In light of National Conveyancing Week, conveyancing solicitors, Bird & Co, have carried out search engine research to answer the UK’s most common conveyancing queries.
Launched to boost the profile of conveyancing across the property sector, National Conveyancing Week aims to inform the industry, and the wider general public, about the role of conveyancers, restoring pride in a profession that has increasingly acquired bad press.
Ahead of National Conveyancing Week, Bird & Co have carried out search engine research, using the keyword data tool in Ahrefs, uncovering the most commonly asked questions surrounding conveyancing.
By providing expert commentary and tips for common queries associated with these terms, the conveyancing firm hope to provide clarity and understanding surrounding the role that conveyancing plays in the millions of homes being sold and bought throughout the UK.
Why have Conveyancers Acquired Such a Bad Reputation?
Conveyancing can be difficult to understand, as it involves various legal and technical concepts and procedures that may be unfamiliar to people who are not trained in law or property transactions. Having a conveyancer present during the buying or selling of a property is essential, as it ensures that the transaction is legally valid, and that the ownership of the property is transferred correctly from one party to another.
However, due to the complex nature of conveyancing, many people fail to understand the important role that they play in ensuring the smooth transfer of a property. As a result, conveyancers are often undervalued and underappreciated in their involvement in property transactions.
Without the help of a conveyancer, an individual may find that they lack the expertise or knowledge to identify any potential legal issues with a property transaction, ultimately leading them far more susceptible to fraud. In these high-risk times of falling victim to scams, it is essential to not cut corners to save money. Instead, it is much safer to go through trusted sources and find a conveyancer to carry out the legal work diligently.
National Conveyancing Week aims to challenge these misconceptions by making the profession more transparent, and educating the wider public on the importance of conveyancing.
Your Most Searched Conveyancing Questions Answered
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing involves the legalities of buying and selling real property, such as houses or land. It can incorporate a number of different aspects, including:
- Liaising with many different parties – the representative or solicitor for the other party to the transaction, estate agents, surveyors, mortgage lenders and banks, sometimes leasehold managing agents and freehold landlords.
- Investigating the legal title to property to ensure that the seller has the right to sell it.
- Examining the Official Register of Title, or any title deeds (if the property is unregistered).
- Making sure that the right amounts of money are paid to the right parties and any mortgages are redeemed.
- Obtaining any governmental grants on behalf of the buyer.
- Asking or responding to enquiries (questions) from the other party to the transaction’s solicitors.
- Advising the purchaser on the rights and obligations associated with the property, such as easements (right to pass across land belonging to someone else), drainage and water supply, who maintains the boundaries etc.
- Obtaining and considering searches from the local authority, water companies, and environmental consultants.
- Ensuring that all the legal documentation is properly drawn up.
- Registering the transaction with HM Land Registry after it has been completed.
What is a Conveyancing Solicitor?
UK conveyancing solicitors handle all the legal considerations tied to a property transaction for home buyers. This includes all the necessary checks and searches on the property and area to ensure there are no hidden surprises once the deal has gone through.
Conveyancing solicitors also ensure your interests are protected, and handle everything related to the contracts of sale. This ensures the money changes hands at exactly the right time, allowing the transaction to progress smoothly.
Once a person instructs a solicitor to carry out the conveyancing work, a quote that covers all the necessary work will be provided.
How Long Does Conveyancing Take?
The time conveyancing takes varies, but it tends to take between 12 to 16 weeks. The reason the conveyancing process can take so long is due to the number of different stages the property transaction will have to endure before completion.
The step in the process, and the average time it takes, are as follows:
- Pre-contract work – 2 weeks
- Mortgage arrangement – 4 weeks
- Draft contract – 2-10 weeks
- The time between exchange and completion – 1 week
How Much Does Conveyancing Cost?
In the UK, conveyancing costs should be transparent and tend to be paid upon completion of the property transaction. There are a couple of factors that can affect the cost of the conveyancing fees, including:
- How complex the sale or purchase is
- Whether you’re buying or selling your home at the same time
- Whether the property is freehold or leasehold – leasehold properties are typically more time-consuming and complex, therefore will be more expensive than a freehold.
