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Conveyancing process explained for buyers

What is conveyancing? It's the legal process of buying a home. We explain everything you need to know about the conveyancing process when buying -- the conveyancing steps and conveyancing process timeline

The conveyancing process explained for buyers

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of home ownership from the seller to you, the buyer. The conveyancing process starts when your offer on a house is accepted and finishes when you receive the keys.

Who does the conveyancing?

A solicitor or conveyancer usually conducts the conveyancing process, but it is possible (although difficult) to do it yourself as long as you are not taking out a mortgage.

Instructing a conveyancing solicitor

Before anything can happen, you need to find the right solicitor or conveyancer and “instruct them” to oversee the conveyancing process. If you are considering using your estate agent’s recommended conveyancing solicitor, it is a good idea to compare conveyancing quotes to ensure you are getting a fair price.

See our guide on how much conveyancing fees cost to give you an idea of the cost of conveyancing and what conveyancing solicitors include in their fees. You may find that online conveyancing services are cheaper and offer the advantages of online case management and online document signing and verification which can speed up the process.

Before choosing your conveyancer, see our guide on important questions to ask your conveyancing solicitor before instructing.

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Once you’ve appointed a conveyancing solicitor, they will draw up a draft contract or terms of engagement with you, setting out their charges and deposits required.

Your solicitor will write to your seller’s solicitor to confirm they are instructed and request a copy of the draft contract and any other details, such as the property’s title and the standard forms.

Legal work — what happens first?

One of the first parts of the property conveyancing process involves your solicitor examining the draft contract and supporting documents and raising enquiries with the seller’s solicitor. You will be expected to go through the forms the seller has completed and let the solicitor know if you have any queries or concerns.

In particular you will want to double check the tenure of your new home: is it leasehold or freehold? If it’s leasehold, see our guide on leasehold conveyancing and don’t rely on your solicitor to check for the length of the lease. Leases below 80 years are a problem, can be costly to extend and you need to have owned the property for 2 years before you are eligible to do so. Leases under 60 years are best avoided.

Property searches

There are things you may not know about the property just from viewing it with estate agents or even getting a survey. As part of the conveyancing process, a conveyancing solicitor will do a set of legal property searches to ensure there are no other factors you should be aware of. Some searches will be recommended by the solicitor for all purchases and others will be required by the mortgage lender to protect them from any liabilities that the property may have.

These property searches include:

  • Local authority searches: are there plans for a motorway in your new garden? How about radioactive gas?
  • Checking the ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’ at the Land Registry– these are the legal documents proving the seller’s ownership. Both checks are legally required in order to sell
  • Checking flood risk – this can also done at the Land Registry. If you are already getting an environmental search (see below), you might not buy this one separately as the search will contain much more thorough flood information and maps
  • Water authority searches – find out how you get your water and if any public drains on the property might affect extensions or building works
  • Chancel repair search – to ensure there are no potential leftover medieval liabilities on the property to help pay for church repairs. However, you may decide to take out Chancel repair insurance instead for £20 or so. The laws around Chancel repair changed in October 2013 so now the onus is on the Church to establish and lodge liability with the Land Registry
  • Environmental Search – this report is used on the vast majority of transactions and is provided by either Landmark or Groundsure. Depending which product your solicitor usually uses, the report will give information about contaminated land at or around the property, landfill sites, former and current industry, detailed flooding predictions, radon gas hazard, ground stability issues, and some other related information
  • Optional and location specific searches – sometimes extra searches are required or recommended depending on the location or type of property or due to particular concerns raised by the buyer. These could include:
    • Tin Mining searches in Cornwall
    • Mining searches in various parts of the UK and Cheshire Brine searches
    • Additional Local Authority Questions such as Public Paths, Pipelines, Noise Abatement Zones, Common Land, etc

The cost of these property searches are often charged as extras, so make sure you factor them in to the conveyancing fees.

Compare conveyancing quotes from our panel of quality assured conveyancers

Conveyancing for your mortgage

You will need to get your mortgage in place, which includes ensuring you have the financing available for a mortgage deposit. Your solicitor will receive a copy of the mortgage offer and go through the conditions.

You will need to get a mortgage valuation, which typically happens as part of the conveyancing process. This is carried out on behalf of the mortgage company so they know that the property you’re buying provides sufficient security for the loan. You normally have to pay for it, but a mortgage company might throw it in for free to attract business.

You also need to have any other necessary surveys done. What sort of survey you have done will depend on your specific circumstances.

