Conveyancing is the name given to the field of law that specialises in the sale and transfer of land and buildings.

Most people in the UK only ever deal with a solicitor when buying or selling property and the solicitor they use is likely to specialise in conveyancing. Nowadays, Licensed Conveyancers, that is to say qualified technicians that are not solicitors but are qualified in the specialisation of buying, selling and transferring land and property on behalf of their clients, are playing a larger part in the conveyancing process. Many solicitors now employ licensed conveyancers to undertake this work on their behalf.

Allowing for local searches, a mortgage valuation and the preparation of a contract for sale, the compilation of the transfer document and the completion statement, a standard house conveyance might easily take 4 - 6 weeks to complete. Sometimes delays will substantially extend this period. It is also quite feasible to fast track the process and exchange and complete within days, but this is very unusual and is normally limited to sophisticated professional investors with no need for a mortgage and a very motivated legal representative!

In any event, it is prudent to employ a suitably qualified person to act in the purchase, sale or letting of your property. If you are planning to buy with the aid of a mortgage then your mortgagee (the lender) will insist that you do so and the conveyancer will probably also act for the mortgagee as well as for yourself. In most cases though, you will pay their fees too.

Conveyancing fees are usually set in accordance with the value of the property being transferred and may vary slightly between conveyancers. In addition to your solicitor’s conveyancing charges, you are likely to incur other costs such as search fees, land registry charges, mortgage arrangement fees, valuation fees and associated costs, dependent on whether you are buying or selling.

Related article: 'What is a Licensed Conveyancer?'

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