What is conveyancing and what does a conveyancer do?

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You’ll need to hire a conveyancer when you buy a home, sell a home, transfer ownership or to grant the extension of a new lease. They will help you with the paperwork and legal stuff that needs to happen to transfer ownership of a home. Your lender will use a conveyancer when you remortgage.

What does a conveyancer do?

Once you’ve found a conveyancer, this is what they’ll do at each stage of the home buying journey: 

Searches and enquiries

These are checks in the local area:

Land Registry search

Checking the ownership and the extent of the new property. This is one of the most important checks that will be carried out.

Property searches and Local search

Information from the local council about planning changes that may affect the property.

Water searches

Checking the position of water pipes and drainage and whether there is a water main.

Coal mining

If the property is in an area of past mining activity, a coal mining search report checks the risk of subsidence or landslips.

Flood risk

If the home is on a flood plain, it could be at risk. This checks the danger and if you’ll be able to get home insurance (and if it’s likely to cost more).

Valuation and homebuyer report

This is when you can choose to have a homebuyer report completed. This is a report that looks into the condition of the home. It’s also when your lender may carry out a valuation. 

Planning permission

Any planning permissions and building regulations will be checked.

Support with your mortgage

They will help deal with your lender, for example, to check where your deposit came from, explain the mortgage offer and conditions within the offer. 

Chain management

A property chain can get complicated. A conveyancer can help you to manage one.

Exchanging contracts

They will request and prepare documents that you’ll need to fill in or sign. They will arrange the exchange of contracts and set a completion date. 

This is when it gets serious. You will pay a deposit to your conveyancer, who holds it to order. If you breach the contract because you change your mind, some of this money will be taken as compensation.

Final stages


Completion is when they will transfer your deposit and pay any stamp duty. If you’re a first-time buyer, or the property is below the government threshold, you might not need to pay stamp duty. This is when the deposit is paid across and you’ll get the keys. 

Register of Title

A conveyancer will register your ownership of the new property with the Land Registry. This means the home is officially yours, time to celebrate!

How much does conveyancing cost?

According to Compare My Move, in 2023 the average cost of conveyancing was:
£2,239 for buying a home
£1,690 for selling a home
No two homes are the same, and your legal costs may vary.

What can affect the cost?

Factors that can affect how much you pay include:
The value of the property
If it’s a freehold, leasehold or share of freehold 
Location (it might cost more to buy in London, for example)
New builds can be more expensive
Aside from the standard fees, you’ll also pay disbursements. These are the extra checks, such as:
Local authority searches. These will check if the home you want to buy is a listed building, or in a conversation area, for example. These also check for upcoming road or rail projects in the area.
Anti-money laundering checks. These are to check where your deposit has come from.
Bank transfer fees. These are fees for sending the seller your deposit.

How long does conveyancing take?

Three to four months, according to the HOA.
Land registry can take the longest period, between one and 12 months. 

What can cause a delay?

You might find an issue during the searches
The property chain might run into a snag
Negotiations on price
Delays in checking your deposit or income
Issues with ID
The content on this page is for reference and is not financial advice.
For impartial financial advice, try MoneyHelper.