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Buying or Selling a House? The Conveyancing Process Timeline

Buying or selling a home can be a daunting process for many people; around seven in ten people agree that purchasing a home is a stressful experience. Thankfully, buyers and sellers are not entirely responsible for the process, and professionals exist to handle the complex legal side of a property sale. They are called conveyancers, and this is the broad timeline for their involvement in the sale of a house.

Before the Sale

The very first step in the conveyancing process is to choose a professional conveyancing solicitor. Once buyer and seller alike have chosen a solicitor they trust, and given them instruction to complete the purchase or sale of their home, they can get started with the process proper. Conveyancers will send a letter of engagement to their clients, which confirms the instructions of buyer or seller and any fees that will be incurred as a result.  Once an offer has been formally made, the estate agent involved in the sale will pass the relevant details on to the conveyancers of both the buying and selling parties. 

Buyers will need a mortgage contract solidified before they can proceed, while sellers will be required to complete forms confirming information about the property and its contents. Before the exchange of contracts can begin, the seller is instructed to send pertinent property documents to the buyer’s conveyancer, who then performs important background checks and, if necessary, independent surveys of the property to ensure it warrants the agreed value, and that there are no hidden surprises in the surrounding area.

Exchanging Contracts

With the value of the home confirmed, and both parties still keen to continue with the sale, they can agree between themselves and their conveyances the date on which they would like to complete. Once this has been agreed, the date can be enshrined in contract, and contracts can be exchanged by the conveyancers. At this point, the buyer’s conveyancer pays the agreed deposit on the buyer’s behalf, as well as contacting the buyer’s mortgage lender to ready the mortgage advance.


The completion date, or the day on which the keys and deed to the property are handed over, is generally agreed to take place within a month of the exchange of contracts. On the day of completion, the buyer’s conveyancer orders the full payment of the remaining balance via mortgage advance – at which point, the keys for the property are released, as well as the title deeds and any remaining transfer documents. All that remains for the buying and selling parties is to move.

After Completion

Conveyancing solicitors still have work to do after the completion date – specifically the buyer’s conveyancers, who handle the payment of stamp duty as well as any registry of ownership with the Land Registry. They are also responsible for handling any remaining items of paperwork pertaining to the sale, such as the title deeds. They will send these to the buyer, while also finishing up administration with their mortgage lenders.

Related: Covid-19 Pandemic Redefines Luxury Living

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