Do You Need a Conveyancer When Selling a House?

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8 December 2023
by Redmayne Arnold and Harris

Selling a house can be complex and daunting, with numerous legal and administrative tasks. One crucial aspect of this process in the United Kingdom is conveyancing. Whether you're a first-time seller or have sold properties before, understanding the role of a conveyancer is vital. 

In this blog post, we'll delve into the intricacies of selling a house in the UK and explore why hiring a conveyancer is prudent.

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer. It involves several stages, including gathering and preparing legal documents, conducting searches, handling finances, and managing the exchange of contracts. While it's possible to handle the conveyancing process independently, it's a complex area of law, and mistakes can lead to significant issues later on.

The Role of a Conveyancer

A conveyancer is a qualified professional, usually a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer specializing in property law. Their primary role is to facilitate the smooth transfer of property ownership by handling all legal aspects of the transaction. Here are some key responsibilities of a conveyancer:

  • Title Checks: Conveyancers conduct thorough checks on the property's title to ensure no legal issues could affect the sale. This includes verifying ownership, checking for outstanding mortgages, and investigating any restrictions or covenants on the property.
  • Contract Drafting: Conveyancers draft the contract of sale, which outlines the terms and conditions of the transaction. This document is crucial for protecting both the seller's and the buyer's interests.
  • Searches: They perform various searches, including local authority searches, environmental searches, and water and drainage searches. These searches help identify any issues affecting the property, such as planned developments, environmental hazards, or drainage problems.
  • Handling Finances: Conveyancers manage the financial aspects of the sale, including handling the deposit, exchanging contracts, and completing the transaction. They also calculate and settle any outstanding fees and taxes.
  • Exchange of Contracts: One of the critical milestones in the conveyancing process is the exchange of contracts. Conveyancers are pivotal in ensuring that both parties are ready to proceed and that all necessary conditions have been met.
  • Completion: On the completion day, the conveyancer ensures that all financial transactions are completed and the transfer of ownership is registered with the Land Registry.

Benefits of Hiring a Conveyancer

Now that we understand the role of a conveyancer let's explore the benefits of hiring one when selling a house:

1. Expertise in Property Law

Conveyancers are professionals with specialized knowledge in property law. They are well-versed in the intricacies of the conveyancing process, including legal requirements, documentation, and potential pitfalls. Their expertise ensures that the sale adheres to all legal standards, reducing the risk of legal complications.

2. Thorough Title Checks

Conveyancers conduct comprehensive title checks to verify ownership, uncover outstanding mortgages, and identify potential issues such as restrictive covenants or disputes. This meticulous examination helps sellers address problems early, preventing delays and disputes later.

3. Effective Contract Drafting

Drafting a legally sound and comprehensive contract of sale is a crucial aspect of the conveyancing process. Conveyancers have the expertise to draft contracts that protect the interests of both the seller and the buyer. This includes outlining the terms and conditions of the sale, specifying timelines, and addressing any special conditions.

4. Efficient Handling of Finances

Managing the financial aspects of a property sale can be complex, involving handling deposits, calculating outstanding fees, and ensuring timely transactions. Conveyancers are adept at managing these financial aspects, ensuring that the seller receives the agreed-upon funds and that all financial obligations are met.

5. Coordination in Property Chains

Many property transactions involve chains, where selling one property is linked to purchasing another. Conveyancers are crucial in coordinating with other parties in the chain, ensuring a synchronized and efficient process. This helps minimize the risk of delays and complications arising from other transactions in the chain.

6. Thorough Searches

Conveyancers conduct various searches, including local authority, environmental, and water and drainage searches. These searches reveal essential information about the property, such as planned developments, potential environmental hazards, and drainage issues. Identifying these issues early on allows sellers to address or inform buyers appropriately.

7. Mitigation of Legal Risks

Property transactions come with inherent legal risks. Conveyancers work to identify and mitigate these risks, protecting both the seller and the buyer from potential legal disputes. Their understanding of property law allows them to navigate the complexities of the process and address issues proactively.