Before exchange of contracts can take place your lender will require you to get buildings insurance for your new home. That’s because you are responsible for the property as soon as contracts have been exchanged, so it’s in your interest to protect yourself in case of any eventuality. Get home insurance quotes now

Signing contracts

Since receiving the draft contract from the sellers solicitor at the start of the conveyancing process, your solicitor will have have been in correspondence with you about what is covered. Before signing the contract your solicitor will need to ensure:

  • That all enquiries have been returned and are satisfactory
  • That fixtures and fittings included in the purchase are what you expected
  • A completion date has been agreed between the two parties, which is usually one to four weeks after exchange of contracts, though this can vary widely
  • That you have made arrangements to transfer the deposit into your solicitors account so that it is cleared in time for an exchange. You may want to negotiate on the size of the deposit, which is normally 10% of the value of the property. However even if you agree to pay less than 10% you are still liable for 10% of the value of the property if you later pull out of the agreement. Therefore if you pay a 5% deposit and pull out of buying the property you will not only lose your deposit but also legally owe an additional 5% of the value of the property

Go to the property with the estate agent and the fixtures and fittings inventory list to ensure that everything you paid for is still there and the house has not been damaged in any way.

Exchanging contracts

You and the seller will agree on a date and time to exchange contracts at any time on any given day. Your solicitor will exchange contracts for you, which is usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers reading out the contracts over the phone (which is recorded) to make sure the contracts are identical, and then immediately sending them to one another in the post.

If you are in a housing chain your solicitor/conveyancer will do the same thing, but will only release it if the other people in the chain are all happy to go ahead. This means if one person pulls out or delays, then everyone in the chain gets held up.

Once you have exchanged contracts you will be in a legally binding contract to buy the property with a fixed date for moving. This means that:

  • If you do not complete the purchase, you will lose your deposit and owe the seller more if the deposit was less than 10%
  • The seller has to sell or you can sue them
  • The seller can no longer accept another offer (you no longer need to worry about being gazumped)

Between exchange and completion

One of the final steps in the conveyancing process involves your solicitor lodging an interest in the property, which will mean that the deeds to the property are frozen for 30 working days to allow you to pay the seller and lodge your application to the Land Registry to transfer the deeds into your name.

The seller will move out (although they may leave this to the day of completion).

You should get organised for your moving day.

The solicitor will send you a statement showing the final figure to pay, which will need to be cleared into your solicitors bank account at least one day before completion.

On completion day

Completion is normally set around midday on the specified date, although in practice takes place when the seller’s solicitor confirms that they have received all the money that is due. Once this happens the seller should drop the keys at the estate agents for your collection. This means that the conveyancing process is over, and you can move in.

After completion

After completion your solicitor will tie up some loose ends:

  • Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf. To calculate how much stamp duty you will need to pay, use our free stamp duty calculator
  • You will receive your legal documents about 20 days after completion after your solicitor has sent them to the Land Registry
  • Send a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage lender, who will hold them until you pay your loan off
  • Notify the freeholder if the property is leasehold
  • Give you a bill for their payment

You will want to collect together all your paperwork from the purchase of your new home, including the estate agent’s brochure, to file away and keep safe for when you move again.

Conveyancing process timeline

The conveyancing process starts when you make an offer on a property – or accept an offer on your home – and lasts until completion day when keys for the property are exchanged. The conveyancing process may be shorter if you are a cash buyerThe conveyancing process takes around 12-16 weeks.  

Conveyancing Process Step Approx time
Pre contract work: appoint conveyancer, instruct local searches, get survey, get draft contract 2 weeks
Time to arrange mortgage 4 weeks
Draft contract: reviewing survey report, local searches, answering outstanding questions 2-10 weeks
Time between exchange and completion 1 week
Total time from an offer being accepted to completion 12-16 weeks

For full details, see our guide: how long does conveyancing take and further advice on how to speed up the conveyancing process.

Looking to instruct a conveyancing solicitor? Compare conveyancing quotes and look out for Digital-move enabled firms for a speedier process

Leave a comment (66)* Required

  1. Paula BakerPaula Baker

    Please like every stage of the process if I do it myself
    Cash buy 2nd homecfamily home buying below value £85,000 so need an indemnity insurance
    Leasehold to freehold
    Do I need a the searches as bedn in family since 1965
    Contract of the probate solicitors they have acted badly want rights who can read it can I rewrite it to keep my rights

    Extremely urhent non contentious helpful fixed fee solicitor not working so cost effcorrect.protected .
    Do. I. Need searches

  2. Claire CrumpClaire Crump

    We have recently purchased a property and have discovered the seller is being taken to court for mortgage arrears and re-possession proceedings are starting (hearing on the 16th December). We contacted the solicitors dealing with these proceedings and they said all was ok. However, they now tell me that the matter is still going to court as it has not been resolved. Surely the mortgage and any outstanding arrears should have been cleared on completion. What does this mean for us as new owners of the property please?

