Introduction What are the total costs involved in moving home?
What exactly is conveyancing? What are local authority searches and why are they required?
What steps are involved in a property transaction? What is the difference between a freehold and a leasehold property?
How long does the process take? How can we help you?



When you are moving home, conveyancing is an essential aspect of both buying and selling a property, but it can seem like a complicated process. To give you a clear understanding of the whole process we have put together this useful guide which covers the most common queries on conveyancing.

What exactly is conveyancing?

The conveyancing process involves the legal transfer of property ownership from the seller to the buyer. The process follows a series of steps, which begins with the acceptance of an offer and finishes when the keys are transferred, and ownership is registered.

What exactly is conveyancing?

What steps are involved in a property transaction?

The exact steps involved within the conveyancing process will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the property. However, there are a few key stages which will usually relate to every transaction:

  1. Initially, the conveyancer will gain an understanding of the services required. They will then confirm the instruction in the form of a letter, which will also set out the terms of business and the costs
  2. Once the terms are accepted, they will carry out any necessary proof of identity checks.
  3. If you are selling a property you will need to complete a property information form and a fixtures and contents form. The conveyancer will also need to obtain the title deeds or official copies of the title register through HM Land Registry.
  4. The seller’s conveyancer will then prepare the draft contract and send this across to the buyer's conveyancer. This will usually raise some pre-contract enquiries which the sellers and their conveyancer will respond to.
  5. If the buyers and their conveyancer are satisfied with their pre-contract enquiries and are in receipt of a mortgage offer, they will confirm this with the seller's conveyancer.
  6. The seller and buyer will then agree on a date to exchange contracts, which will mean both parties are legally committed to completing the property transaction. Exchange of contracts and completion of process are separate events but may take place on the same day.
  7. The seller's conveyancer will contact the mortgage company for a settlement figure for the outstanding amount. If necessary, the buyer's conveyancer will put together a transfer deed draft, which is sent to the seller's conveyancer to be signed before completion.
  8. The final stage will involve the buyer's conveyancer sending the funds to the seller's conveyancer, which will then result in the keys being released to the buyer.
  9. The seller's conveyancer will send the title deeds to the buyer’s conveyancer and use the proceeds of the sale to discharge the existing mortgage.
  10. The seller's conveyancer will then ensure that any remaining net sale proceeds are transferred across to the seller and the estate agent is paid for their services.
  11. The buyer's conveyancer sends the required stamp duty payment to HMRC and will also register the property in the name of the buyer with The Land Registry.

How long does the process take?

The whole process of selling or purchasing a home can vary significantly, although, from the point of accepting an offer to completion, it usually takes between 10 and 14 weeks. This can be faster or slower and will depend on the other parties involved and any complications within the potential chain.

What are the total costs involved in moving home?

What are the total costs involved in moving home?

When moving home there are a variety of costs which you will need to cover, whether you are purchasing or selling a property.

If you are selling a property, one of the first costs you will need to commit to will be the estate agent which you sell your property through. Their fees will usually be based on a percentage of the sale price between 1% and 3%, although it may be possible to agree on a fixed price.

If you are purchasing a property you will need to pay stamp duty, which is a government tax paid for homes which cost more than £125,000. You will also need to cover the costs of a mortgage valuation and the surveyor's fee, which could cost between £200 and £1000, depending on the value of the property. It is easy to forget about costs further down the line, such as the costs of physically moving home. A removals company could charge between £300 and £600, so it is important to factor costs such as these into your moving budget.


A further cost of local searches will add £119.50

Regardless of whether you are buying or selling a property, there will be legal conveyancing fees to pay. Here at Bowsers our conveyancing fees cover every aspect of the work we carry out during the sale or purchase of a property, including the redemption of any mortgages or charges which are registered against the property, liaising with the estate agents involved, registering the property with the Land Registry, payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax and ensuring any monies due are sent to you as soon as possible.

The total conveyancing fees due will usually depend on the price of the property involved. For example, here at Bowsers, for properties with a value of less than £100,000, the fee charged will be £495.00, excluding VAT, whereas houses brought or sold between £450,001 and £500,000 will be charged a fee of £1,295.00. In addition to these set fees, there are also costs relating to third parties, which are otherwise known as disbursements. An example is a HM Land Registry search which costs £6.00, although you will be made aware of any other disbursement costs at the start of the process.

What are local authority searches and why are they required?

What are local authority searches and why are they required?

Local authority searches are an essential aspect of the property purchasing process. They are required by mortgage lenders but can also provide useful information which may mean that you want to pull out of the purchase of renegotiating your offer. A local authority search is divided into two sections, the Local Land Charge Register search (LLC1) and the information relating to public highways (CON29).

The LLC1 search will provide information relating to the property, such as whether it is located in an area of conservation, subject to a tree protection order, situated within a smoke control zone or protected as a listed building. The CON29 search will provide information relating to public highways and planning decisions which could affect the property in the future. In addition, it covers environmental aspects, such as whether the property is located on or near contaminated land.

What is the difference between a freehold and a leasehold property?

When purchasing a property there are two forms of legal ownership, freehold and leasehold. When you purchase a freehold property, the building and its land are owned absolutely by you. In contrast, as a leasehold owner, you will be purchasing a lease from the freehold owner, although these are usually for a long period of time such as 90 to 120 years.

With freehold properties, you are responsible for the maintenance of the whole building, but with leasehold properties, this responsibility falls to the landlord. The cost of this is usually covered by leasehold maintenance fees, annual service charges and building insurance, which is used to maintain the common areas of the building such as the walls, staircase and roof.

The conveyancing process for a leasehold property is slightly more complicated than when transferring ownership of a freehold property. This is because additional investigations and paperwork are required, such as drawing up a Deed of Covenant, which is a legally binding agreement between the buyer of the property and the management company or landlord.

How can we help you?

If you would like to find out more about the conveyancing process our team are always available to answer your queries. With over 150 years of local experience in the Fenland area, we are the ideal team to deal with every property
transaction. To find out more, please contact us today.

Wisbech : 01945 583 194,

March: 01354 652 606,


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