Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about conveyancing

What is conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal process used to officially transfer ownership of a property or an interest (such as a mortgage or loan secured against the property). The complexity of a conveyancing transaction can vary considerably. Most property transactions require the completion of numerous documents and the application of knowledge and expertise of property law. 

What is the difference between a Solicitor and a Conveyancer?

Solicitors can act in various areas of law including property and are regulated by the Law Society. Conveyancers are expert property lawyers and are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers – The Specialist Property Law Regulator. Both can assist you with your property transaction and are held to similar high standards of professional integrity and oversight. 

Can I do the conveyancing myself?
Yes you can in some circumstances. But would you want to? 

All our transactional team members are at some stage of training on the journey to becoming regulated licensed professionals. Those that are regulated and licensed are required to continually update their knowledge. It takes years of practical experience, study, and exams to become proficient enough to sign off a file without oversight of an experienced member of staff and we invest heavily in training routes through our business. You cannot replicate that through google research – however thorough. 

If you’re buying with the benefit of a mortgage your lender will insist on you using a conveyancing firm that is on their select panel of property law providers (because not all are good enough). Added to that most reputable property lawyers will not act on the other side of a self-represented buyer or seller because it’s very difficult to securely identify who they are, also if something goes wrong they do not carry insurance. 

Selling, buying, or remortgaging your home is one of the biggest financial events of your life. Why would you not entrust that with a regulated professional just so you can save a fraction of the potential cost. 
How long will it take to sell/buy the property?
This is a great question and one that almost every customer asks us. 

The national average is usually between 12 and 16 weeks depending on whether the property is freehold or leasehold. Leasehold transactions usually take a little longer than freehold ones because there is additional work involved and conveyancers must gain information to undertake that work from third parties. 

In some situations, such as during the Stamp Duty Relief and Covid-19 pandemic it can take longer than these average figures. In March 2021, the average transaction time rose to 22 weeks. 

However, some transactions can progress far more quickly. If you have a date in mind that centers around an important life event, then please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. 
What is the difference between exchange and completion?
All property transactions must both exchange and complete for ownership of the property to be transferred. 

Exchange of contracts is the point at which the contract of sale is formalised and both parties are committed to completing the transaction. At this point a date is set for the day that money will change hands and you will move – completion day. 

The gap between exchange and completion is normally two weeks (but can be shorter or longer). This gap allows sellers and buyers time to organise themselves for the big move and also provides ample time for your conveyancer to do the work that needs to be done between these stages. 
What is a simultaneous exchange and completion (SIM)?
In some situations, sellers and buyers may wish to exchange and complete on the same day – a simultaneous exchange and completion (SIM). This allows completions to go through quickly in instances where there is a financial incentive, a reason to want to keep the gap between exchanging and completing as small as possible, or if the property is vacant and there is no need for a gap between dates to organise for a big move. 

The downside of exchanging and completing at the same time is that there is no certainty that the transaction will complete until the point of exchange. This can be stressful if you do need to access the property on the day of completion or remove your possession. 
Who decides the completion date?
You and your seller or buyer must decide a date that works for both parties. Once you commit to a completion date and exchange takes place you are obligated to complete on that date. With this in mind you should never feel pushed into agreeing to a completion date that you are uncomfortable with or feel you might not be able to honour. 

We would advise customers that it is too early to discuss possible completion dates until you or your buyer has had the mortgage offer issued. Even at this point you should speak to your conveyancer to see how far your transaction has progressed before discussion completion dates with your seller or buyer. Discussing dates too soon can result in disappointment and bad feeling. 

Because the completion date is agreed between the seller and buyer we will never suggest possible completion dates to you. You have complete freedom of choice as to when you move, on the understanding that we are ready to exchange. Instead, you must negotiate your completion date with your seller or buyer possibly with the assistance of your estate agent. We will of course pass on any suggested dates put forward by you or by your seller or buyer. 

Your completion date must be agreed between the seller and buyer before exchange can take place. 

Who is responsible for maintaining the boundary?

Most property deeds won’t provide you with an answer other than a general overview of the boundary line, so your lawyer won’t know. 

Even if your title document shows this information, neighbours may have come to a separate agreement over time, replacing the original boundary feature, and ownership has changed. Your first port of call when faced with a boundary question, your first port of call should always be to have a polite chat with your neighbours and aim to come to an acceptable agreement to all parties.

For more information on boundaries and how to resolve boundary issues, H.M. Land Registry has provided a helpful blog article on the subject Drawing the line on boundaries - HM Land Registry (