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Conveyancing process explained for sellers

Conveyancing is the process of legally transferring home ownership from you, the seller, to the buyer. It starts from accepting an offer and finishes when you hand over the keys to the buyer. We explain all of the legal stages in the conveyancing process when selling -- the conveyancing steps and the conveyancing process timeline.

Conveyancing process for sellers

Who does the conveyancing?

Regardless of whether you’re selling or buying, it’s a solicitor or conveyancer who will usually conducts the conveyancing process.

When to instruct a conveyancing solicitor

The first step in the conveyancing process for sellers is to instruct your conveyancing solicitor. Once you have accepted an offer, you need to formally instruct your solicitor or conveyancer to begin the conveyancing process to allow the sale to progress effectively.

To reduce delays and speed up the conveyancing process, it’s probably best to choose which solicitor or conveyancer you want to use before you are under offer, around the time you choose your estate agent.

To help you choose your conveyancing solicitor for your house sale, see our advice guides on what conveyancing and solicitor fees to expect when selling, and compare quotes.

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Conveyancing process questionnaires for sellers

The next step in the conveyancing process for sellers, before the exchange of contracts, involves completing a number of detailed questionnaires about the property and what you intend to include with the sale, which will be provided to you by your solicitor/conveyancer. You may be asked to complete:

  • The (TA 6) is a general questionnaire and includes information on boundaries, disputes and complaints (like reported noisy neighbour complaints or boundary disputes), known proposed developments (like motorways or railways), building works, council tax, utilities, sewerage, contact details.
  • If you do not own the freehold you should give more information on either the leasehold (TA 7) or the commonhold (TA9).
  • The (TA 10) provides details of which fittings and fixtures you would like to include with the property.
  • The (TA 13) is more technical, but also includes finalisation details including arrangements to hand over the keys, how and where you will complete, and ensuring that the house is free of all mortgages and liability claims.

You, the seller, must fill these forms out truthfully and to the best of your knowledge; if it later transpires that you have not been fully truthful you could be sued for compensation. Or, if they find out before exchange of contracts, it might make the buyers nervous that you are misleading them about other things and they may pull out.

Draft contract and negotiations

Your solicitor/conveyancer will use the questionnaire information to draw up a draft contract. This is sent to the buyer for approval.

The conveyancing solicitor will lead negotiations over the draft contract. Things to agree include:

  • Date of completion (usually 7-28 days after the exchange of contracts).
  • What fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale price.
  • How much the buyer will pay for other fixtures and fittings.
  • Who will fix any issues raised in the buyer’s survey, or an update on the sale price that reflects the survey’s outcome, if applicable.

Paying off your mortgage

Before you can exchange contracts, you need to pay off your mortgage, by requesting a redemption figure from your mortgage company. This is how much you pay upon completion of the sale.

Exchanging contracts

You and the buyer will have agreed on a date and time to exchange contracts. As part of the conveyancing process, your solicitor or conveyancer will exchange contracts for you. This is usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers making sure the contracts are identical, and then immediately sending them to one another in the post

If you or the buyers are in a chain, the solicitors/conveyancers 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. For more, see how can I break the housing chain?

Once you’ve exchanged contracts, you will be in a legally binding contract to sell the property. This means that if the buyer does not complete the purchase, you will probably keep their deposit, and you can also sue them. If you pull out of the sale, they can sue you. Exchanging contracts also means that you can no longer accept another offer on your house.

Between exchange and completion

Immediately after exchange you should receive the buyer’s deposit – usually 10% of the property price. Legally, you own the property until completion, and so there is no need to move out before then. However, it will be a lot less stressful if you can move out some days before, rather than leaving it to the last minute.

This is a good time to organise your move and get removals quotes and organise your removals company if you are using one.

You should go around the property before you complete, ensuring that everything that was on the fixtures and fittings inventory list is still in the property.

On completion day

On completion day you will hand over the keys. In practice, the buyer normally gets the keys from the estate agent, and you leave any spare sets you have in the property.

You or your conveyancer/solicitor will receive the outstanding balance of the sale price, hand over the legal documents that prove ownership and pay off the mortgage with the proceeds of the sale.

After completion

You will have to pay your solicitor/conveyancer and the estate agent.

Conveyancing process timeline for sellers

The conveyancing process when you are selling starts when you accept an offer on your home – and lasts until completion day when keys for the property are exchanged. The conveyancing process takes around 12-16 weeks.  

