Conveyancing is a critical component of all property sales and purchase transactions. However, many people, even those who have been part of several property deals, are not entirely certain what conveyancing means and why it is important. Owing to this, we have prepared a quick checklist of the most commonly asked questions about conveyancing.
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Conveyancing is a legal mechanism which enables the lawful transfer of property rights between two entities. The process commences from the moment an offer is accepted until the keys are physically exchanged.
Unlike buying groceries, property sales involve a huge sum of money. As such, the government have implemented a series of measures designed to protect house owners and house buyers from being defrauded.
Conveyancing encompasses the whole documentary requirements and check and balances stipulated by law to safeguard the integrity of property transfer. Some of the common areas covered during conveyancing include title search and verification, execution of wills, restrictions of usage, length of leaseholds, access to basic utilities such as electricity and water, and access roads.
A solicitor is a trained legal professional who is legally allowed to practice law in the United Kingdom. A solicitor is also allowed to dispense legal advice and support to members of the public. However, unlike barristers, solicitors are not allowed to plead cases in an open court – though they are still allowed to litigate in a restricted court.
Many solicitors include property among their areas of speciality, and as such, they offer conveyancing services to clients.
Licensed conveyancers, on the other hand, are not legal professionals. They are Level 4 Diploma holders in Conveyancing Law and Practice (minimally). They have been trained to understand contract, land and conveyancing law, as well as standard accounting procedures. Their area of service is generally limited to conveyancing service. However, please note that many independent conveyancers also serve as Commissioners for Oaths.
All licensed conveyancers are required to register with the Council for Licensed Conveyancer (England and Wales) and Authorised Conveyancing Practitioners Board.
Conveyancing fees vary greatly between law firms and conveyancing services. The flat fee for solicitors usually ranges between £350 and £750. However, fees charges by established law firms, especially for high value transactions, may cost significantly more.
Licensed conveyancers, meanwhile, charge a slightly lower fee compared to solicitors. New conveyancers sometimes even offer promotional rates as low as £150! Owing to the low cost and quick turnaround time, many homeowners who want to sell house fast usually turn to licensed conveyancers for help, especially for low cost properties.
However, please note that the published fees may not include the entire range of services and additional fees may apply for specific services. It is common for conveyancers to charge separate fees for submission of Stamp Duty Land Tax form, reviewing unregistered Title Deeds, and performing electronic funds transfer (CHAPS). Always scrutinise the range of services offered when obtaining a quote.
In addition to the flat service fee, customers will also need to pay associated third party fees such as property fraud fee (£10) and anti-money laundering checks (£20).