  3. Ann CharltonAnn Charlton

    We sold our house in 2018 in a part exchange deal with McCarthy & Stone. According to the land registry, our old house is still registered in our name because McCarthy & Stone didn’t register the sale. What is our position?

  4. BethBeth

    With leasehold conveyancing, is the solicitor entitled to rely solely on the answers given in the property information forms? Mine say they’re not liable for a misrepresentation because they relied on the answers given in the form, even though additional documents supplied should have prompted further checks.

  5. ade fapsade faps

    My conveyance solicitor is simply useless, please can i change them at this stage
    All searches have been done, my documents have been checked

  6. Jillian FordJillian Ford

    After 4 years of purchasing my conucil house having a joint tenancy agreement with my partner. I believe my financial contributions off£205,000 investment was not pretected by owemy partners mumfr

  7. mcwilksmcwilks

    Does the conveyancing solicitor have a method of verifying for accuracy the address and post code of the property being bought by the buyer to establish it is freehold, leasehold, retirement, etc. Or do they just accept the details entered on the initial form?

  8. Sabr AljafSabr Aljaf

    Can Covid19 issues delay the receiving of the legal documents more than 20 days after completion date confirmed!?
    I am very grateful if you could help
    Many thanks

  9. Allison McKillopAllison McKillop


    I bought my home 2 years ago. It came with a ‘letter of comfort ‘.

    Since then building attic conversion problems have become apparent. Local authority council have (finally!!!l) admitted they issued the letter without having seen or inspected the conversion.

    Is this legal?

  10. Alexandra YoungAlexandra Young

    I have a question:

    I am in the process of purchasing a flat with my partner; we are yet to receive any documents from our solicitor regarding our property (search results, sellers contract/lease, anything else from the above). As we are first time buyers, I would like to know if we should expect to receive this stuff all in one go? From where I believe we are at, is waiting on the mortgage offer so we can accept and exchange. I feel like we should have received further stuff from our solicitors by now as I feel like they are the ones holding us up when I am certain that they have documents that they can share with us.

  11. JohnJohn

    We have just completed on a sale to find that an old fridge and separate freezer along with other inventory asks have not been met by the vendor that sold this property to us.

    We have contacted the estate agents and they have said that he will do nothing as he lives abroad, is there anything we can do?

  12. ACAC

    Hello, I have a question, we are in the process of purchasing a property and although we started the process beginning of February, to this day (14th May) this is not yet completed. Have asked for a status and our solicitors been advised by the Seller solicitors that “we are still awaiting instruction from our client reference the revised draft lease plan.” I am a bit lost, does this mean that the seller hasn’t instructed their solicitor to go ahead with the sale? I don’t understand why is taking so long. Thank you

  13. Philip HanleyPhilip Hanley

    Hello, I’m looking for any advice afforded in relation to numerous missing documents from the conveyancers used to purchase a household property (over 3 months since my initial request):

    1. Certification for Boiler/Central heating system
    2. Service records for the Boiler/central heating system
    3. Guarantee/Warranty documents for Boiler/Central Heating System
    3. Building Regulation Certs for extension at rear
    4. BS7671 certificate for electrical works conducted (location not specified)
    5. Identification card for the locks/keys provided by manufacturer/installation company

    It seems that they are repeatedly ignoring my written requests and have grown worried that this may become a bigger and possibly expensive issue as the boiler is gradually losing pressure and working intermittently.

    Thanks in advance

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Philip, if they’re not responding to your requests, consider going through their complaint handling process – all firms will have one. If you’ve complained to your solicitor and you aren’t satisfied with their response, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333, who can help to resolve your complaint for you.

  14. AliAli

    My solicitor says he is nt satisfy with my deposit
    All my money is frm our salaries bt he is asking fr stupid documents
    We gave him all the bank statements bt he didnt proceed frm last three weeks
    Our mortgage was done two and half months ago
    I cant understand wt to do its really disturbing fr us
    Can any body guide me please wt ll i do ?

