When it comes to selling a house, the conveyancing process is a stage that you may be feeling in the dark about. To put it simply, conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership from the seller to the buyer. It is a process that lasts longer than a lot of sellers originally realise, beginning with the acceptance of an offer and lasting all the way up until handing over the keys.
In this blog post we will be explaining the conveyancing process is, the legal jargon behind it as well as talking you through the conveyancing process with our step-by-step guide.
Looking for a quick answer? Check out our interactive menu below!
- Who conducts the conveyancing process?
- Step-by-step conveyancing process for selling
- Completion day and post completion
- Conveyancing process timeline
- Why do leasehold properties take longer to sell?
- What do I do if my conveyancer has overcharged me?
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Who conducts the conveyancing process?
Whilst it is possible for you to undertake the conveyancing process yourself, it is not recommended as it is a complex process that can be easy to get wrong if you have not had the legal training or do not have any knowledge of conveyancing law.
Step-by-step conveyancing process for selling
As a seller, conveyancing can be an overwhelming stage of the house selling journey. That is why we have compiled our handy conveyancing process step-by-step guide to help you successfully navigate it from start to finish.
1. Decide on a solicitor
The conveyancing process starts when you decide which conveyancing service you are going to use.
In order to reduce the risk of delays and to speed up the conveyancing process in general, you should choose the conveyancer or solicitor that you wish to use when you choose your estate agent or around the time that you are under offer.
As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to use a ‘no move, no fee’ conveyancer rather than one that charges by the hour. It is also a good idea to avoid large conveyancing factories and services that are recommended by online, hybrid, and local estate agents as these are often more expensive and not necessarily better value for money. You should also compare numerous different conveyancing firms, looking at online reviews as well as their quotes and whether or not they are authorised and regulated by the solicitor’s regulation authority.
2. Instruct a solicitor
Once you have decided on which conveyancing firm you are going to use, you will need to instruct your solicitor. You do this once you have accepted an offer, and after you have instructed the solicitor the conveyancing process will officially begin.
In order to formally instruct your conveyancer, you will first receive a Letter of Engagement plus T&Cs that confirms the instruction and will include within it the details of any charges, including the ones that are payable in advance of the house sale.
Until this letter has been signed and returned you will not be committed to the service.
Your conveyancing firm will also need to see proof of ID, such as a driving license or passport as well as proof of address in the form of a mortgage statement or utility bill.
3. Complete the information forms
The next stage of the conveyancing process is to complete and return the various property information forms. Your solicitor will request that you fill out the following forms:
- The TA6 property information form – this form is used to get a general overview of your property and aims to inform the new buyer about boundaries, complaints, planning permissions, proposed developments, disputes, sewerage, council tax, utilities, and other relevant information.
- The TA10 fittings and contents form – this form will inform the buyer of what contents in the home will be left to them and which are not included in the house sale.
- A TA7/TA9 forms – if your property a leasehold (TA7) or commonhold (TA9) and you do not own the freehold then you will be required to give more information on this.
- The TA13 form – this is the most technical form, the aim is to finalise all of the important details about the house sale, such as how and where you will complete the sale, arrangements to hand over the keys and ensuring the house is free of liability and mortgage claims.
It is important that you fill out these forms as quickly as you can so to avoid delaying the house sale.
As the seller it is your job to fill these forms out to the best of your knowledge, if later down the line you are found to have lied on one of these forms you could be sued for compensation, or your buyers may pull out of the sale altogether.
4. Send-off permissions
Your conveyancer will ask for you to send off copies of any documents that are mentioned in the ‘TA’ property forms that you fill in. This will include any guarantees and warranties. Your conveyancer will send you a list of all the documents that they require.
5. Speak to your mortgage lender
If the property that you are selling still has a mortgage, then you will need to speak to your mortgage lender or broker and inform them that you are planning to sell the property. From there you will be able to find out how much of the loan is outstanding whether or not you are liable to pay any early repayment charges.
Once you have completed the sale of your home you you will be able to pay off the remainder of the mortgage unless you are planning to port your mortgage.
