journey a little bit better.

We’ll take you through their day to day in this helpful guide to conveyancing. So, let’s get into it.


What is a conveyancer?

A conveyancer is a legal expert who guides you through the process of buying or selling a property. Their role is to handle the legal side of things and make it clear and simple for you to understand.

The conveyancer will work with you to get contracts prepared, find out everything about the property, and ensure the ownership title gets transferred properly from seller to buyer.

They'll also take care of completion - the last stage where the funds are transferred, and the keys change hands. They deal with the legal obligations, so you don't have to.

You can hire either a licensed conveyancer or a solicitor to act as your conveyancer and steer you through the property transaction smoothly. With their expertise, the complex becomes clear.

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What’s the difference between a solicitor and a licensed conveyancer?

Whether you choose a solicitor or licensed conveyancer as your property lawyer, they'll guide you through the process in the same way.

The difference is that licensed conveyancers specialise in residential property transactions. It's their bread and butter. Solicitors are qualified in broader legal practice.

At the end of the day, they both have the expertise to handle the conveyancing and make it understandable for you.

The key is having an accessible property lawyer dedicated to your sale or purchase from start to finish. One who simplifies the journey for you, not complicates it.

At Eden, we take transparency seriously & endeavour to provide a simple, stress free experience.

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Does a solicitor cost more than a conveyancer?

Fees for the legal work involved in conveyancing typically cost between £1,000 and £2,000.

The cost depends on various factors, including property cost, location, whether you’re buying or selling, and more. The more complex the case, the more you’re likely to be paying.

More complex cases include new builds and leasehold properties. Your conveyancing cost could also be made more expensive through gifted deposits and using Help to Buy or Lifetime ISAs, this does not necessarily make the case more complex, but it is additional work.

On average, conveyancers and solicitors charge comparable fees. As prices fluctuate across firms, it’s best to shop around and try and look out for both quality and price.

Every situation is unique. If your case has complex legal aspects – like a divorce tied into the property sale – you can separate things. Whilst a solicitor can act for your divorce, a licensed conveyancer can handle the real estate transaction side.

What does a conveyancer do?

Now you know what a conveyancer is, let’s have a look at what they do. A conveyancer will work with you from when your offer is accepted or you have accepted an offer, all the way through to completion.

Throughout the process, your conveyancer should keep you updated on progress and make sure everything runs smoothly.

From conducting searches to registering your property, here is what a conveyancer will do in more detail:

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1. Instruction

Whether you’re buying or selling a property the first step after accepting or having an offer accepted is to instruct a conveyancer. If selling a property, a seller can instruct their conveyancer before even listing the home to help speed up the eventual transaction by getting all paperwork and background checks done in advance.

Once you have accepted their quote and have agreed for them to work on your behalf, they can get started working on your property transaction.

Your conveyancer will need to know some information about you and your transaction before this though, including:

  • Contact information
  • Date of birth
  • National insurance number
  • ID (passport and/or driving license)
  • Who your estate agent is
  • Whether you’re a cash buyer or need a mortgage
  • Where your deposit is coming from
  • Information on the property you’re buying

2. Conduct searches

When you’re buying a home, a few viewings can’t uncover everything. Some things might not be obvious, things like flood risks, planning issues, or potential subsidence that could be lurking.

That’s where searches come in. They dig up information you may have not even thought of.

Searches can include:

Environmental searchesEnvironmental searches check for potential contamination, flood risks, and other environmental factors that have or may impact a property.

Local authority searchA search into public records held by the local council that tells you about planning permissions, building regulations, conservation areas, listed buildings, and highways.

Mining search: A search to check whether the property could be impacted by past or present mining.

Water and drainage searchConducted to let you know whether the property is connected to main water and sewerage, and who owns them. If it isn’t, then there could be a private water supply or sewerage and your conveyancer will find out who owns it and what rights the property has.

Want to learn more about property searches? Check out our property searches guide here.

3. Documents, forms, and more forms

Both the buyer’s and seller’s conveyancer have a lot of documents and forms to draft, review, and sign. Your conveyancer can explain any of these to you and you will be informed of progress along the way.