8. Time and Stress Savings

Selling a property is time-consuming, and the associated stress can be overwhelming. By enlisting the services of a conveyancer, sellers can delegate the legal complexities to a qualified professional, freeing up their time and reducing stress. This allows sellers to focus on other aspects of the move, confident that the legal aspects are in capable hands.

9. Handling Unforeseen Issues

In the unpredictable world of property transactions, unforeseen issues can arise. Whether it's a sudden dispute with the buyer or an unexpected legal complication, a conveyancer is equipped to handle these issues efficiently. Their experience and problem-solving skills become invaluable in navigating unexpected challenges.

10. Post-Completion Support

The involvement of a conveyancer continues after completion day. They continue to provide support by ensuring that the change of ownership is correctly registered with the Land Registry. This post-completion support adds an extra layer of assurance for both parties involved in the transaction.

Costs Associated with Conveyancing

While hiring a conveyancer comes with associated costs, viewing this as an investment in a smooth and legally sound property transaction is essential. Conveyancing fees can vary, and sellers should obtain quotes from several conveyancers to ensure they are getting a competitive rate. The cost of conveyancing typically includes:

  • Legal Fees: This is the fee charged by the conveyancer for their services. It covers the legal work involved in the sale, including title checks, document preparation, and contract drafting.
  • Search Fees: Conveyancers incur costs for conducting various searches, such as local authority searches and environmental searches. These fees are typically passed on to the seller.
  • Land Registry Fees: These fees are payable to the Land Registry for registering the change of ownership. The amount varies depending on the property's value.
  • Disbursements: Conveyancers may incur additional costs, known as disbursements, for services such as obtaining property certificates and documents from official sources.

Sellers need to clearly understand the conveyancing costs and what is included in the service. While it may seem like an additional expense, the benefits of a smooth and legally sound transaction often outweigh the costs involved.

Common Challenges in the Conveyancing Process

Selling a house in the UK can present various challenges throughout the conveyancing process. Being aware of these challenges can help sellers make informed decisions and work collaboratively with their conveyancer to overcome potential issues:

  • Chain Delays: Property transactions often involve a chain of buyers and sellers. Delays or issues with one party in the chain can affect the entire process. Conveyancers play a crucial role in coordinating with other parties to minimize the risk of delays.
  • Property Title Issues: Title issues, such as boundary disputes or unresolved rights of way, can complicate the sale. Conveyancers conduct thorough title checks to identify and address any potential problems.
  • Mortgage Delays: If the buyer obtains a mortgage, the mortgage approval process delays can impact the sale. Conveyancers work closely with mortgage lenders to ensure a smooth and timely approval process.
  • Legal Compliance: Adhering to legal requirements is paramount in the conveyancing process. Failure to comply with regulations can lead to legal complications. Conveyancers ensure that all legal obligations are met, protecting both parties.
  • Communication Challenges: Effective communication is essential in a property transaction. Conveyancers act as the buyer and seller intermediates, facilitating precise and timely communication to avoid misunderstandings and disputes.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Conveyancer

Selecting the right conveyancer is crucial to a successful and hassle-free property transaction. A proficient conveyancer's expertise is indispensable in navigating the complexities of property law, minimizing the risk of legal complications that may arise during the selling process. Their in-depth knowledge of title checks, contract drafting, and legal obligations ensures a seamless transaction, addressing potential challenges such as title issues or communication breakdowns.

Moreover, the right conveyancer enhances communication, providing sellers with regular updates on the progress of the sale. Opting for a responsive and transparent conveyancer fosters trust and allows for proactive issue resolution. Beyond legal representation, choosing the right conveyancer is a strategic decision that saves time, alleviates stress, and provides peace of mind during the significant life event of selling a property in the UK.


In conclusion, hiring a conveyancer when selling a house is a wise investment in a smooth and legally sound property transaction. The expertise and experience of a conveyancer can help navigate the complexities of the conveyancing process, providing sellers with peace of mind and ensuring the protection of their legal interests. While there are costs associated with hiring a conveyancer, the benefits often outweigh the expenses, making it a valuable investment for anyone navigating the intricate process of selling a property in the UK.

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