Residential Conveyancing: Step-by-Step Process

Table of Contents

Save thousands with our 95% success rate
compared to a 39.8%* failure rate nationally.

* according to OnTheMarket data (OTM is one of the top 3 UK property portals alongside Rightmove and Zoopla)

Buying or selling a house is one of the most significant financial decisions one can make in their lifetime. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, the process of transferring ownership of a property can be quite overwhelming. That’s where residential conveyancing comes in.

In this guide, we’ll explain what residential conveyancing is and provide a step-by-step breakdown of the process. We’ll also answer some of the most frequently asked questions to help you navigate the world of residential conveyancing with ease.

You will understand:

What exactly is residential conveyancing?

What does a residential conveyancer do?

What is the residential conveyancing law?

How can you find expert residential property conveyancers for conveyancing advice?

Residential Conveyancing

What is Residential Conveyancing?

Residential conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer. The process involves several steps, including legal searches, paperwork, and the exchange of funds. It is crucial to ensure that the process is done correctly to avoid any legal complications.

Also See:

Beginner’s Guide to Residential Conveyancing

The process of residential conveyancing can be broken down into eight steps.

1. Finding a Residential Conveyancing Solicitor

The first step in the process is to find a conveyancing solicitor. You can choose to use a solicitor recommended by your estate agent, or you can do your research and find a solicitor yourself.

Also See:

2. Agreeing to the Terms of Business

Once you’ve found a conveyancing solicitor, you’ll need to agree to the terms of business. This includes the fees and the services that the solicitor will provide.

3. Conducting Property Searches

The solicitor will conduct property searches to ensure there are no undisclosed issues with the property. These searches include local authority searches, environmental searches, and water authority searches.

4. Raising Enquiries and Obtaining Replies

The solicitor will raise enquiries about the property to the seller’s solicitor. These enquiries could relate to the property’s boundaries, any disputes, or any planning permission issues. The seller’s solicitor will reply to these enquiries.

5. Reviewing the Contract and Supporting Documents

The solicitor will review the contract and supporting documents. This includes the title deeds, the lease (if applicable), and any other documents that relate to the property.

6. Signing the Contract and Exchanging Contracts

Once the solicitor has reviewed the contract and supporting documents, you’ll need to sign the contract. The solicitor will then exchange contracts with the seller’s solicitor. At this stage, the transaction becomes legally binding.

Find local residential conveyancers in your area:

7. Completing the Transaction

After exchanging contracts, the completion date is set, and the transaction is completed. On the completion date, the buyer pays the purchase price and the seller hands over the keys.

8. Registering the Property with the Land Registry

After completing the transaction, the solicitor will register the property with the Land Registry. This is the final step in the process of residential conveyancing, and it ensures that the property owner is legally transferred to the buyer.

What is the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer?

In the context of residential conveyancing, a solicitor and a conveyancer are both legal professionals who assist in the transfer of property ownership from the seller to the buyer. However, there are some differences between the two professions.

A solicitor is a qualified legal professional who can provide legal advice and representation in a wide range of legal matters. They are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and are required to hold a valid practising certificate. Solicitors who specialise in conveyancing have extensive knowledge of property law and are experienced in handling complex property transactions. They are qualified to provide legal advice, negotiate contracts, and ensure that the transaction is legally binding and free from any legal issues.

On the other hand, a conveyancer is a specialist legal professional who focuses solely on residential property transactions. They are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) and are required to hold a valid licence. Conveyancers are trained to handle all the legal and administrative tasks associated with the conveyancing process, including conducting property searches, raising enquiries, and drafting legal contracts. They are typically less expensive than solicitors, but they may not be qualified to provide legal advice on matters that are outside the scope of residential conveyancing.

How long does residential conveyancing take?

The duration of residential conveyancing can vary depending on a range of factors, including the complexity of the transaction, the efficiency of the legal professionals involved, and any unforeseen issues that may arise during the process.

On average, the conveyancing process can take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks to complete. This timeline may be longer if the transaction is particularly complex, such as if the property is leasehold or if there are multiple parties involved in the transaction. Similarly, if there are delays in obtaining necessary documentation or resolving any legal issues, the conveyancing process may take longer than anticipated.

Also See:

The conveyancing process typically involves several stages, each of which may take some time to complete. These stages include conducting property searches, raising enquiries with the seller or their solicitor, negotiating the terms of the sale, and drafting legal contracts. In addition, the buyer may need to arrange a mortgage and obtain a property survey before the transaction can be completed.

It’s worth noting that the conveyancing process can be expedited by choosing a legal professional who is experienced and efficient in handling residential property transactions. Similarly, ensuring that all documentation is in order and responding promptly to any queries from your solicitor or conveyancer can help to streamline the process.

What is done during residential conveyancing?

During conveyancing, a range of legal and administrative tasks are undertaken to facilitate the transfer of ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer. These tasks are typically carried out by a solicitor or conveyancer who is experienced in handling residential property transactions.

One of the key tasks during conveyancing is conducting property searches.

This involves obtaining information about the property from various sources, including the Land Registry, local authorities, and environmental agencies. The purpose of these searches is to identify any potential issues that may impact the property or the surrounding area, such as planning restrictions or environmental hazards.