The seller’s conveyancer will send a copy of the draft contract for the buyer’s conveyancer to review. They will also send a copy of the Title Deeds.

Along with these, the buyer’s conveyancer will also be sent protocol forms. Including:

  • Seller’s Information Form: The seller must disclose anything and everything they know about the property, from parking to disputes and complaints from within the neighbourhood.
  • Fittings and Contents Form: Will list out fittings and contents within the property and what will be left and what will not on completion.
  • Leasehold Information Form: This is only applicable if you are buying a leasehold property. This form includes things like the lease term, permissions and restrictions ground rent, and any contact details required.
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5. Request of initial deposit

As a buyer, your conveyancer will request your deposit in time for contracts to be exchanged.

The standard deposit amount is usually 10% of the purchase price, though it can be negotiable between 5-10% depending on what is agreed.

6. Plan exchange of contracts and completion date

Planning a date for the exchange of contracts and completion date sounds simple. But property chains can throw a spanner in the works when both buying or selling. We understand how frustrating it can be. A single broken link can leave the whole chain stuck in limbo.

The longer the chain the more complex planning can become, but with strong communication and organisation from conveyancers involved, things will move forward.

It could be difficult to organise the exact completion date you want. Being flexible here can help to reduce delays.

Don’t make any arrangements for removals until your completion date is confirmed, you may have to cancel or rearrange if you do, incurring additional costs.


7. Exchange of contracts

Exchanging contracts is a key milestone as its legally binding event. Once you’ve agreed to a date to exchange contracts and that date rolls around, both conveyancers will swap contracts that need to be signed in advance.

The buyer will also pay their deposit at this stage for the seller’s conveyancer to hold securely until completion.

Once signed, both the buyer and seller have an obligation to complete the property transaction. If the buyer pulls out at this stage, they’ll lose their deposit. If the seller pulls out, they will have to refund the deposit.

Either party could also face a breach of contract for pulling out after signing contracts, which may lead to litigation, but it depends on the situation.

8. Completion

Your completion day is typically 1-2 weeks after exchanging contracts, though it can be any agreed date.

This busy day sees the buyer's conveyancer request and transfer mortgage funds, ensure the agent releases the keys, and prepare registration documents.

The seller's conveyancer confirms receipt of funds, authorises the agent to release keys, signs mortgage statements, and finishes any outstanding tasks.

At Eden, we'll always be transparent with you every step of the way. You can check in on progress on our 24/7 online platform or contact your property lawyer anytime with questions.

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9. Post-completion

A conveyancer’s work isn’t over when the sale is complete. There are still a few loose ends to tie up.

The buyer’s conveyancer will submit the signed deeds to the Land Registry to officially register the buyer’s ownership. Stamp duty will also be paid on their behalf.

It can take some time before the Land Registry sends back the legal papers to confirm the buyer’s name on the property, so don’t worry if you don’t get it back as quickly as you thought.

For leaseholds, the conveyancer informs the landlord that you have been assigned to the lease, ensuring that ground rent and service bills go to the right place.

Every property transaction has its own quirks. Additional or unique steps may be needed in certain cases. The conveyancer will steer their client through whatever necessary steps are needed. New build conveyancing will typically require more legal work, learn more about new build conveyancing here.


Do I need to hire a conveyancer?

Using a conveyancer isn’t legally mandatory. But most lenders make it a requirement when you’re getting a mortgage.

And it’s for good reason. Lenders want reassurance about the property before releasing large loans. Similarly, the buyer needs to get the same security.

While technically possible to DIY, the conveyancing process has a lot of complexities. A legal professional will steer you through safely.

Conveyancers provide helpful knowledge so you can proceed with confidence. Their skills and experience allow them to navigate the intricacies involved in buying or selling a home.

How to choose the right conveyancer for you

Choosing the right conveyancer shouldn’t be hard, but there are so many options that it can be overwhelming.

