Conveyancing refers to the legal element of moving home. It is the process by which you transfer the ownership of a property from one person to another.

A conveyancer is a lawyer that specialises in the legalities of moving home. This person will go through the process of transferring ownership of the property.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or more seasoned in property, the process can sometimes feel overwhelming and confusing. Below we outline the conveyancing process, so you know exactly what to expect.

What is the process of conveyancing?

Memorandum of Sale

A Memorandum of Sale is a document that records the details of a property sale. This will be sent to your conveyancer by your estate agent. It includes details like the agreed price, the address of the property, the names of the sellers and the buyers and their conveyancers. As a buyer, you will be asked to provide your details alongside a valid piece of ID (driving licence or passport) and proof of residence.

1. Mortgage

Ideally, you should already have a mortgage offer agreed upon in principle. Tell your mortgage lender that you have made an offer and how much that offer was. Your mortgage lender will also expect to receive details of the property.

2. Provide instructions to your conveyancer

Your conveyancer will now ask you for details and instructions. Meanwhile, the seller will complete a fittings and contents form and an information form providing specific property details. The seller’s conveyancers will get details of any existing mortgages on the property. If there is an existing mortgage, the conveyancers will obtain information regarding how much of the mortgage is outstanding so that this can be paid out of the sale proceeds when the transaction completes.

3. Arrange Surveyor

A surveyor is a highly trained professional. Their job is to offer expert advice on the value and condition of a property.

Aside from the basic mortgage valuation, there are two options for survey reports. The latter is recommended if the property being investigated is old or listed.

  • Basic survey. Also known as a homebuyer’s report.
  • Full structural survey.

4. Property Search

Next, a contract pack is sent to your conveyancer. This includes the contract, the seller’s property information form and land registry documents of title from the seller’s conveyancer.

Once the contract pack has been received, any relevant searches should proceed. This could be Local Authority, Drainage, Environmental or similar. Many mortgage providers require you to have some searches, particularly Local Authority, so be sure to keep this in mind.

5. Contract

If necessary, your conveyancer will raise any concerns or queries with the seller’s conveyancer. You will then receive a legal report containing legal information about the title to the property and a preliminary draft of the contract and transfer (legal document signed by both buyer and seller to transfer property ownership) to be signed. You should read the contract carefully before signing, as with any legal document.

The transfer document must be signed in the presence of an independent witness, and the originals of both documents returned to your conveyancer.

6. Sign the Mortgage Deed

After making an offer, your mortgage lender will send your solicitor a copy of it. When this is done, your conveyancer will act on their behalf and yours to ensure any special conditions can be met, and they will also verify whether the details your mortgage lender holds about you are correct.

Following this, you will receive a mortgage deed to be signed. As with the transfer document, the mortgage deed should be signed in the presence of an independent witness over the age of 18 years.

7. Pay Deposit

Provided that any issues with the searches, mortgage and enquiries are resolved – and, also, if you are “in a chain”, all the other parties in the chain are ready – your conveyancer will ask you for the deposit. The deposit usually equals ten per cent of the purchase price of the property.

(Subsequently, you will be sent a financial statement showing the money required to complete your transaction. This figure considers the mortgage funds coming from your lender and all the fees and disbursements.)

8. Final Checks

Your conveyancer and the seller’s conveyancer now begin agreeing on a completion date, ready to exchange contracts.

Your solicitor will check over all the documents, and your seller’s solicitor will obtain final redemption statements for any existing mortgages on the property.

9. Protect your investment

Buildings insurance is essential. Your mortgage lender will most likely make it a condition that you must have buildings insurance by the date of exchange of contracts. Buildings insurance protects your investment in the property and the interests of your mortgage lender.

10. Exchange

Upon exchange, both you as the buyer and the seller are contractually bound to complete on the agreed completion date. Typically, the conveyancers exchange contracts over the telephone and then send the signed contracts by post. Exchange of contracts legally binds both parties to transferring the property. Therefore, you can be confident that the seller must vacate the property on the day of completion.

At this point, all relevant paperwork will be collated ready for the day of completion.

11. Completion

On this day, your conveyancer will send the outstanding balance of the purchase price, part of which will be the money you have received from your mortgage lender to the seller’s solicitor in the form of a bank telegraphic transfer.

Once this stage has been completed and confirmed by the seller’s side, the estate agent can release the keys.

Congratulations, the property is now legally yours!

12. Inform Land Registry

Next, your conveyancer will pay stamp duty land tax on your behalf. They will also inform the Land Registry that you are the property’s new owner and that your mortgage lender is also involved.

13. Deed Of Title

Finally, after a few weeks, you will receive a copy of the title information document, which shows you as the owner.

Conveyancing Solicitors Blackheath

At Beverley Morris & Co. Solicitors, based in Blackheath Village, SE3, we have an excellent team of Residential Conveyancers ready to support you through your property purchase (or sale).

For more information about our residential property services, please click here.

Alternatively, call us today on 020 8852 4433 or email