Pre contract work: appoint conveyancer, instruct local searches, get survey, get draft contract 2 weeks
Time for buyer 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

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Leave a comment (44)* Required

  1. Kate SKate S

    Hi there

    I am selling my house and have the contracts ready for exchange. I have also just found my onward property so I want to progress my sale as quickly as possible. If I tell my conveyancer handling my sale, are they legally obligated to disclose this to my buyers?

    I’m worried my buyers will try to use this as leverage to knock me down on the price. All throughout my sale, I have been a seller with no onward purchase and would preferably like to remain being viewed this way.


  2. Chris MooreChris Moore

    I am selling a house to my son and partner who have an approved mortgage and an appointed solicitor. They already live in the house. Do I really need a conveyancer?

  3. S.DaviesS.Davies

    My daughter and her ex partner are selling their house, they jointly own it. The solicitors dealing on their behalf are only sending correspondence via their portal, to him, my daughter is not getting any information, unless he shows her it. Should solicitors involve both owners in the whole process? and not just him. Also, can the solicitors split the equity payments, rather than paying into their joint account? Sorry for the questions, but we are extremely worried about how this is being handled, as his brother was the estate agent, who only sent letters addressed to him, and the solicitors are recommended by his firm. Thank you in advance.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hi S. Davies. Your daughter should speak to the conveyancing solicitor and explain the situation. As joint owners she should have access to the information as well and signing off on decisions, so should in the very least have a login to the portal. She may want to seek her own legal advice as well during the process. Good luck. Angela

  4. John AppiahJohn Appiah

    Hi, I have just heard back from my conveyancer to confirm he’s received the searches and also sent me a copy of the new builder developers agreement for lease issued by their lender. Are we far off exchanging contracts and will it be possible to change my conveyancer at this point as they’re not very engaging

  5. RabRab

    The level 3 survey for the house I am buying has identified some repairs. I have raised these with both my solicitors and the estate agent stating that I would like to consider the repair costs as part of the final purchase price. Both parties have advised that usually negotiations post survey would be conducted by the other party.

    Can anyone advise the correct course of actio?

  6. S. GirlingS. Girling

    Helpful and informative. Thankyou.

  7. Diana MbanoDiana Mbano

    We are in the process of buying a new build. Our conveyancer has just given us the outcome of the searches but on most of these their note is they are not qualified to interpret the outcome of these searches and tell us to speak with a specialist to advise if searches are satisfactory. Surely that’s wrong and we pay them to be able to help interpret these and help us decide if searches are satisfactory for us to make the purchase? Please help advise.

  8. AbuAbu

    Thanks for tbs educative platform.
    I may wish to know if as an Attorney I can appoint someone else as agent to sell on my behalf because I am presently out of the country and the buyer needs his conveyance signed.
    Thans again

  9. StellaStella

    My buyers solicitor is pretty slow to act on anything. At first they were really good and were asking about exchange and completion dates. However they have stopped responding, they are asking for indemnity policies- which we have now submitted AND we are still awaiting their response. I am so stressed and frustrated buy this whole process as I am forever chasing my solicitor and the estate agent. My property was Sold STC from Feb 9th- and I also am purchasing a property. All of my part is done, I am the start of the chain however at risk of losing the property that i bought because of my buyers solicitors. I thought it would be straight forward as my buyer is a 1st time buyer- feels like more stress. I am worried any further delays and i will miss out on the stamp duty extension- so i have resulted to calling the Solicitors and agents everyday as it feels that the only way things are pushed forward.

  10. ConveyancingConveyancing

    Thanks for sharing this informative information

  11. christian mallonchristian mallon

    Me and my sister jointly own my mum’s old house. I am buying her out of the house and I have buying costs to buy her half that I am paying 100 percent myself But she wants me to pay half of her selling costs to me which I think is u fair as she choose to sell is this legal? Probate is already compete and the house is in Belfast

  12. Ruth WhiteheadRuth Whitehead

    A buyer was found for my property in May 2020. No Chain. It is now Jan 2021 and my estate agent tells me the sale won’t be completed until mid Feb. My property is empty and with no issues to have caused this delay. Can I seek compensation for the time it has taken?

  13. KathKath

    i completed on my house sale and moved out of the house. My purchase was not ready until 5 weeks later. Because of this my mortgage provide started chasing me for a mortgage payment 4 weeks after on the property that i had sol. I am now told by the mortgage provider that my solicitor did not pay my mortgage off until completion & the debt is with me were do i stand.