6. Draft contract
Your conveyancing solicitor will now use the information that you provided in the property information forms to draw up a draft contract which is then sent on to the buyer to approve. Negotiations will then lead negotiations over the draft contract where the following points will be discussed:
- What fixtures and fittings will be included in the house sale
- How much the buyer will pay for those fixtures and fittings
- When the completion date will be (this usually takes place 7-10 days after the exchange of contracts)
- If any issues are raised in the buyer’s survey, they will need to decide who will fix them or if there will be a change in price to reflect these finding
7. Talk with the buyer
Once the draft contract has been sent off, the buyer will arrange to have a valuer or surveyor come over to your property in order to conduct conveyancing searches. These searches will check to find out extra information about the property that the information forms cannot supply and may reflect a change in price if any issues are flagged up.
Should the surveys bring back any results that require work, the buyer may wish to renegotiate the purchase price or alternatively they may ask you to carry out the repairs yourself.
Additionally, the buyer may also have extra enquiries regarding the property searches as well as any others that the property information forms were unable to answer.
8. Finalise the contract
Once the buyer and their conveyancers are content with the information that you have provided, they will be sent the contract to read and sign. The buyer’s conveyancer and the seller’s solicitors will arrange a completion day.
The buyer’s conveyancer will put together a completion statement and the seller’s solicitor will also arrange a contract pack containing all of the legal documents needed for the sale.
9. Exchanging contracts
The next part of the conveyancing process is to exchange contracts. This is one of the most importantly steps in the process as once the contracts have been exchanged, the sale becomes legally binding. You will have already agreed upon a time and date to do this, and your solicitor will do this for you. In order to make sure that the contracts are identical, both the buyer’s solicitor and your solicitor will send the contracts off at the same time.
If either party is involved in a property chain, then the steps will be exactly the same, except they will only release once the other people in the chain are happy to do so. As the sale is now legally binding, if the buyer does not complete the sale, then you will be able to sue them and also keep the deposit. However, this also means that if you pull out then you can also be sued. This also means that you will be unable to accept any other offers on your property.
Completion day and post completion
Once you have exchanged contracts you will receive the buyers deposit, which is usually around 10%. Whilst you will save yourself a lot of stress if you move out before the completion date, if you legally own the property there is no reason to move out before then. Once you have exchanged contracts you will receive the buyers deposit, which is usually around 10%. Whilst you will save yourself a lot of stress if you move out before the completion date, if you legally own the property there is no reason to move out before then.
On the completion day you will have handed your keys into the estate agent who will then pass them onto the buyer. From here either you or your conveyancer will then receive the rest of the sale price, hand over the title deeds, transfer deed, a copy of the lease if the property is leasehold and then use the proceeds of the sale to pay off the outstanding mortgage and any stamp duty that is applicable.
If you are buying a property at the same time as selling, then you will need to be registered with the HM Land Registry as the new owner. Your solicitor must register you as the new owner within 30 days of completion of the purchase.
After completion day the last piece of the conveyancing process is to pay your solicitor and the estate agent.
Conveyancing process timeline
There is no one answer for how long the conveyancing process should last as each sale is different from the last. However, on average, the conveyancing process for a typical property should take between 12-16 weeks. Below is a chart outlining the average timeline for the conveyancing process.
|Selling conveyancing process||Approximate time|
|Pre-contract: instruct a surveyor, conduct searches, surveys, draft contract||2 weeks|
|Buyer arranges a mortgage offer||4 weeks|
|Draft contract: looking over survey, local searches, answering outstanding questions||2-10 weeks|
|Period between exchange and completion||1 week|
|Time in total||12-16 weeks|
Why do leasehold properties take longer to sell?
As a result of all the additional legal paperwork that comes with a leasehold property sale, the conveyancing and overall sales time takes longer.
This is because the buyer’s conveyancer will need to receive the leasehold agreement from you and if the flat is part of a block owned by a company, they will also need a copy of the management information pack, which can take weeks to obtain.
What do I do if my conveyancer has overcharged me?
If you believe that your conveyancer has overcharged you for their service, you should contact your conveyancing team and ask them to check the bill as it could be a case of a forgotten charge.
If after getting your solicitor to look over it and you still believe that you have been overcharged, you should write to your conveyancing firm and tell them what the issue is and how you would like it resolved. If they do not get back to you, then you will need to follow the company’s legal complaints procedure and if the issue is still not resolved then you will need to contact the Legal Ombudsman.
This covers everything you need to know about the conveyancing process as a seller. If you have any questions, queries or insight into the matter feel free to get in touch!