What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one party to another, but when it comes to moving house it has a wider definition. Commonly referring to the whole body of legal-administrative work undertaken to enable a house sale or purchase to be legally valid, it is carried out by solicitors or specialist conveyancing providers.

To help you understand the legal process that occurs in a property transaction we have provided you with this handy, step by step guide:

Step by step guide


    • If you are selling your property, once your sale has been agreed, you should inform us of your conveyancing solicitor’s details as soon as possible so that we can send them the relevant paperwork; known within the industry as a Memorandum of Sale.
    • Initially the conveyancer will provide you with a formal instruction letter and other documents which will enable them to gather all of the relevant details about you and your sale. A seller will complete a suite of documents known within the industry as a pre-contract pack and both seller and purchaser will be asked to carry out ID verification checks as part of the solicitor’s anti-money laundering process.
    • If you are selling a property, your conveyancer can also carry out all of the legal work involved in the purchase of your next property if you have decided to tie the two transactions together


    • As a buyer, all you need to do is provide us and your mortgage broker with your conveyancer’s details. Your solicitor will then be able to contact the seller’s conveyancer to confirm instructions.
    • Once your appointed conveyancer has received the contract documentation from your sellers’ solicitor, they will be able to order the necessary searches from the Local Authority, Water Authority and Environmental Agency.
    • Your mortgage lender will send you and your conveyancer the mortgage offer. The conveyancer is responsible for explaining the terms and conditions of your mortgage offer. The Contract documentation and Mortgage Deed will then be sent to you for approval and signature.

Exchange of contracts takes place between the two parties’ conveyancers, usually by telephone. Following exchange, your signed contact is forwarded to the other party’s conveyancer and they in turn will send their party’s signed contract to your conveyancer. At this stage, you and your seller/buyer will be legally committed to the transaction.

Completion of your move

On the day of legal completion, your conveyancer will:

  • Arrange legal paperwork
  • Discharge your mortgage and/or draw-down funds for your new mortgage
  • Pay your fees as per the terms of agency agreement you have signed
  • Arrange the legal documentation to be signed for the transfer of the property at HM Land Registry and register your ownership
  • Arrange your Stamp Duty payment (if you are purchasing), payable to the Inland Revenue

Payment of fees

Prior to legal completion, your conveyancer will require any monies due to them to be cleared funds in time for legal completion. They will deduct their fees and disbursement costs and stamp duty from the balance at legal completion and usually arrange to pay your estate agent’s fees (if you are selling). Finally, they will liaise with the estate agent for the release of the keys to the property.


At David James Estate Agents, we break our conveyancing service down into easy to follow...

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