Another important task during conveyancing is raising enquiries with the seller or their solicitor. This involves asking a series of questions about the property and its history to ensure that the buyer has all the necessary information to make an informed decision. Enquiries may cover a range of topics, such as the property’s boundaries, any disputes or legal issues, and any fixtures or fittings that are included in the sale.

Once all the necessary information has been obtained, the buyer’s solicitor or conveyancer will draft legal contracts for the sale. These contracts will set out the terms of the sale, including the purchase price, any conditions or restrictions, and any obligations of the buyer or seller. The buyer’s solicitor will also review the seller’s legal documentation, such as the title deeds, to ensure that the property is free from any legal issues or disputes.

Also See:

Best conveyancing solicitors in Norwich

Top-rated conveyancers in Nottingham

Property conveyancers in Royal Tunbridge Wells

Conveyancing property lawyers in Winchester

Licensed residential property conveyancers in Barnet

In addition to these tasks, the conveyancing process may also involve arranging a mortgage, obtaining a property survey, and exchanging contracts. The exchange of contracts is a key milestone in the conveyancing process and represents a legally binding agreement between the buyer and seller to complete the transaction.

Overall, the conveyancing process involves a range of legal and administrative tasks to ensure that the transfer of ownership of a property is legally binding and free from any issues or disputes. By choosing an experienced and efficient legal professional to handle the conveyancing process, buyers and sellers can ensure that the transaction is completed as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Additional Tips for a Smooth Residential Conveyancing Process

While having a solicitor or conveyancer handle the legal work is the best way to ensure a smooth and successful conveyancing process, there are also some additional steps you can take to make the process as stress-free as possible. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be Prepared
  2. Before you even start the conveyancing process, make sure you have all your paperwork and finances in order. This includes having your mortgage pre-approved, ensuring you have enough funds for the deposit and other associated costs, and having all the necessary documentation ready for your solicitor or conveyancer.
  3. Communicate Effectively
  4. Clear communication is key to a successful conveyancing process. Make sure you stay in touch with your solicitor or conveyancer and respond promptly to any requests or queries they may have. Similarly, keep the lines of communication open with the seller and their solicitor or conveyancer.
  5. Understand the Costs
  6. Residential conveyancing can be expensive, and it’s essential to understand the costs involved before you start the process. Ask your solicitor or conveyancer for a breakdown of their fees and any other associated costs, such as searches and stamp duty.
  7. Be Patient
  8. The conveyancing process can be lengthy, and there may be delays or setbacks along the way. It’s important to be patient and stay calm, even if the process takes longer than expected.
  9. Seek Professional Advice
  10. If you have any doubts or concerns about the conveyancing process, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. Your solicitor or conveyancer should be able to provide you with expert guidance and advice throughout the process.


Residential conveyancing is an essential process for anyone buying or selling a property. By understanding the process and working with a qualified solicitor or conveyancer, you can ensure that the transaction is completed legally and without any issues.

Remember to be prepared, communicate effectively, understand the costs, be patient, and seek professional advice if needed. With these tips in mind, you can navigate the residential conveyancing process with confidence and ease.

So there you have it, the ultimate guide to residential conveyancing, complete with a step-by-step breakdown of the process, FAQs, and additional tips for a smooth experience. We hope this guide has been helpful and wish you the best of luck with your conveyancing journey!

Residential Property Conveyancing FAQs:

Q: How long does residential conveyancing take?

A: The length of time it takes for residential conveyancing to complete varies. On average, it takes between 8-12 weeks, but it can take longer or shorter, depending on the circumstances.

Q: Can I do residential conveyancing myself?

A: It is possible to do residential conveyancing yourself, but it is not recommended. The process involves complex legal procedures that require the expertise of a qualified solicitor or conveyancer.

Q: What fees are involved in residential conveyancing?

A: The fees involved in residential conveyancing vary depending on the solicitor or conveyancer you use. They will typically charge for their services, and there will also be additional costs such as searches and stamp duty.

Q: Do I need a conveyancing solicitor to buy or sell a property?

A: Yes, it’s a legal requirement to have a conveyancing solicitor to ensure that the transaction is legally binding and free from any undisclosed issues.

Q: How long does residential conveyancing take?

A: The time it takes for residential conveyancing to complete can vary, but it usually takes between 8 and 12 weeks.

Q: What happens if there are issues with the property during the conveyancing process?

A: If issues are found during the conveyancing process, the solicitor will raise enquiries to the seller’s solicitor to resolve these issues before the transaction is completed.

Q: How much does residential conveyancing cost?

A: The cost of residential conveyancing can vary depending on the property’s value and the solicitor’s fees. It’s essential to agree to the terms of business with your conveyancing solicitor before the process begins to ensure that you’re aware of the costs involved.

Q: What is gazumping?

A: Gazumping is when a seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer after they have already accepted your offer. This can happen at any stage before the exchange of contracts.

Q: What is a completion date?

A: The completion date is the date on which the ownership of the property is legally transferred from the seller to the buyer.

You’re 8x times more likely to move with us than with other conveyancers.