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Proving your source of funds for the purchase of your property is the most important task in the conveyancing process. Solicitors are required by law to perform anti-money laundering checks. Different firms can have different protocols to follow in doing these checks. Speak with your solicitor to understand what further information you can supply to assist him with his checks. If you’re not satisfied with after speaking with them, all firms will have a procedure for handling complaints.

  15. Julie MylesJulie Myles

    We instructed a conveyancer re a purchase of a property , we moved in and it has come to light that we have not been connected to a sewer !! the property was built in1782 so is very old , but a alleged full conversion was carried out 30 years ago , if our conveyancer had done a Drain search this would have shown up, previous to us buying the house the landlord who did the conversion, rented the property out and it was unoccupied when we bought it , he ticked a box saying we were connected to sewer and our water supply was with Yorkshire Water ?? who is liable here for costs of connecting us with a main sewer , we are a old couple and this whole thing has made us ill , please please advise us what to do. many thanks

  16. Neil SmithNeil Smith


    I own a property with my brother that has been let for a number of years. He has recently bought a property and moved into it from his local authority rented house. He was charged the additional SDLT as they deemed it to be a 2nd home despite the fact that he did not live in the rental property and his main residence was rented accommodation.
    As I understand it, if we sell the rental property within 36 months, he can reclaim the additional SDLT. If I re-mortgage on my own and he transfers the deeds to be in my name only, does that achieve the same thing, which will allow him to reclaim the SDLT?


  17. JenniJenni

    Hello, I hope you can help me.

    We decided to change solicitors even before we started any work with them because the first formal letter we were sent contained additional fees from what was originally discussed when they told us “no hidden or extra fees”.

    After speaking to our new solicitor he said he still haven’t received our file after a week. We call our old solicitor and found out they sent our file to the Seller’s solicitor. Ridiculous! Do you know by the Seller’s solicitor having our file, whether this would affect us negatively. Apart from the time delay?

    Many thanks

  18. LudwikLudwik

    I have bought the house 2 months ago. It is freehold property.
    Still i haven’t received any paperwork or legal documents regarding it.
    What should i do?

  19. PhilipPhilip

    We are in the middle of selling our house and buying another, we had an issue with asbestos which came up in the survey of our house we are selling, we had this since removed and a certificate issued to say it is all clear, this was submitted to our solicitors who passed it over to our buyers solicitors, in the meantime our buyers has paid the deposit and signed the contract and the agreement was that on submission of the asbestos certificate we would exchange contracts. We have been waiting two weeks since and told that the lender has reduced the borrowing due to the condition of the property but no reason why, our buyer has not been told either. We have since discovered that neither our solicitors nor the estate agent have had sight of the initial mortgage offer from our buyers from the outset. My question is -is it not a legal requirement that our Solicitors should have requested this our confirmation in writing from our buyers solicitors that funds were in place for the mortgage?
    Currently we are meant to be exchanging contracts as both parties have paid deposits all contracts are signed this was meant to all happen last week.
    Have you any advice you can give us on what we can do or what we should do regarding the situation.
    Thanks Phil

    • Sophie KhanSophie Khan

      Dear Phillip,

      Thanks for you query. Please see our guides on the buying process: HOA Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Home, and Conveyancing process explained: For Buyers do have a look at point 6 under mortgages and you will note that it is normal practice that your solicitor should have received a copy of the mortgage offer. If you would like to discuss further details of your circumstances you are welcome to seek fee free mortgage advice from HomeOwners Alliance Mortgage Service. All the best with your purchase.

      Kind regards,

      HomeOwners Alliance Team

  20. maya amielmaya amiel

    maya amiel‏
    11:39 (לפני 4 דקות)

    Me and my boyfriend looking to buy a place I’m going to take the mortgage under my name and he will put the deposit . we are looking to buy a studio 120000 pound and he his going to put 40000.
    The house will be under my name but he will have 85% of the house. what kind of legal documents do we need ?

    Thank you

  21. JonJon

    I sold my last house myself and bought the next. The conveyancing process is simple and something I can do myself. I am in control of timescales and strategy, and am allowed to speak direct to the seller sol if there is a problem.

    But now I need a mortgage and It’s a ‘closed shop’. I have no choice but to use a lawyer. I am worried that I will lose control and my lawyer will be slow and not carry out my instructions. My friend had a purchase which took 5 months to completion. Both seller and buyer sol were useless and dishonest. She was not allowed to contact the seller to find out what was going on. Her sol kept stalling, empty promises, mistakes, dishonesty, and she had no control over a process conducted in her name, where she was paying all the bills.

