- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 24 Jun 2020
Conveyancing is the process of transferring the ownership of a property from one party to another. It involves a number of administrative procedures required to ensure the transfer is legal. There are no restrictions on who can undertake conveyancing, but it will normally be a solicitor (or conveyancer), and funders (such as mortgage lenders) may require this.
Once a property has been selected and a price agreed, solicitors are likely to be instructed by both the seller and the purchaser. Formal contracts should be prepared setting out the terms of solicitor's appointments, which should include details of the fee payable (for example, whether they include VAT and expenses).
The purchaser's solicitor is then likely to write to the seller's solicitor to inform them that they have been instructed and to request copies of the draft sales contract which should include details such as:
- The sale price.
- The boundaries of the property.
- Fixtures and fittings that are included.
- Legal restrictions or rights, such as restrictive covenants, easements or other encumbrances.
- Planning restrictions.
- Utilities and other services.
- The completion date.
Other information that may be requested can include:
- A copy of the Land Registry entry (or the title deeds).
- Details of any lease, ground rent and service charge.
- Information about recent repairs.
- Information about problems with neighbours.
- Local authority searches regarding proposed developments and to verify that alterations to the property have appropriate permissions.
- Checking the title register and title plan.
- Assessing flood risk.
- Water authority searches.
- Whether pavements, access roads, drains and so on are maintained by the local authority.
- Other expenses and liabilities linked to the property such as Chancel Repair Liability.
- Location specific searches such as mining searches, radon gas searches, landfill site searches, and so on.
During this period, other activities may be necessary, not normally part of the conveyancing services:
- Carrying out a survey of the property.
- If there is a mortgage lender, they are likely to require a mortgage valuation to assess whether there is sufficient value in the property to secure the loan.
- Arranging property insurance.
- Arranging removals.
Once the contract has been agreed and signed, there is an ‘exchange of contracts’, which is likely to be accompanied by the payment of a deposit. Following exchange, there is an obligation to proceed with the transfer of ownership, and failure to do so may result in the deposit being forfeited, or the seller being sued.
The purchaser's solicitor will then prepare a completion statement setting out how much money must be paid for completion and the seller’s solicitor will prepare a transfer deed to transfer ownership of the property.
This process can be further complicated by the existence of a chain, in which the seller of one property is also the purchaser of another, creating a complex series of interrelated contracts, the progress of each of which is dependent on the others.
NB The word 'conveyance' can also refer to: 'A measure of the flow carrying capacity of a watercourse or section of a floodplain.' Ref Culvert, screen and outfall manual, (CIRIA C786) published by CIRIA in 2019,
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Framework examines social value of projects.
RfX or Request for [fill in the blank].
Organisation establishes Equality, Diversity, Inclusion taskforce.
Government announces plans for new building projects.
Outsourcing method to procure and manage supplies.
Joint support of Local Authority Historic Environment and Conservation Services.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is an outstanding achievement.
Buildings of the interwar years. Book review.
Ireland’s climate change sectoral adaptation plan.
Rethinking the acoustics of the office.
Various deterrent measures can help managers deal with avian problems.
Groups send message to government.
Mark Beard FCIOB shares thoughts on changes in the construction industry.
The three layers in modern laminates have specific functions.
The CIOB and UK BIM Alliance announce formal affiliation.