  14. Julie TreadwellJulie Treadwell

    I am trying to complete my purchase .my solicitor requested planning permission report but my vendors solicitor has told him he can download that information himself ,which my solicitor has stated that it is my vendors responsibility to provide this who is right

  15. Adriana McCoolAdriana McCool

    My house went on the market in September 2020. The house is vacant and I have had a buyer since September. Their Solicitor is now asking me for a covenant consent certificate with regards to a conservatory i had bulit when the house was built 16 years ago. The window company said they had dealt with the planning permission. How would I find the information needed as this uis dragging on? Thank you

  16. Liz McCLiz McC

    The day before Completion our Solicitor demanded that we pay their full Fee immediately and told us that if we did not do this they were not allowed to complete their work for us the next day. We handed over the money but was this a lie? I do not believe that this is true.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello Liz, you should have had terms of business when you first instructed your Solicitor and this likely would have set out when their fees would have become payable.

  17. nancynancy

    My shared ownership (40%) flat is `under offer.`
    I am an elderly lady & intend to move to another area entirely.My neighbours are abusive & destructive.I wish to move away as soon as possible and would like to go ASAP prior to exchange.I will be renting the other end.What do you think?

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello Nancy, sorry to hear of your situation. You’ll need to consider the financial implication of this. You’ll need to be able to afford to pay the rent and any mortgage on your current flat in addition to the rent on your new property. The main risk is that your sale could fall through and you find yourself having to pay for two properties for longer than you anticipated. Best of luck.

  18. gitogito

    i am trying to buy a flat in london and the estate agent gave me the seller name as anna keegan
    when during the sale the seller solicitor sent a copy of a lease to my solicitor with kovac as proprietor and leaseholder as dacosta dated october 2000 for 99 years lease as from 1983.

    nothing as anna keegan.

    i eventually received a few pages looks like from a made up lease dated 4th october 2019…..with a company as landlord and nicola rae mckinnon as leaseholder…..unsigned and unregistered at the HM land Registry.

    nothing as anna keegan at all.

    that company I found out is dormant from company house and paid up capital of £ 4 only.

    to me this looks suspicious.

    OH the address is given from somewhere in New Zealand where this anna keegan is supposed to be living.

    can you help

    what should i do

    thanks a lot


    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello Gito, you should take advice from your conveyancing solicitor on this. Best of luck.

  19. sandrasandra

    Hi I am in the middle of selling and buying . I am selling a leasehold flat and on the council papers it gives a run down of charges if needed for scaffolding . If the buyer thinks this is to much can I get my solicitor to say we will pay if scaffolding is needed within 2 years Thank you

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello Sandra, please do discuss this option with your conveyancing solicitor.

  20. MickMick

    Can a solicitor pay out the sale money to two persons if one party wishes this to be done?

    Can a solicitor force a sale when a property is being sold for two separate people who have agreed to a sale and one threatens to withdraw

  21. GeorgeGeorge

    I am in the process of selling and buying , I have a buyer for my property .There is no chain or mortgage involved in this matter . I completed the list of fixture /fittings etc questionnaire and referred to a platform extension of my garden which 15′ x12′ and covered with a plastic/bitumen membrane to prevent water leakage and laid on top of that is artificial grass as a decking..
    Now I bombarded by questions from the buyers soliictor about planning permission and building regulations.
    The rules for the construction of decking and extension of garden platforms differ as no planning permission is needed for garden extension platform as the garden is ot extended on to derelict or other land. . I have pointed out to my solicitor that although the so-called decking does not conform with building regulations it was constructed as an extension of the garden and serve only as this purpose. It is properly constructed and will probably last for decades with the minimum of maintenance. I am now waiting on the outcome of this matter.

  22. UmarUmar

    When completing the conveyancing process, will the buyers conveyancer send the sellers conveyancer a copy of the mortgage offer (full details), or do they just need to know that there is a mortgage without a full breakdown of the details?
    Thank you

  23. Edward FellowsEdward Fellows


    Me and my girlfriend are buying an ex council flat. The council has now told us that they expect us to pay for there solicitors fees. Is this legal and do we have to pay it for them?

    Our solicitor has said that you would only usually do that if it was a commercial property.

    Many Thanks

    • Sophie KhanSophie Khan

      Dear Edward,

      We would be happy to look into this further for you so please do consider becoming a member: Become a member of the HomeOwners Alliance for £45 Your membership entitles you to unlimited calls to the HomeHelpline, we provide an ask an expert service and you would also benefit from a free call with a legal advisor.

      Many thanks,

      HomeOwners Alliance

  24. selling propertyselling property

    Nice advice, if someone else is going to buy Property.