    What safeguards do you offer to prevent this happening?

    • Sophie KhanSophie Khan

      Dear Jon,

      Thank you for your query. ULS technology operate our conveyancing system, they do say that they cannot guarantee that delays will not occur as it could be outside of the Law Firms control. However they offer the case tracking service – documents are not visible but each “milestone” has a date attached to it. There is also a 7 day a week helpdesk that can support you throughout the process. You can access our conveyancing system to compare quotes here: Compare Conveyancing Quotes. The ratings are a good indication of the firms current performance and should be used to help with selection of the firm taking cost into consideration too. Do also have a look our guide: How to find the right solicitor or conveyancer

      Wish you all the best,

      Kind regards,

      HomeOwners Alliance Team

  22. Hannes OberholsterHannes Oberholster

    Good Day
    I live in South Africa and my daughter works in the UK. I’m considering to buy a property in the UK so that she can live in it. The question now is what will the Stamp Duty be. Will I pay 4500.00 on the 290000.00 Or will I have to pay the stamp duty on an Additional Property as I do have property in South Africa.

    Hannes Oberholster

  23. yussufyussuf

    am not a registered agent but i have a buyer and a seller of a certain property the buyer is agreeable to buy at 140 m shillings whereas seller is ready to sell it at 120M shillings . how can i pocket the difference with or without their knowledge.

  24. Krzysiek (Kris)Krzysiek (Kris)

    hi im buying a house wich should be and according to my solicitor it is FREEHOLD yet the land itself on LEASHOLD basis….those that mean that the owner have right to (example): use my driveway, use my backyard, build things next to my house etc ?
    need asnwers ASPA please

  25. TCNTCN

    Usually a charge on the title is a debt or outstanding money that is owed to a creditor and as such, a property cannot be sold until this is paid or cleared. Your solicitor is actually acting in your best interest by making sure this is cleared before you complete. I know it’s very frustrating.


    Conveyancing Calculator

  26. AdellaAdella

    hi we were due to complete on Monday but now my solicitor has said they are waiting for a ‘charge to be removed from the title’ does anyone have any ideas about what this actually means???!!?

  27. duncan abbottsduncan abbotts

    I purchased a flat and the management fees were £120 a month, after being in the flat for two months the next years bill arrived and this had over doubled to £252 a month. This year it is £182 a month and after being in dispute with my solicitor for 21 months he still doesn’t except he is negligent. he asked no questions during the conveyancing and allowed me to purchase the flat without seeing the future forecast and budgets. my solicitor blames the sellers solicitor for not including the forecast info in the leasehold info pack and I would need to take them to a small claims court, but this would cost more than I would be compensated for. surely my solicitor must take responsibility as he has not acted in my best interests and still can’t/ won’t provide me with the budget and forecast info. any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  28. Nicola KarpuzNicola Karpuz

    It has just come to light as we were having repairs done on our roof the builder told me that we don’t actually own the roof void. I have sent off to the land registry and it’s true. This was signed over in 1930 to the house behind us. We purchased our house in June 2006. The conveyancer did searches but this was never brought to light. We wouldn’t have bought the house and surely would’ve struggled to get a mortgage. What to do next?

  29. LisaLisa

    how long should it take for me to receive my funds from the solicitor for house sale it has been two weeks

  30. RhodaRhoda

    thanks site helped a lot..

  31. spispi

    very informative and really clear my doubts. All the steps and stages are listed down clearly. Thank You!

  32. WBWB


    i’ve bought a 40% of a sharedownership property in 2006 and i can’t recall paying the stamp duty but my solicitor found out that I did pay for it and aksed me if this info was correct. I can’t find any documents to back this up and my old solicitor hasn’t been helpful. I have contacted the HMRC and they asked me to write to them which of course will take ages to get back to me and I need this info asap to complete the pyrchse of the remaining 60% which is due end of july 2015..please let me know if there is anyway I can get hold of this info faster. thanks

  33. SamSam

    Hi, I bought a property 2 weeks back. i took proper structural survey but today, I just found this house was in market with some other Agent before. I am shocked to know that there were serious structural failures and defects in the property which was deliberately hidden by the vendor party for the sole intention of selling and walking off. I Just managed to get hold of the old survey report for the same property through one of my references, the report is a 5 months old. It is a complete Structural survey report. Because he hid these cracks, in my structural survey nothing came up. I spoke to my solicitor but he is saying he can not do anything once the sale has been completed. Citizen advise is saying go to solicitor. Not sure what to do next. I am distressed. Please advise.

