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How does the conveyancing process work when purchasing?

View profile for Clare Hallett
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How does the conveyancing process work when purchasing?

When looking to buy a property, the conveyancing process, on the face of it, can be daunting; but it’s important to understand.

So, in this article, Residential Conveyancer Clare Hallett has outlined the conveyancing process from beginning to end in simple terms.

She does on to outline how long it takes and the costs involved…

What are the steps in conveyancing?

Below, I’ve outlined the conveyancing process from case creation to completion…

Case Creation

At this stage, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire where you will:

  • Confirm your personal details
  • Provide identification documents
  • And pay money on account for property searches to be carried out

What’s included in a property search?

Searches are used to get information relevant to the property, its title and its use. Generally, the following searches are carried out:

  • Local Authority Search
  • Water and Drainage Search
  • Environmental Search

Searches do not give you information on land/property outside the strict boundaries of the property you seek to buy, i.e. planning permission for construction or change of use for nearby land.

You may wish to spend some time inspecting planning registers of nearby land at the Planning Authority or obtain a specific search to provide further detailed information. Depending on the location of the property, additional searches may also be required.

Residential Conveyancer Clare Hallett said: “Searches help you to get a full picture of the property that you’re buying and are absolutely crucial when buying with a mortgage.”

What is a specialist property search?

A specialist search could include:

  • Index Map Search (for unregistered titles)
  • Coal Mining Search
  • Tin Mining Search
  • Brine Search
  • Commons Registration Search
  • Highway Search
  • Chancel Check
  • Radon Gas Search

If you believe a specialist search may be appropriate, please let your solicitor know straight away.

For more tailored and detailed advice on this, please get in touch with our bright property team here.


The process:

  • The draft contract will arrive from the seller’s solicitor
  • Landlord information will be requested by the seller’s solicitor for leasehold properties and provided to the buyer’s solicitor
  • Any searches will be requested (including specialist searches)
  • Any enquiries that are necessary will be raised by your solicitor on your behalf with the seller’s solicitor
  • Your mortgage offer (if required) is sent from the lender
  • Your solicitor will report to you and send the paperwork for signing
  • You must return the signed papers plus cleared deposit funds


At exchange, a completion date will be agreed between the buyer and the seller, via their respective solicitors. A completion date is not agreed until the whole chain is ready to exchange.

The signed contract is then exchanged via the solicitors in the chain and once exchange has taken place the contract becomes legally binding.


After exchange is pre-completion, which is where your solicitor will provide a completion statement.

Your solicitor must have cleared funds 1 full working day prior to completion and between 5-10 working days to request your mortgage funds from your lender.


The last step in the conveyancing process is completion!

Your solicitor will let you know as soon as the transaction is complete, so you can go and pick up the keys to your new home from the estate agent/seller.

At this stage, your solicitor will submit the Stamp Duty Land Tax return and pay any duty that is required in relation to the transaction.

Once the deeds are received from the seller’s solicitors your solicitor will make an application to the Land Registry to register the property in your name.

Following registration, you’ll receive a copy of the completion of registration of your property.

Related: What is Stamp Duty and what are the current rates?

How long does conveyancing take on average?

For straightforward conveyancing matters, a transaction can usually complete within 8-12 weeks of an offer to being accepted.

Sometimes, delays may extend the process, for example, if there are any issues with the legal title. However, we will always act as swiftly as possible and keep you informed of any issues which could delay completion.

How much does conveyancing cost?

Joanna continues “The majority of solicitors charge fees on a sliding scale based on the property value. This is often referred to as the basic fee.

The more expensive the property, the higher the fees will be. This is usually due to the amount of risk incurred on a higher purchase.”

To find out more about additional solicitor and third party fees, you can read our full conveyancing costs article here. Alternatively, you can use our online conveyancing costs calculator here.

At Frettens, we will do our best to keep your costs down wherever possible. In fact, you can read our cost-saving tips below.

How to save costs on your purchase

Your home will likely be the single biggest purchase that you make in your lifetime, so its important to take cost saving measures wherever possible!

One potential saving can be made by opening an ISA account. ISAs are Government backed savings accounts that can help you raise funds for a deposit. Find out more here.

Getting a gift or a loan from parents towards a property can also help reduce spend. We’ve written about the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ and how to use it correctly here.

What types of house surveys are there?

Once you have found the property you wish to buy and you have instructed a solicitor, now is the time to instruct a surveyor to survey the property.

A surveyor will identify any structural or other defects which could cause problems and cost you money to fix in the future.

Domestic property ‘surveys’ normally fall in the following categories:

  • Lender (building Society, Bank etc.) Valuation
  • Full Structural Survey
  • RICS Homebuyer Survey and Valuation

How long does a house survey take?

This depends on the size of the property and type of survey.

A RICS Homebuyer Survey and Valuation should take roughly 1-4 hours, whereas a Full Structural Survey is more in depth and may take longer.

Is it worth getting a survey on a house?

We recommend you always get a survey on a property purchase, as it allows you to spot any potential risks ahead of your purchase.

If there are any major issues you can:

  • Spot them early and make further investigations (if necessary)
  • Weigh up potential costs
  • Potentially strike a deal with the seller to factor repair work into the purchase price
  • Decide if you wish to proceed/withdraw

Paying out a few hundred pounds for this service could save you thousands in the future.

Read our dedicated article on property surveys, choosing a surveyor and cost considerations here.

First-time buyers guide

We’ve also put together a full guide for first-time buyers which covers everything you need to know to take your first step onto the property ladder.

Even if you’ve bought a home in the past, this guide is still a great way to brush up on your knowledge and make sure that you’re up to date.

Click here to read the guide.

Specialist Conveyancing Solicitors

Our bright and experienced Conveyancing Team is one of the largest in the area, and they would be happy to assist you in the purchase of a property, and the sale of your current property (where applicable)! Please feel free to direct any questions our way.

To get in touch, you can call us on 01202 499255 or fill out the form at the top of this page. We offer a free initial chat for all new clients.

We’ve also put together a guide to the conveyancing process for selling, which can be read here.

The content of this article, blog or video is not intended as specific legal advice. For tailored assistance, please contact a member of our team.