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  • Writer's pictureOliver Riley

Navigating the Conveyancing Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Embarking on the journey of buying or selling a home is both exciting and complex and at the heart of this process is the crucial stage of conveyancing.


Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of real property (such as a house or land) from one party to another. This comprehensive process involves various tasks, including property searches, title examination, raising essential enquiries, drafting, and exchanging contracts / transfer deeds and other documentation, and handling the financial aspects of the transaction, including paying stamp duty.


Conveyancing ensures a smooth and legally sound transfer of property between Sellers and Buyers.


Whether you're a first-time home buyer or a seasoned property owner, understanding the step-by-step guide to conveyancing is essential for a smooth and successful transaction.

Our guide to buying and selling a house is an outline of the residential conveyancing sale and purchase process. 


If you’re buying/selling a house in Ripon, Thirsk, Bedale, Northallerton or Leyburn, our conveyancing team are ready to support you every step of the way. Get in touch today.


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Choose and Instruct a Solicitor


The first, and perhaps most crucial, step in the conveyancing process is selecting a qualified and experienced conveyancer. This professional will act as your guide through the legal intricacies of the transaction, ensuring all the necessary steps are taken.


As a local firm, we have a comprehensive knowledge of the local area and property market and we are accredited by the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme, ensuring a high standard of expertise and professionalism throughout the process.  We have very good working relationships with local agents, independent financial advisors and other mortgage brokers.  Most of our team have been with the firm for many years and we hold our relationships with our clients / advisers in the highest regard and we are committed to delivering high quality advice and levels of service. 


We are delighted to be ranked no.1 for housing and property legal services in the local area on Review Solicitors where we have received numerous 5 star reviews from our clients. We are highly regarded by local estate agents and other professionals including accountants.


Selling your Property


Before signing and exchanging contracts, we:


1. Liaise with your estate agents.


2. Obtain any pre-registration deeds from your Bank or Building Society.


3. Obtain up-to-date official copies of your deeds from HM Land Registry.


4. Provide you with Law Society Protocol Forms to complete.


5. Prepare and send out a draft contract to your buyer's solicitors.


6. Liaise with you to provide accurate replies to any enquiries which the buyer’s solicitor raises after reviewing our contract papers.


7. Ascertain whether or not the buyers have received their mortgage.


8. Obtain up to date redemption statements from your lender (if any).


9. Negotiate and agree the form of any contract and draft transfer.


Buying your Property


Before signing and exchanging contracts, we:


1. Contact the estate agent.


2. Obtain a draft contract from your seller's solicitors.


3. Carry out a Local Authority search. This reveals information known to the local authority about the property itself.


4. Consider whether it is appropriate to make other searches.


5. Raise enquiries on the contract and legal papers with the seller's solicitor.


6. Review your mortgage offer once received from your mortgage lender, and advise you on the terms and conditions within it.


7. After a thorough review of all search results and replies to enquiries from the seller’s solicitor, prepare a detailed property report for you to read through.  You will ask us any questions you may have so that we can ensure you fully understand everything before we ask you to sign the contract and transfer deed.


Exchanging Contracts


When all of the above matters are completed, you will be in a position to exchange contracts. A deposit of up to 10% of the purchase price is usually payable by the buyer to the seller on exchange of contracts. Once the contracts are signed and exchanged, a binding contract exists with a completion date being set and usually neither party can withdraw without incurring serious penalties.  The risk in the property will typically pass to the Buyer at that point, so it is important to ensure home insurance is put on risk.


Final steps to selling your house


1. Approve the final transfer deed which is prepared by the buyer’s solicitor and sent to us to check.


2. We will prepare a completion statement for the buyer’s solicitor showing the final balance due on completion (there may be extra payments, for instance, furniture or a sum of money knocked off the sale price (an ‘allowance’) for the seller to contribute towards a defective title indemnity insurance).


Final steps to buying your house


1. Prepare the final transfer deed for approval by the seller’s solicitor.


2. Request the mortgage funds (if needed) from your mortgage lender.


3. Submit any pre-completion searches (including a priority search).


4. Prepare a completion statement for you, showing the money we have received to date from you (and expect to receive from your mortgage lender), along with the money which we will need to pay out to complete your purchase.  This will show the final balance needed from you, which you will transfer to us at least two working days before your purchase completes.


Completion Day


This is the day that legal ownership of the house is transferred to the new owner, and usually when you move.  The buyer’s solicitor pays the purchase money to the seller’s solicitor, and the signed transfer deed is handed to the buyer along with any other paper deeds.


After Completion Day


On your sale, we will settle your existing mortgage and pay your estate agents invoice.  In respect of your new house, we will submit the stamp duty form to HMRC and pay any stamp duty owed.  We will also deal with registering the transfer to you with the Land Registry (this can take several months – even up to 18 months – in some cases but the house is yours from the day of completion), and once registration formalities are completed we will forward a copy of the new deed register to you.


Conveyancing Timescales


  • Buying a Property: 6-10 weeks for freehold; 6-12 weeks for leasehold

  • Selling a Property: 6-8 weeks for freehold; 6-10 weeks for leasehold


Land Registration Timescales


  • Property previously registered with the Land Registry: 4 weeks to 5 months

  • Property not previously registered with the Land Registry ('First Registration'): 14-15 months

  • New build property: up to 20 months


Conveyancing Costs


At Eccles Heddon, we provide fixed-free Conveyancing. This means (in most cases) you pay for what you are quoted for from the outset.  Rest assured, the fees charged in our residential conveyancing department will not increase every time you receive a letter / e-mail or need to speak to your conveyancer!  Only in exceptional circumstances would fees need to be revised.


Our conveyancing fees start from as little as £705, excluding VAT at 20% and we also make a charge of £15.00 plus VAT at 20% (£18.00 in total) per client for electronic identification and verification purposes. Please note costs are dependent on both the value of the property being sold and the nature of it (freehold / leasehold / new build etc.) Our fee calculator will be able to provide you with a basic estimate.


Get in Touch with the Residential Property Team at Eccles Heddon


Trust our team of experienced and approachable residential property solicitors to support you through every stage of your transaction. You can get in touch by email, phone or by popping into one of our three offices in Bedale, Thirsk and Ripon. We can also arrange a video call for you if you prefer. It’s important that you can speak to someone you can talk to and trust so if you would be more comfortable speaking with a male or female solicitor, just let us know.


All documentation can be dealt with by post or via e-mail meaning you won’t need to visit your conveyancer and take precious time off work to head into an office. Your conveyancer will keep you up to date with what’s happening through every stage of your transaction.



Testimonials from our valued clients

This was the second time we have used Eccles Heddon for house purchase and sale, both times they have provided exceptional service. Very helpful, reliable, friendly and efficient - Amelie
Thoroughly recommend for conveyancing, outstanding professional service - Clair

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