At Bird & Co, we offer fixed fee conveyancing, meaning that the price we quote you upfront is the price you will pay unless there are unforeseen circumstances, in which case you’ll be notified at the earliest possible opportunity.
Conveyancing quotes should include a complete breakdown of the cost of your conveyancing, including legal fees and the various fees paid to third parties, such as HM Land Registry. These third-party fees are also known as disbursements; they’re typically fixed fees, meaning they should be the same between firms of conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors.
Legal fees include the cost of:
- Drafting of contracts.
- Arranging relevant property searches and related paperwork.
- Liaising with your buyer’s and/or seller’s solicitor.
- Liaising with the mortgage lender and the buyer regarding proof of funds/mortgage offer.
- Advising the client about any legal concerns or queries regarding the property purchase/sale.
- Responding to any queries from the buyer/seller.
- Exchanging contracts.
- Managing the transfer of funds upon exchange of contracts and completion of the sale.
- Managing the completion of the sale.
If you’d like an accurate conveyancing quote, then you can receive one using this conveyancing calculator.
How to Become a Conveyancer
There are many routes to becoming a conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor. They both have similar roles and are both legally trained and considered property specialists. However, a conveyancer is solely focused on the conveyancing process whilst a conveyancing solicitor can also advise on other areas of law.
To become a conveyancing solicitor, a person would have to complete a law degree and a LPC qualification. You’d then begin your period of recognised training, which is sat within a law firm covering several areas of law. In total, it can take six years to train to become a solicitor. It can be expensive and a competitive field to enter, but a very rewarding career.
If you have an undergraduate degree that isn’t in law, you will have to sit a law conversion course before doing your LPC.
As mentioned, you don’t have to become a solicitor to become a conveyancer if that’s what you want to focus on. There are several routes into conveyancing, these include:
You can become a conveyancer by starting as an apprentice or training with a professional body. There are some entry requirements needed for this route; typically you’d need 4-5 GCSEs at grades 9-4 (A*-C) and A-levels for a higher or degree apprenticeship.
Training through a professional body
Another option could be to start in a conveyancing office and work your way up to become a registered conveyancing technician. Once you’re a registered technician, you’ll need to complete 6 months of practical experience in a probate or conveyancing practice, a legal firm, or an organisation that offers probate services.
Then, once you’re registered with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, you can take the Level 6 Diploma in Conveyancing Law and Practice to qualify as a professional conveyancer.
Extend on a law qualification or relevant experience
Having relevant experience, such as working as an estate agent or within a property department of a law firm, accompanied by a relevant qualification, such as law, can be a huge advantage to becoming a qualified conveyancer.
To become a licensed conveyancer, you will need to pass the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) qualifications:
- Level 4 Diploma in Conveyancing Law and Practice
- Level 6 Diploma in Conveyancing Law and Practice
These must be accompanied by 1,200 hours of supervised practical experience.
How to Find a Good Conveyancing Solicitor
There are several ways to find a conveyancing solicitor that you feel confident in using, including:
- Word of mouth - ask friends and family for a recommendation.
- Ask your lender, mortgage broker or Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) - they can often be helpful with recommending someone.
- Independent research – this will naturally bring up a lot of options, but may find one that works locally in your area, or the area you’re buying in. Make sure to check online reviews.
There are a couple of things you should check before deciding on a conveyancer, including:
- Conveyancers must be members of the Council for Licenced Conveyancers
- Make sure your chosen property specialist is a member of the Law Society of England and Wales, Law Society of Scotland and a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme
How to Complain About a Conveyancer
If you’re not happy with the service you’ve received, or you’re concerned about the behaviour of the licensed conveyancer, then you have a couple of options. Every firm will have its own complaints process, otherwise you can contact a Legal Ombudsman to complain.
When Should I Instruct a Conveyancing Solicitor
To ensure a successful and smooth transaction, it is recommended that you speak to a solicitor as soon as you decide to buy a property or put your own property on the market.
Need Help with Conveyancing?
Bird & Co, official supporters of National Conveyancing Week, offer online conveyancing services as well as in-person, if you prefer. If you’re looking for a trusted conveyancer and have any further queries, then feel free to contact us.
Our marketing team at Conscious Solutions, who are official sponsors of National Conveyancing Week, are on hand to answer queries regarding the data referenced in this article.