  25. CKCK

    After conveyancer/solicitor has redeemed any mortgage, when exactly will the seller receive the remaining proceeds of the sale? Is there any obligation upon the conveyancer/solicitor to transfer this money to the seller on the day of completion? This will be a matter of great concern to any seller and yet it is not addressed here. Is the conveyancer/solicitor entitled to deduct fees before transferring purchase balance to seller? What if these exceed the quotation? Who settles with the estate agent? Most estate agents will charge interest for every day that they have not been paid after completion. If the seller has to settle with the estate agent, any delay in receiving purchase balance from conveyancer/solicitor could result in interest liability to estate agent. We need advice on these aspects, please.

    • Sophie KhanSophie Khan

      Dear Colum,

      Thanks for your query. Following completion, the seller’s conveyancer pays the estate agent (seller usually agrees to this in the estate agent’s contract), repays the amount owing to the mortgage lender and take their own legal fees and disbursements. The remaining money from the sale is then transferred to the seller, usually on the completion day. You should ask your conveyancer for a breakdown of these payments in advance of completion (though the exact mortgage redemption figure may not be available) to avoid any surprises on the day and to allow you to raise any queries you have, for example, on the agent’s or legal fees.

      Wish you the best with it all.

      Kind regards,

      HomeOwners Alliance Team

  26. johnjohn

    I am in the process of selling. I have instructed a solicitor after receivin an online quote £664 inc vat for services. I am using estate agent to sell property charging £500 +vat for HR £500+vat for Marketing fees and £1500+vat for selling fees. I have previously sold a property and i had all this info before but when i was paid the equity i had it was short as other fees were added and both solicitor and estate sgent fees were deducted i was left to dispute these fees but due to cost to try recover the added fees i had no choice other than to let it go. I dont want this to happen again so what would i do to make sure everything is in writing before i allow everything to conclude.

    Thank you

  27. JoJo

    HI we bought our home through a let to buy arrangement. we pay rent, but pay extra to go toward us owning the home, plus paid a substantial deposit.
    We had to sell as relocating due to illness, and sold 9 weeks ago, we are told the buyers have a few small queries. We feel we are left in the dark and it seems a waiting game. whats going on? We were offered a hughrer bid an refused, as we think were near completion but don’t know, what can we do other than send heaps of emails which don’t always get replied to.? Our marriage is suffering due to the duress this is causing.

  28. Jos ClarkeJos Clarke

    I am in the process of selling our house in scotland and have been told by my estate agent that if we do not leave our curtain poles we have to fill in the holes and put replacement ones up.
    Is this true and are there any rules in scotland as what you must leave in you house when selling?
    Kind regards

  29. SebastianSebastian

    I recently sold my property and during the sale process I completed a questionnaire detailing a fridge and washing machine I would like to sell to the buyers if they wanted to purchase it. I never heard anymore on this and assumed, if the buyers didn’t want the items my solicitors would inform me. Once the sale had gone through, it dawned on me the fridge and washing machine hadn’t been purchased by the buyers and as it was still present in the flat on completion, it now legally belonged to them. Are my solicitors liable for this lose?

  30. RobRob

    I looked on the Which website to get an average cost for conveyancing. I seem to be being charged a fee for selling, but also a fee for buying. Hence two conveyancing fees. This doesn’t sound right to me, is it?.

  31. Act Conveyancing SydneyAct Conveyancing Sydney

    I found the above information very helpful. Thanks

  32. Online Conveyancing QuoteOnline Conveyancing Quote

    this is a really good explanation of the conveyancing process for people selling their property. Good work! We will share this through our social media channels for you.

  33. McKayla StraussMcKayla Strauss

    It makes sense to have someone lined up to take care of the conveyancing as soon as you pick an estate agent. You wouldn’t want to scramble to find someone once you’ve been made an offer on your home. It’d be far better in that situation to be ready to go as soon as you get the offer so you can close the deal more quickly.

  34. J diplockJ diplock

    Dear Sir /Madam

    I have enquired to my local solicitors office to gain a price for me to sell my house to my daughter and I have been informed that they think we would need to use two solicitors one for me to sell my house and one for my daughter to buy my house…. I am awaiting confirmation of thus together with pricing.

    I would like to gain your pricing for this simple house sell please

    Look forward to hearing from you

    Kind Regards

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

  35. jennie jonesjennie jones

    my elderly mother is in the process of selling her property. Our estate agent appears to be very helpful and has recommended a solicitor and someone to provide a EPC. I am nervous about the process and found the above information very helpful. Thanks

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