Complete buyers guide to conveyancing

6 min read

Buying a home? Find out more about conveyancing, timings, and fees. Get expert advice in our complete buyers guide to conveyancing.

  • Amy Colton, Conveyancing Manager and qualified solicitor
    Amy Colton

    Conveyancing Manager

    Published March 13th 2024

couple looking online at a conveyancing guide

What is conveyancing?

Strictly speaking, conveyancing is the legal transfer of property ownership from one person to another. In practice, conveyancing includes all the processes and paperwork that ensure a sale or purchase is conducted properly.

Find out more about what conveyancing is.

Why do I need a conveyancer?

Due to legal intricacies, the majority of those who are buying a property will need a conveyancer or solicitor to take them through the conveyancing process. Watch our short video to learn more about the conveyancing process.

What is the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?

A conveyancer can act in a legal capacity for all home moves and property transactions. They specialise in this area of the law, whereas a solicitor can act in all areas of the law. Either will technically be able to go through the process of conveyancing, however a specialist conveyancing firm won’t have a range of other responsibilities (such as court appearances) to juggle.

Find out more about conveyancers and what they do.

What are the conveyancing steps when buying?

For buyers, the process of conveyancing begins once your offer has been accepted. The steps include ID verification, requesting conveyancing searches and creating a draft contract. Watch our buying video to understand all the steps your conveyancer will go through to transfer ownership to you.

How long does conveyancing take for purchases?

How long conveyancing takes, is mostly dependent on yours and the sellers’ circumstances as well as the current market conditions. As a general estimate, for purchases, you’d be looking at around 16-24 weeks to complete.

The conveyancing process starts to get a bit more complicated and lengthy when any of the below are applicable:

  • You are buying and selling and there is a chain involved

  • The property is a leasehold

  • You are using other funds to help you buy, such as a gifted deposit, or Lifetime ISA

  • You are buying a probate property

  • There are delays from your seller

Find out more about how long the conveyancing process takes.

How much does conveyancing cost when buying a house?

Conveyancing costs vary depending on many factors, such as if you’re only buying, you could expect to pay around £1200, whereas if you are buying and selling, you could be looking at a cost of almost £2,000. If you’re buying a leasehold, you should also expect to pay more than if your property is a freehold. The best way to find out an estimated cost for your conveyancing is to get a quote, entering your details as accurately as possible. Alternatively, you can find a comprehensive list of conveyancing fees in our guide.

a lady with her dog looking online at the conveyancing quote for her home move

Get a quote

Enter the details of your purchase to get a personalised conveyancing quote in under a minute.

FAQs for buyers

Buying a house? Find answers to our frequently-asked questions below:

What is Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and do I need to pay it?

SDLT is a government tax on property purchases, over certain price brackets. If you’ve owned property before, the property price bracket to start paying stamp duty is currently £250,000, whereas for first-time buyer the threshold to start paying Stamp Duty is £425,000.

Find out more about what stamp duty is and the different thresholds are, or use our stamp duty calculator to get an estimated cost for the stamp duty payable on a purchase.

What documents will I need for my purchase?

Initially you will need to provide proof of ID, such as a passport or driving licence, and proof of residence in the form of a bank statement/utility bill. You’ll also need a statement to say how much your mortgage provider will lend you.

What are conveyancing searches?

Conveyancing searches are enquiries made by your conveyancer when buying a house. There are multiple searches you will need, and they look for different issues in the local area or with the property that may impact your purchase.

What are surveys?

When buying a house, your mortgage provider will carry out a valuation survey to check they’re willing to lend the amount requested. Once your offer is accepted, you can also arrange a home buyer survey, which is a detailed inspection carried out on the property.

Can I do my own conveyancing?

DIY conveyancing is possible if you’re a cash buyer, but it can be complicated as well as time consuming. You’ll need to spend a lot of time doing research, understanding the legal jargon and completing the paperwork. Plus, it might not save you as much money as you expect, as you’ll still have to cover buying expenses including searches, Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Find out more in our DIY conveyancing guide

When should I hire (instruct) a conveyancer when buying a house?

It might be handy to have a conveyancing solicitor in mind when viewing properties; that way you can instruct them as soon as your offer is accepted. This is the point you would need to officially ‘instruct’ a firm to act on your behalf, so that the Memorandum of Sale can be sent from the sellers’ estate agent and the process of conveyancing can begin.

Find out what happens once you’ve instructed your conveyancer.

What’s different with auction conveyancing?

If you put in the winning bid at a property auction, you’re contractually obliged to buy. The auction house will provide a legal pack, but it makes sense to have a conveyancer review all the information and carry out extra checks.

How does conveyancing for buy-to-let’s work?

When buying a property to let it’s vital that you have the right sort of mortgage. You may also need a licence from your Local Authority. Your conveyancer can advise on that, plus any additional issues that can arise with buy-to-let.

What does vacant possession mean?

Buying a property with vacant possession simply means it must be empty on the day of completion.

What’s the difference with leasehold and freehold?

When you buy a property freehold you own the building and the land it’s on, whereas when you buy the leasehold you own the property for a set number of years detailed in the lease. Owning a leasehold property with a share of the freehold is possible, particularly if you have a flat.

Find out more about the difference between leaseholds and freeholds.

How is conveyancing for first-time buyers different?

Things are simpler if you’re a first-time buyer as you don’t need to worry about selling at the same time. There may be government-led help to buy schemes and incentives to help you get on the property ladder such as Help to Build and Lifetime ISAs.

Do I need a conveyancer when remortgaging?

You’ll almost certainly need a conveyancer if you are remortgaging and moving to a new lender. If you’re sticking with the same lender and changing deals, there shouldn’t be additional legal work.

Why choose us

a young couple happily dancing and playing with their dog in their new home
  • Tailored to you

    We’ll find out what’s important to you and what’s unique about your move, so we can match you with the conveyancing firm that best suits your needs.

  • Trusted by our customers

    The conveyancing firms we work with put their customers first, and are rated excellently, so rest assured you’ll only ever receive the best service.

  • Your time matters to us

    Using the right combination of tech and people, at the right points in your journey, helps to fast track the process and keep you in control.

Share this post


We're here to help

Get in touch with one of the team

Move Specialist team

If you would like to discuss a quotation you have received please call our Move Specialists on

0333 234 4425
  • Monday - Friday

    9am - 5pm

Conveyancing team

If you would like to speak to someone about your case please call the Conveyancing team on

0345 234 0240
  • Monday - Friday

    9am - 5pm

General Enquiries

If you would like to email us, please send it to the following email address:
  • Monday - Friday

    9am - 5pm