Conveyancing - Preparing to sell - First time buyer

What is a conveyancer and what does a conveyancer do?

4 min read

When buying or selling a house you need a conveyancer to complete the legal work. Watch our video to learn exactly what conveyancers do and how they'll help you through the conveyancing process.

  • Amy Colton, Conveyancing Manager and qualified solicitor
    Amy Colton

    Conveyancing Manager

    Published November 22nd 2023

a happy family in their new how having just used a conveyancer to help them with their move

When buying or selling a house you need a conveyancer to help with the legal process of transferring ownership from one person to another. Read on to find out what a conveyancer is and what they do as part of the conveyancing process.

Watch our video to find out what a conveyancer is and what a conveyancer does when buying a house

What is a conveyancer?

A conveyancer, or conveyancing solicitor is a property lawyer that specialises in the legal side of moving home. Whether buying, selling or remortgaging, you will need to instruct a conveyancer to complete the legal work of transferring property ownership, on your behalf.

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What does a conveyancer do?

Your conveyancer will help guide you through the conveyancing process and will complete the following steps:

Step 1: They will complete ID checks will need to be carried out as part of the conveyancing firm’s due diligence. They will then also check the house title to make sure everything is as it should be.

Step 2: For purchases, the will organise the required searches for the property, for example the environmental and drainage searches of the property.

These local checks will flag up any potential issues with the property or land, and are required by the mortgage provider.

For sales, they'll provide the correct forms you will need to complete for your buyers and the transaction.

Step 3: They will work with the other party’s conveyancer to progress the transaction, make enquiries on your behalf and iron out any issues which may have developed as a result of the searches and surveys.

Step 4: If you’re purchasing with a mortgage, they’ll check the mortgage offer and deal with any special conditions

For sales with a mortgage, they will conduct work with your lender, which may include getting a redemption statement.

Step 5: They’ll work with the other solicitors in the chain to arrange dates for exchange of contracts and completion.

Step 6: They will prepare a financial statement so you know what funds you need for both parts, and transfer funds for the stamp duty if required.

Step 7: Finally, they will register the change of ownership with the land registry for you. If you are selling, this will be taken care of by the buyer’s conveyancer.

For more useful information about conveyancing and the process, read our what is conveyancing article.

Who needs a conveyancer?

Whether you’re getting your foot on the property ladder, moving into your forever home, or buying an investment property, you will need a appoint a conveyancer. Not only will your conveyancer complete the legal work to transfer the ownership of your chosen property, however a good conveyancer will also strip out the legal jargon for you and help make the process as simple as possible.

What’s the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor

While both conveyancers and solicitors are legal professionals who are qualified to handle property transactions, a conveyancer specialises in property law and is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). This basically means, conveyancing is what a conveyancer does day in, day out. Whereas solicitors, who are regulated by Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are likely to work in multiple areas of law.

Do I need a solicitor if I already have a conveyancer?

As a conveyancer and a solicitor complete the same legal work for your conveyancing, you only need to appoint one for your home move.

Can you use the same solicitor when buying and selling?

Yes, you can! In fact, it’s quite often better to do this and there are multiple advantages. Firstly, using the same conveyancer can help to streamline the process. They’ll already know you and will be familiar with your circumstances and needs, this can help speed up the process and save you repeating information.  Additionally, it can make the transition between the two properties run smoother for you, as they will have a comprehensive understanding of the timelines, requirements, and details for both sides of your move.

An example of how using the same solicitor for both sides of your move can benefit you, is agreeing completion dates with the rest of the chain. Your conveyancer will know which days you can or cannot move, and so can communicate these dates with both your buyer and seller. This not only saves you time, as you only have to speak to one person, however it also means you’re likely to agree a date with the chain quicker, as there will be less back and forth negotiating dates.

What does a conveyancing solicitor do when buying a house?

Your conveyancer, or solicitor, will complete things such as arrange your searches, review the contract, organise an exchange and completion date and also, be there to help guide you through the process. For more information, watch our short video which explains more about the house buying process.

What is the conveyancing process?

The first step in the conveyancing process is to select a conveyancer to handle your property purchase or sale. Once you have chosen a conveyancer, you will need to complete some initial steps. These include verifying your identification, reviewing essential documents such as the fixture form and the contract, and providing your mortgage information. If you are buying a property, arranging property searches and surveys is also a crucial aspect of the conveyancing process.

To learn more about the conveyancing process, watch our short video.

Can you act as your own conveyancer?

Although sometimes you may be able to do the conveyancing yourself, it’s not recommended. It takes years to train to be a conveyancer and not only is it really quite technical, however it’s also crucial that everything is done correctly and to the law. If you’re a property mogul using cash to purchase, then it may be right for you, however if not, it’s always advised that you leave the conveyancing for a legal professional.

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