  34. MartinMartin

    I’m glad I read this article. It saved me a LOT of hassle along the way! Thank you

  35. B ellisB ellis

    Our buyers solicitors caused us 6 hours waiting time with 3 men and a van cost per hour £74, they kept our money in their account without telling our solicitors it had been seen! This cause the whole chain to wait not just us. Are they in breach of any rules and regulation, shouldn’t the transfer the monies straight away? As to cause no waiting and additional costs to the chain for removals etc, we just managed with minutes to spare to get the keys! Thanks to them. Can I claim anything back ie extra removals cost compensation, interest on my money that was in their account for longer than it should of been?
    Thank you.

  36. T. FairbanksT. Fairbanks

    Which local solicitors would you recommend for a house purchase of £90,000 in the Stoke-on-Trent area.


  37. KerriKerri

    We purchased a lease hold flat 5 years ago with an 81 year lease- our solicitor did not mention anything about the need to renew the lease at the earliest opportunity. Do they- the solicitor have any responsibility as part of our contract to conveyancing?

  38. mandy martindalemandy martindale

    my mam as a emty house for sale and some one as bought it its about 6 week now that my mam got a letter saying about exchange still not heard nothing

  39. A SaharaA Sahara

    I paid 10% deposit to my solicitor and signed the contact. The exchange of contract has not yet taken place. If at this stage I pull out, will I loose my deposit?

  40. Carol KeoghCarol Keogh

    I purchased a property jointly with my cousin in 1987. In 1990 she was headhunted for a job in the USA. She has lived there ever since. We are now about to put the house up for sale. I understand that Capital Gains Tax may be payable on her share of the sale price. How do we calculate the amount required for tax purposes? And, since she pays her taxes in the USA, is the CGT payable in the UK, where the house is, or in the USA where she currently resides?

  41. AnnaAnna

    Hi. We have recently purchased our first home, and are about to complete. Our solicitor has been less than helpful through this process (and we are a bit in the dark as we have never bought a property before, and are therefore not clear how things work). My question is what documents we should have in hand after completion from our solicitor? For example, we have all of the searches, but do not have the purchase agreement signed by both us and the sellers, or the deeds etc. As I know our solicitor won’t be of any help, I was hoping there is a definitive list somewhere, so I can chase our solicitor for the paperwork needed. Thanks!

  42. aliali

    Hi. I wonder if anyone can help. I recently bought a property and the date of completion was the 11th of july 2014. It was a cash purchase and no mortgage was involved. However it has been 2 months and still the property has not been registered in my name. I keep going to the solicitors and he keeps telling me to bear with him every 2 days as the sellers mortgage company which is sainsburys bank are not releasing tge charge. My solicitor is saying that this could take 6 to 12 months and cannot give me a definitive answer. What can I do? Does it usually take this long. My solicitor is also threatning to bar me from his office because I keep asking for updates!

  43. AbrahamAbraham

    We put an offer on a property and signed with the solicitos draft contract on 12 May 2014 so that they can start there work, and now it’s Sep and our solicitors says that they are struggeling to get the enquires replied from the seller’s solicitors. Not sure what to do, the estate agent is saying that they are chasing the seller…but nothing is happening. we offered good money for the house and now the prices starts to go down, what can we do? can we knock down the price of the house becuase of all this happening? very frustrating…please advise.

  44. RaulRaul

    I’m pretty sure all asbestos is burried at special hazardous waste landfill sites now so that shouldn’t be a problem. A word of warning though.. We had ‘potential asbestos artex’ flagged up on a home buyers report which was of great concern to our buyers. We contacted the asbestos watchdog who checked a sample and confirmed it was clear! The original surveyors presumption nearly cost us a sale.

  45. mikemike

    I am conveying a property i am purchasing.
    The other sides solicitor says I need id1 forms completed by a solicitor, as the land registry will complete these for free.
    Does any rules/regulation give the solicitor the right to insist that I use a solicitor to have these forms completed

  46. Jane BrownJane Brown

    (Former conveyancer and experienced self-conveyancer).
    @Tina Humphrey
    Of course you are right to be concerned. However, your brother ‘has been asked to sign a document’ is not specific enough. It could be a contract which covers him satisfactorily if they break up, for example by ensuring he will receive a split of the house. He should employ his own solicitor before signing.

    If his partner genuinely said that in the event they separate, “she will go it alone and take him off the contract”, this shows little understanding of contract law, as that is something she could not do.

