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Frequently Asked Conveyancing Questions

What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is a legal term for legal issues and procedures that relate to property. Sometimes the term property solicitor is used as a more obvious alternative to conveyancer.

Does conveyancing involve visiting a solicitors? office?
Sometimes, but more and more cases are being handled exclusively online, over the phone, by post and via email. All cases instructed through do NOT require any visits to our panel members solicitors offices.

Are conveyancers expected to exchange telephone calls with their clients?
This depends on the conveyancer and the firm. Better firms such as give their clients a direct line to the solicitor who is dealing with their transaction. It helps to maintain transparency and reassure the client that everything is going according to plan.

How long do conveyancing transactions generally take?
There are too many factors and too many facets of conveyancing to give an accurate estimate of how long an individual transaction is likely to take. On average a sale or purchase transaction takes a minimum of 6 weeks. We can expedite the conveyancing transaction but as the conveyancing process relies on two way communication, we are still relying on the other parties cooperation to expedite matters. There is a charge of for expedited completion.

Are online conveyancing services comparable to those on the high street?
There is absolutely no difference in a conveyancer?s ability to deliver you a high standard of service, irrespective of whether the service is conducted exclusively online or otherwise. Online conveyancing solicitors usually do not rely on high street locations to facilitate business therefore have lower overheads, this have lower charges.

Do I pay for conveyancing services up front?
You only ever have to pay up front for disbursements, which are monies that the conveyancer has to pay to third parties in order to initiate certain searches that must be carried out before contracts can be exchanged.

What does a bankruptcy search involve?
It is simply a routine check that has to be carried out on anyone who is obtaining a mortgage. It reassures the lender that you are not bankrupt and/or don?t have any county court judgements against you, and so are eligible for a mortgage.

What is a bank transfer fee?
Bank transfer fees are charges made by a bank for the privilege of transferring monies, from one party to another through the CHAPS system.

What is an office copy?
Somewhat confusingly, an office copy is an official copy of the legal title to your property, registered at the Government Land Registry. It?s essentially proof in the utmost that you own a property.

Why do mining searches have to be carried out?
If your property has been built on top of and area where there used to be mining activity then there can be a substantial risk of subsidence and other structural problems. Failure to carry out appropriate mining checks can void property insurance, in which case no compensation would be paid, in which case you and your lender would potentially lose your investment. Please note that the cost of mining searches are a additional extra to the search pack searches provided.

What does a local search involve?
A local search involves enquiring with the local authorities as to the status of certain factors including whether or not roads leading to a property are adopted (the property of someone else), and whether any extensions to a property have been built with the consent of planning permission.

What is local search indemnity insurance?
A local search indemnity insurance policy is essentially an alternative to carrying out a local search. It?s basically insurance against anything negative that would have been found during a local search, and which would be likely to bring about loss.

What does an environmental search involve?
An environmental search is carried out to establish whether land has been, or is likely to be, contaminated through the use of waste.

What is an EPC?
EPC is an initialism that stands for Energy Performance Certificate. It is proof that an assessor has inspected a property and given it an energy rating, based on factors such as insulation, double-glazing and the heating system. The EPC is mainly used to assess how much it would cost to improve the property?s energy performance.

What is the Land Registry fee?
The Land Registry fee is the money that has to be paid in order for your ownership of a property to be officially recorded by the government. The land registry fees vary on a sliding scale dependent on the value of the property purchased.

What does leasehold mean?
A leasehold property is a property that is built on land that is not owned by the property owner. If you own a house under leasehold then the land on which it is built is leased to you and is subject to specific terms and conditions.

What is a mortgage deed?
A mortgage deed is an official document that proves your debt to a bank or a building society that lent you the money to purchase your property.

What is Stamp Duty?
Stamp duty is a form of tax that has to be paid to the government by everyone who purchases a property. The stamp duty land tax fees vary on a sliding scale dependent on the value of the property purchased. Properties under 125,000.00 in value are exempt from stamp duty.

Is it okay to pull out of a property transaction?
The level of acceptability in pulling out of a property transaction is wholly dependent on the reasoning behind the withdrawal, and how far along the transaction is. For instance, if a survey shows that a property is suffering from subsidence and is structurally unsafe, and no final contract has been signed, then pulling out is acceptable and the retracting party needn?t pay any fee. Conversely, if there is no solid reason for withdrawing and contracts have been signed(contracts exchanged), then this could result in the retracting party having to cover certain costs.

Is it okay to rent out my property?
Your right to rent out your property is dependent on certain factors, which is why your intention to rent should be made implicit to your chosen lender. There could be certain restrictions on the property that prohibit it being rented out, so it?s always important to find out exactly where you stand.

Do I need to get building and life insurance before I buy a property?
Whilst you are not obliged to have building and life insurance in place until contracts have been exchanged, it?s normal to have it in place, ready for that date. With life and building insurance being a necessary part of obtaining a mortgage, it is likely that it would have been put in place by your lender as part of your agreement. It?s at the discretion of cash property buyers whether they have building insurance and life assurance as there are no lenders involves with their purchase.

Do I have to have searches carried out?
Having the necessary searches carried out is an essential part of purchasing a property. Your lender will insist upon searches being conducted, because doing so guarantees the security of theirs and your investment. You would have no reason to avoid having searches carried out, because they cost a fraction of the potential losses that would be incurred, were something untoward to happen as a consequence of neglecting to have the searches conducted. It?s at the discretion of cash property buyers whether they have searches carried out as there are no lenders involves with their purchase.