Buying a House

What are the Stages of Conveyancing?

When you are buying or selling a property, you will need someone to manage the legal side of the process. This is called the conveyancing process and it usually involves going through a series of steps in the conveyancing timeline. But how long does the conveyancing process take? Well, it is typically 3-5 months but […]

When you are buying or selling a property, you will need someone to manage the legal side of the process. This is called the conveyancing process and it usually involves going through a series of steps in the conveyancing timeline. But how long does the conveyancing process take? Well, it is typically 3-5 months but it can take longer. It is common to use a conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer to manage the process of conveyancing for you. Most first-time buyers do not know what to expect from the conveyancing process or the stages of conveyancing, so here’s an easy step-by-step introduction to the conveyancing process timeline.

If you are looking for a Conveyancing Solicitor take a look in our Conveyancing supplier database here.

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process that is undertaken for buying and selling a property. It is possible to use the same conveyancer if you are buying and selling at the same time, which can speed up the process. In short, the conveyancing process timeline involves a series of steps to the legal transfer of home ownership from the seller to the buyer. During the entire legal process, until the exchange of contracts, either you or the seller is able to pull out of the process without any legal penalty.


Who Carries out the Conveyancing?

A conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer usually undertakes the legal work for you. It is a good idea to choose a conveyancer or solicitor early on in your search so that you are ready with their details when you are ready to make an offer. This means the property can be taken off the market by the estate agent. It is important to choose the right solicitor or conveyancer for you, so remember to ask if their quote is all-inclusive so you don’t get any costly surprises and what their caseload is like, as this can influence the time taken to complete your purchase. Online conveyancing can be cheaper and can also speed up certain stages of the conveyancing timeline.

Once you have chosen your conveyancer, you will receive a draft contract from them that you will need to sign. 

How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

There are several stages of the conveyancing process. It can take as little as 4-6 weeks or it can take 6 months or more. As a rule of thumb, allow at least 3 months and be flexible around timescales. How long it takes depends on many factors, such as how many parties are in the chain or transaction. If you are a first time buyer purchasing from a couple who are emigrating, the chain is small, but in other chains there are multiple buyers and sellers. Another thing that can affect how long conveyancing takes is the caseload of the conveyancer, so this is worth checking before you instruct them, to ensure they are able to manage your caseload efficiently.



Average Conveyancing Process Timeline

Instruct conveyancer, searches, survey: 2-4 weeksPropertyable Arrow

Mortgage application: 4-6 weeks

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Draft contract, enquiries: 4-8 weeks

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Exchange to completion: 1-2 week

How Long Is The Conveyancing Process Timeline?

  • Instruct conveyancer & pre-contract work: approx 2-3 weeks
  • Conveyancing searches: approx 2-4 weeks
  • Mortgage application & survey: approx 4-6 weeks
  • Draft contract & planning a completion date: approx 4-8 weeks
  • Signing & Exchanging contracts: approx 2 weeks

Total time from offer being accepted to completion: approx 14-23 weeks

Stages of the Conveyancing Process

1. Instructing a Conveyancing Solicitor and pre-contract work – approx 2-3 weeks

Once you agree on a purchase price with the seller and receive your memorandum of sale from the estate agent, the agent will share your solicitors details with the seller’s solicitor and vice versa. However, appointing a conveyancer you trust can begin before this, when you will collect several quotes and decide which conveyancer you wish to appoint. The seller’s conveyancer will send your legal team the contract pack, property information form and the fixtures and fittings form. Your conveyancer will send you these forms to check over, but they will also check them. At this stage, your conveyancer will ask you for details of your mortgage lender and will receive a copy of your mortgage offer.

Top Tip: At the same time as instructing a conveyancer, it is a good idea to instruct your surveyor. Once you have the survey, you will be able to raise any concerns via the conveyancing process.

2. Conveyancing Searches – approx 2-4 weeks

You are now at the stage in the conveyancing timeline when your conveyancer will carry out searches to make sure there is nothing relating to the property that you need to be aware of and you may well be wondering how long these conveyancing searches take. The searches include local, environmental, mining and drainage searches. An example of things that can come back include information about proximity to former mining shafts and flood risk information. This part of the process usually takes around 4 weeks to complete (although Local Authority searches can sometimes take just 10 days), however, if queries are raised as a result, this can delay the purchase process as your solicitor will have to raise any queries with the seller’s solicitor and await satisfactory responses. The cost of these searches is additional to your conveyancer fees, but many include them in their quote.

