Conveyancing Guide: Simples!

Paul Hajek | 31 Mar 2011

Day 31: Everything You Need To Know About Buying and Selling a House or a Flat in 31 Daily Bite-Sized Chunks: ” A Conveyancing Guide”” 

conveyancing guideThis Clutton Cox Solicitors Guide to Buying and Selling Your Property has reached the final day (phew!)

This final post puts all the stages of the Conveyancing process into chronological order for you

There are four main stages in the Conveyancing process, three of which you will be involved with, and a final administrative stage: –

• Pre Exchange

• Exchange

• Completion

• Post Completion

Pre Exchange 

Your Conveyancing Solicitor will request a draft contract from the Seller’s Conveyancing Solicitors, along with the replies to the Property Information Form and Fixtures and Fittings Questionnaire

You cannot have a contract to buy property unless it is in writing or there is some written evidence of it.

This gives the Buyer’s Conveyancing Solicitor time to investigate the title to the property contained in the draft Contract documentation.

The Buyer will at this stage arrange mortgage finance and have the property surveyed.

The Seller will find another property to purchase or look at alternative accommodation.

Whilst investigations are being carried out all correspondence should contain the phrase “subject to contract”.

This is used to ensure that both the Buyer and the Seller are not committed to a contract without having all of the necessary information.

Once your Conveyancing Solicitor has received the contracts, this usually takes around a week, the following will occur:-

• Your Conveyancing Solicitor will look through all of the paperwork provided and will raise necessary further enquiries.

o Usually, this is because the documents provided do not contain all of the information required or the information contained within the documents raise further questions. Once the replies to these enquiries are received your Conveyancing Solicitor will report back to you, by letter, email or over the telephone or in person.

o Your Conveyancing Solicitor will apply for any searches that are deemed necessary in relation to your chosen property and once the results are received a report is forwarded to you for information and comments

o A local search varies around the country so expect between a couple of days and a few weeks to come back.

• A copy of your mortgage offer will be forwarded to your Conveyancing Solicitor and once this is received a report is made to you regarding the contents. You should check your mortgage offer carefully to ensure that the offer you received relates to the mortgage product that you applied for. You should also ensure that you are able to satisfy any conditions attached to that offer before you accept the mortgage offer, usually by signing one copy and returning it to your lender.

TOP TIP: Your Conveyancing Solicitor is highly unlikely to see the property so if there is anything that strikes you as odd or different you will need to make sure you mention this as possible.

Exchange of Contracts. 

exchange of contractsBefore giving your Conveyancing Solicitor the go ahead to exchange contracts you should be satisfied with all of the search results, enquiries raised, your mortgage offer, your Surveyor’s report and have Buildings Insurance arrangements in hand for your new property.

At this point your Conveyancing Solicitor will request a deposit, usually 10% of the agreed purchase price. The Seller may if agreed in advancer, a smaller amount depending on circumstances.

Once you have provided the deposit to your Conveyancing Solicitor, provided all other parties in the chain are also ready, an exchange should be imminent.

If not already agreed, now is the time to discuss a completion or moving in date.

Once contracts have been exchanged, usually via a telephone call between Conveyancing Solicitors, both parties become legally bound by the terms and conditions of the contract and will be required to complete the contract on the agreed completion date.

You will not be able to change the completion date once contracts have been exchanged and if you cannot complete on the contractual completion date your deposit may be forfeited and you could be sued for further out of pocket expenses.


The completion date is the date when you will be able to collect the keys for your new home and/or hand them over if you are selling.

Between exchange and completion your Conveyancing Solicitor will be required to carry out final searches with the Land Registry, either a Land Charges search or an Official Search, and will also report to your lender that the title to the property makes it a suitable security for their needs and request release of the mortgage advance.

You may also be required to finalise and sign some paperwork, if this has not already been carried out. Prior to completion your Conveyancing Solicitor must be in possession of a signed mortgage deed and Transfer.

You must also ensure that you have carried out the following:

Book/confirm your removers – it may be necessary to give them a map with directions;
Cancel newspaper, milk and other deliveries;
Send details of your change of address to everyone bank, DVLA, insurance companies, club memberships, doctor, health authority, credit cards.

completion day of your purchaseUsually about one week before completion you will receive a completion statement. This sets out exactly how much is needed to complete your purchase and will include any Stamp Duty Land Tax that may be payable.

On the day of completion your Conveyancing Solicitor will transfer to the Seller’s Conveyancing Solicitors the purchase price, less any deposit paid on exchange via their Bank electronically.

This process should be virtually simultaneously, but in practice can take up to one hour or two hours to be received by the Seller’s Conveyancing Solicitors. (Banks can have bad hair days as well!). Once they have received the funds they will call the Estate Agents and arrange for the keys to be released to you.

Congratulations you are now officially now a new home owner (and/or an ex home owner)

Post Completion

For the Conveyancing Solicitor though, your transaction does not end there and there is still work to be done.

Your Conveyancing Solicitor will arrange for any Stamp Duty payable to be paid to HMRC, in accordance with their requirements. Any fee for Stamp Duty has to be provided to HMRC within 30 days of completion and upon receipt of payment they provide your Conveyancing Solicitor with a certificate that enables the registration at the Land Registry to be carried out.

The Land Registry can take several weeks to complete their part but once everything is checked your Conveyancing Solicitor will send all the deeds to you for safe keeping, unless you have asked them to store the same on your behalf, in which case they will make arrangements to store them in their vault and confirm any details to you in writing.


We hope our Home Buying and Selling Guide, modestly entitled “Everything You Need To Know About Buying And Selling A House Or Flat – in 31 Daily Bite-Sized Chunks”, has given you at least some tips and guidance that you did not know before.

Your Conveyancing Solicitor is a font of great knowledge, legal and local, and more than happy to help you with any questions you may have before your start your journey (everyone seems to be on a journey after X Factor).

And what may surprise you is that you won’t be charged for initial advice.

This Guide and the rest of the posts in this series should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult your Conveyancing Solicitor if you have any questions.

And, of course, if you choose Clutton Cox as your Conveyancing Solicitors, we’ll get right back to you


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