Purchase or selling a property is a big transaction. Make sure you trust your conveyancer. When selecting a conveyancer, ask about their workload and if a licensed conveyancer or assistant will handle your case, as high workloads, and reliance on paralegals (who are not fully qualified property lawyers) may indicate poor service quality, support, and a higher risk of errors.

Here are some key things to look out for when choosing a conveyancer.

Choosing a conveyancer

  • Good communication: Consider their communication model. How often and through what methods they provide updates, how accessible they are, and who you are dealing with throughout the process.
  • Positive reviews: Reviews offer an unbiased opinion from customer experiences. Compare conveyancers on Google, Trustpilot, and social media to assess their service quality.
  • Tech-savvy: Ask about their use of technology for updates, document sharing, ID checks, and anything else. Outdated processes like insisting on postal correspondence can cause inefficiencies when compared to a conveyancer embracing digital tools.
  • Clear pricing: Carefully evaluate all inclusions and exclusions in fee structure, ask questions and avoid assumptions around hidden costs and VAT. Be wary of ‘No sale, no fee’ offers that may differ from expectations.
  • Customer focused: Ask conveyancers how many other cases they’re working on. Inquire about their average caseload and if they rely on less qualified assistants rather than directly handling your sale/purchase themselves.
  • Accredited: Confirm that your conveyancer is regulated by the CLC or SRA. You should also check what panels they’re on. Mortgage lenders will only deal with certain conveyancers and solicitors, a good indicator of trust.

Many think they need a conveyancer close to home, but this isn’t true It’s far more important to use a conveyancer you trust.

Who isn’t going to consider the price? We get it. But going for the cheapest doesn’t mean it is the best option. Ask yourself: how is a firm able to offer the cheapest rates? What element of service had been reduced to charge cheaper prices?

At Eden, we pride ourselves on providing a quality service whilst remaining competitive on prices. Our bespoke online platform allows us to keep you updated at each step, without compromising on quality. Learn more about how to choose a conveyancer here.

Frequently asked question

What do conveyancers do?

In short, conveyancers are legal professionals who facilitate the legal transfer of property ownership from one party to another.

They play a key role in ensuring that property transactions proceed smoothly and by relevant laws and regulations.

Conveyancers handle various tasks such as conducting property searches, preparing, and reviewing legal documents, organising the exchange of contracts, and coordinating the settlement process.

What fees do conveyancer typically charge for their services?

You can expect to pay between £800 and £2,000 for your conveyancing fees. The exact amount will vary depending on which conveyancer you choose and your unique property transaction.

When searching for a conveyancer, it’s important to do some research. Get some quotes, and ask questions about their processes, technology, workloads, and approach. This will give you a good idea of who will be the best fit for you.

What qualities should I look for when choosing a conveyancer?

When it comes to choosing a conveyancer, there are certain qualities that you’ll want to look out for. Here’s some of them:

  • Communication:What’s their communication model and how easily can you reach them? You’re likely going to be working with them for at least a few months, make sure they’re there when you need them.
  • Positive reviews: Online reviews offer an unbiased opinion. Compare conveyancers on Google, Trustpilot, and their social media.
  • Tech-savvy: Ask about their technology use for document sharing, ID checks, updates, and anything else. Outdated processes might delay your journey.
  • Clear pricing: Evaluate their pricing carefully for inclusions and exclusions, ask questions and avoid assumptions around hidden costs and VAT.
  • Customer-focused: Ask about their workload and how many cases they manage at once. Check whether they rely on less qualified assistants too.
  • Accredited: Confirm that your conveyancer is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers or the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Also, check what mortgage lender panels they’re on, this can be a good indicator of trust.

How long will conveyancing take?

Conveyancing can take anywhere from 12 – 24 weeks on average. Each property transaction is unique, your journey may take longer than average, or it could be shorter. There are a lot of moving pieces that impact the conveyancing timeline, property search chain complexity, and negotiation are just a few.

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Simple, transparent conveyancing

At Eden, we understand that buying or selling a home can be overwhelming. We’re here to make conveyancing simple.

We will be in touch with you weekly, providing updates and being there when you need us. You can contact your property lawyer whenever you like, to ask whatever you like.

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