3. Securing Your Mortgage Offer and House Survey – approx 4-6 weeks

Your mortgage application should now progress, with the lender instructing a valuer to value the property. This is not a survey and only provides assurance to the lender of the valuation of the property. It is recommended to get at least a Level 2 RICS survey on any property that is not new build. For a new build property, a snagging survey can be commissioned instead. If there are any issues with the valuation or survey at this stage, you will need to address them with the lender or the seller. Any negotiation following a survey is usually done via the estate agent or conveyancer. If there are any issues with the valuation, you will have to deal directly with the lender and/or the seller. For example, in the event of a down valuation, where the property is worth less than you have offered, there may be the option to appeal the valuation or you may need to renegotiate the price paid. A mortgage application usually takes 4-6 weeks.

4. Draft Contract & Planning a Completion Date – approx 8 weeks

While your mortgage application is going through, your conveyancer will be working on your draft contract. Once your conveyancer receives all of the searches back they will create a property report for you, which informs you of the contents of the contract pack, pre-contract enquiries, the result of the searches and the mortgage offer, once it is issued. This is your opportunity to ask questions on anything that is unclear. Once all enquiries are finalise you can now work with your conveyancer to arrange a completion date. Your conveyancer will then liaise with the seller’s solicitor to agree on a completion date.

5. Signing & Exchanging Contracts – approx 2 weeks

Your conveyancer will send you the final completion statement, transfer deed and mortgage deed to agree and sign. You will now know exactly how much money you need to send over to your solicitor ahead of completion to cover deposit, stamp duty and conveyancing fees. Make sure you have made arrangements to transfer the deposit into your solicitors account so that it is cleared in time for an exchange. The seller’s solicitor will be sent the signed transfer deed, contracts will be exchanged and the deposit sent to the seller’s solicitor. Once you have exchanged contracts you are in a legally binding agreement and will lose your deposit if you pull out. Before exchange, the completion date can be moved, so be careful of booking removals to early in the timeline and before you have an agreed date.

Between Exchange and Completion

You are now approaching the final stages of the conveyancing process and your conveyancer will now lodge an interest in the property, which will mean that the deeds to the property are frozen for 30 working days to allow payment and transfer of the deeds into your name. Now is a good time to make sure you have insurance for the property, if you have not already done so. Also, you can now plan your move. It usually takes 1-2 weeks between exchange and completion, although it can be done on the same day if necessary.

6. Completion

This is the day the property ownership transfers to you. Your conveyancer will obtain the money from your lender and will pay the remaining balance and receive the transferred deed. The seller or estate agent acting on their behalf, will not release the keys to the property until funds are received, so it is wise not to expect completion too early in the day.

Post Completion

While you are settling into your new home, your conveyancer will complete the payment of any stamp duty land tax and sending your legal documents to HM Land Registry to register you as the owner of the property. They will also notify the freeholder is the property is leasehold. HM Land Registry will send the title deeds to your conveyancer and these will be passed onto your mortgage lender.

Please search our database for a conveyancing solicitor today!


What is the Difference Between a Conveyancer and a Solicitor?

The difference between a licensed conveyancer and a solicitor is that a solicitor can deal with more complex legal issues and is usually more expensive. It is common in the UK for people to use a licensed conveyancer for property transactions, although it is down to personal choice.

How Long Does conveyancing Take in The UK?

The average time it takes to complete the conveyancing process in the UK is 3-6 months, but it can be quicker or take longer, depending on the transaction and any delays that might arise.

What Causes Delays in Conveyancing?

Delays in the conveyancing process can be caused by a number of things, including issues with the property or survey report, problems with the property title, missing information or issues with the buyers mortgage application.

How Much Does Conveyancing Cost?

Conveyancing costs vary, but on average expect to pay around £1000-£2000. One thing it is worth checking is if the conveyancing quote is all inclusive and additional costs won’t be added on at the end of the process.

How Long Does The Conveyancing Process Take If There Is No Chain?

Not being in a chain can speed the conveyancing process up, compared to if your are a buyer and seller in a bigger chain of transactions. If there is no chain and you are, for example a first time buyer and your seller is not buying another property, the conveyancing process can take as little as 4 weeks. However, just because there is no chain, does not mean delays cannot happen. Circumstances can change and there can be issues that arise at any stage during the conveyancing process, so it is essential to be prepared for this.

How Can I Avoid Delays In Conveyancing?

Sometimes delays in the conveyancing timeline are unavoidable, but there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of delays. Be sure to communicate well with your conveyancer and estate agents at all stages of the conveyancing process and return key documents and information in a timely manner. Also, make sure you are on hand to deal with issues promptly to avoid any unnecessary delays through breakdowns in communication.
What is the Difference Between a Conveyancer and a Solicitor?


Buying Your First Home? Read Our Buyers Guide…

From mortgages and insurance to viewings, offers, exchange and completion, our Buyers’ Guide will take you through everything, step by step, from start to finish.

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