  47. Jane BrownJane Brown

    (Former conveyancer and experienced self-conveyancer).
    @Jo Brooks: The key is Local Authority Searches. These should have been done by your solicitor and should have been/still be available to you (you paid for them). Go through the answers and see if you conclude that the Local Authority reported the road closure or was negligent in its answers to any questions – bearing in mind the temporary nature of the closure. This will point you either towards the LA, or towards your solicitor failing to tell you facts which were revealed by the searches. In the unlikely event that you chose not to get LA searches, then you can go no further.

    On to the builders’ liability, via their employee or agent. The N/A against the ‘roads’ point could be interpreted to mean that the roads were not discussed, ie, in the sense of: “Discussion of Roads? Not Applicable, it didn’t happen.” You would know more from the exact phrasing on your reservation form.
    You may be able to make the case that the agent was either untruthful or negligent in not telling you that the road had been closed, assuming you have sound evidence that s/he knew. Verbal contract exists and can form part of a larger contract but this is contract law, rather than conveyancing law.

    If you could evidence neglect by your solicitor or the LA, as suggested above, you could bring a case for compensation, but this would not help with your ownership of the plot. If your objective is to get out of that, then you will have to establish firstly that your solicitor/LA were not at fault and then that the company’s representative misrepresented substantial factors which were material to the sale, that you couldn’t have been expected to know, and that were important enough that you would not have agreed to the contract. This is the opinion of the writer, who is not an expert in contract law.

  48. Jane BrownJane Brown

    (Experienced self-conveyancer).
    @Julia: It is OK for both sides to correspond and decide about contents; it just saves unnecessary legal fees. However, ALL contents to be included in the price MUST be specified by the seller on a form attached to the contract, and cannot be changed between contract and completion, therefore it is correct and necessary for your friend’s solicitor to send the required form to be signed, and your friend cannot leave this to be agreed at completion. Between the two parties, separate sales of furniture can, of course, be agreed post-contract, but any mess they cause is their mess, not the solicitors’ mess. As you rightly surmise, it’s better for you not to be financially involved.

  49. matthew langmatthew lang

    We bought a house with off road parking & we asked questions about the drop kerb to which our solicitor said that the search returned nothing & that the sellers agreed to put indemnity insurance in place “if anything went wrong”. We have since been told by our council that it is an “illegal” crossing so we cant use our drive, this is the main reason we bought it. The solicitors have since been taken over. Can i sue the conveyancing solicitor for negligence as we wouldn’t have bought the house if it didnt have off road parking. Can i get them to pay for the work to make the crossing legal?

  50. SSWSSW

    Me and my husband were buying a 3 bed house and selling our 2 bed apartment. Everything was as standard procedure goes we had mortgage offer on our purchase and all the searches and legal work was completed on both properties. We all agreed for 11 august as a completion date and exchange contracts, but when my solicitors ask my lender that we have our completion day on monday will they send money on the day or on friday our lender responded that they got our name randomly selected for an internal audit (JUST ONE DAY BEFORE COMPLETION)!!!!!! And they need to go through our application again and need some more documents whose list and letter is posted to us but till today 9 august we didn’t receive it.
    Now I m in a situation where my buyer wont allow me a single day to stay after completion date and the property we were purchasing have moved put to another city.
    Please advice me what should I do
    Can i legally delay completion ???
    Or if I back off from my purchase what will be the legal money I have to pay to my vendor??
    By any means i vacate the property on monday no where to go i m totally lost otherwise my buyer will sue me for what is not my fault.
    Please help me out !!!

  51. SuSu

    The property which I am buying came up on the environemental search result as being built near to a landfill ( like 10m) away . Is it a wise decision to buy the property? The landfill consit of concerte, tiling and glass and may be asbestos.

  52. JuliaJulia

    A friend who lives abroad is selling his house, (which I live in)and the purchaser has asked if some of the furniture can be included to which my friend has agreed but neither of them are being very specific. My friend has named some pieces that he wants to keep and indicated that he doesn’t much care what happens to the rest. The purchaser seems to have interpreted this as she gets everything that is left although my friend says he will decide when he comes over to complete the sale. The purchaser has somehow got hold of his e-mail address and the two of them are corresponding outside of legal dealings with their solicitors. The purchaser has offered to sell on his behalf anything that she doesn’t want and send him the money. He has told her to give any proceeds to me. I want nothing to do with this transaction which seems quite odd to me. My friend’s solicitor sends him forms to fill in regarding this and he is getting irritated because he doesn’t want to do this. I find the purchaser’s actions quite peculiar, I wonder what you think.

  53. Jo BrooksJo Brooks

    I purchased a house plot from a large building company in Aug 13, and the road on which the house would sit was sold to me as a quiet road (and it was). I visited the site several times before committing. The Sales advisor said it was a quiet road in a peaceful area and disclosed she had been working on the site for 5 years. I lived 300 miles away at the time and did not know the area, so trusted her statements, which influenced my decision to buy the plot.

    Having now moved to the area and into the property in May 14, the road is actually a busy main road, but at the time of viewing properties on the development and my reservation, I have now discovered that the road was actually closed for period of 7 months.

    The sales advisor would have known the true conditions of the road, but made a false statement of fact to me about it being quiet and never informed me that the road was actually closed.

    I used a solicitor recommended by the building Co, and he said he never knew the road was closed. Should he have known this? As it stands, I an willing to sue the building company for fraudulent misrepresentation for the contract to be undone, but need to ascertain if the solicitor is in anyway accountable for not knowing this information and therefore not telling us about the road.

    I have my reservation form which discusses aspects of the house and local area and in the section where the roads are discussed N/A has been written, but I have evidence to prove the road was closed via the local council. Should she have written ‘road closure in area discussed’.

    Any help or guidance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  54. CSLCSL

    I want to negotiate on the size of the deposit which for the original plan of the deposit was 20%, but now we want to increase the size of the deposit up to 74.5%.
    1. will that possible to change before gain the mortgage offer?
    2. how about change the size after gaining the mortgage offer?
    Kind regards

  55. Tina HumphreyTina Humphrey

    I am concerned for my brother who is in a relationship , not married but has been asked by his partner to sign a document that she has told him will help secure her a mortgage. He has only mentioned it to our mother who is extremely concerned that if anything goes wrong e.g they separate, he will be liable for half of any monies owed on her mortgage. She has assured him that this will not be the case and he walk away at any time and she will go it alone and take him off the contract . I feel that any signed document must be legally binding and that he will be held accountable, please could you advise.

  56. BlokeoninternetBlokeoninternet

    Dear Teresa,

    I’m afraid your plan to pay your tenants deposit won’t work. The bank will send a valuer to the property and, if they conclude that the value of the house is less than the price you are asking for the house, they’ll refuse the mortgage.

    Don’t try “bending the rules”. This is mortgage fraud and banks have many ways to detect it.

  57. k fulfordk fulford

    I am in the process of buying a new coachhouse from a national builder I was told it was freehold I put a resevation fee down an I am about to make a 10% deposit all the developers paperwork states it is a freehold the mortgage lender has it as a freehold now the developer has said it is a leashold my solicitor is getting clarification on this but if this is the case can I get my money back as being miss sold, so far I have parted with nearly £3000

  58. Taimoor HotianaTaimoor Hotiana


    I purchased my house in 2011 by getting a mortgage including a product with all legal fees covered. I have recently applied for a copy of title details from land registry and it looks like there are 2 typos in my first name. Instead of Muhammad, it says Mohammed.

    My query is: Who is responsible for this mistake as I never filled in any forms for land registry and all my applications with the mortgage lender has the correct spellings.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.


  59. TeresaTeresa

    Hello, I have an unusual situation where I am selling my house and my tenant would like to buy it, which is great. However because she and her husband are in their late 40’s they have been told they need more than 10% deposit and the term will be shorter. They do not have sufficient deposit to buy at this time. I would like to pay their deposit of £10K but then they buy the house at £10K above the current valuation. Is this legal and secondly are there any downsides to the idea?

  60. Christine OChristine O'Dell

    We sold our late mothers house to a buyer with no chain in October 2013. The house sale was completed Friday 21/2/14. We have not had our money paid into our account and have been told by solicitor that she is waiting for estate agents bill. Is it usual to wait this amount of time for money to be paid into our account?

  61. Kate ComerKate Comer

    Our conveyancing solicitor seems to be causing unnecessary delays, and doesn’t seem to grasp simple maths (I’m selling to my mum who already has a £55k second charge on my house, the agreed price is £125k therefore after the consideration of £55k there is £70k payable, it seems straightforward to me but not to the solicitor).
    I’m buying another property at the same time which seems to be dragging on for a ridiculously long time.
    Is there benefit to the solicitor to extend the process? We had asked for a completion date that was well before Christmas yet we are still being delayed now and won’t be completing before the end of January!

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