A Guide to the UK Conveyancing Process

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Buying or selling a property in the UK can be an exciting yet complex journey with multiple moving parts. The UK conveyancing process is what you go through when buying or selling a property. To ensure a smooth transition of ownership, it’s helpful to understand the conveyancing process – who’s involved at each stage and what is required from you.

In this three-minute read, we’ll break down the key stages involved in UK conveyancing, to provide you with a comprehensive guide to navigate the property industry with confidence.

Instruction: Setting the Wheels in Motion

Once you’ve decided to buy or sell a property, the first step is to engage a solicitor or licensed conveyancer. These legal professionals will become your trusted guides throughout the conveyancing process. As with most processes there is a required papertrail – specific requirements may vary depending on the solicitor and the jurisdiction in which the property is located. You will typically need to complete the following paperwork as soon as you put your property on the market to help speed up the process:

  1. Property Information Form: This form provides details about the property, including boundaries, utilities, fixtures, and any known defects or disputes.
  2. Fittings and Contents Form: This form lists the items that will be included or excluded from the sale, such as furniture, appliances, or fixtures.
  3. Title Deeds and Documents: The seller should provide the solicitor with all relevant title deeds, land registry documents, and any other legal documents related to the property.
  4. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): An EPC is required for most properties and provides information on energy efficiency.
  5. Proof of Identity and Address: The seller must provide identification documents, such as a passport or driver’s licence, to verify their identity and address.
  6. Mortgage Details: If there is an outstanding mortgage on the property, the seller should provide the solicitor with details of the lender and the mortgage account.
  7. Guarantees and Certificates: Any warranties, guarantees, or certificates for work done on the property (e.g., roofing, electrical, or gas installation) should be provided.

Preliminary Checks: Laying the Foundation

To ensure a secure transaction, your solicitor will carry out essential checks. They’ll verify the property’s legal title, review the seller’s property information forms, and conduct local authority searches. These checks help identify any potential issues, such as planning restrictions or outstanding charges, that may impact the property.

Draft Contract: Setting the Terms

At this stage, the seller’s solicitor will prepare a draft contract that outlines the terms of the sale. This document includes crucial details like the purchase price, deposit amount, and any special conditions agreed upon by both parties. It serves as the foundation for the final contract.

Enquiries and Negotiations: Seeking Clarity

During this stage, the buyer’s solicitor will raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor to obtain further information about the property. This could include questions regarding boundaries, fixtures and fittings, or any ongoing disputes. Negotiations may occur to resolve any outstanding concerns or amend the contract as necessary.

Mortgage and Survey: Assessing the Property’s Value

The mortgage application should start as soon as a purchase price has been agreed, meaning when it comes to this point in the process, what happens at this stage is just the mortgage valuation. The lender will conduct a valuation survey to determine the property’s worth and suitability as collateral for the loan. It’s essential to ensure the property meets the lender’s requirements.

Exchange of Contracts: Making it Official

Once all enquiries are resolved, both parties sign the final contract. At this point, a deposit is typically paid by the buyer – the average house deposit for a first time buyer in the UK is around 15%. This milestone marks the moment when the transaction becomes legally binding, and a completion date is set.

Pre-Completion Tasks: Finalising the Details

As completion day approaches, the solicitors will handle several crucial tasks. These include arranging the transfer of funds to complete the purchase, obtaining a redemption statement for any existing mortgages, conducting final searches, and preparing the financial statement.

Completion: The Finish Line

On the agreed completion date, the buyer’s solicitor transfers the remaining balance to the seller’s solicitor. Once the funds are received, the seller’s solicitor confirms completion, and the keys are handed over to the buyer. Congratulations! You’ve made it through one of life’s biggest events and are about to embark on another new and exciting chapter!

Post-Completion Tasks: Wrapping Up Loose Ends

After completion, there are a few remaining tasks to complete. The seller’s solicitor will pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax (if applicable), register the property with the Land Registry in your name, and provide you with a copy of the title deeds for safekeeping.

The UK conveyancing process may seem daunting, but with the right guidance and understanding, it can undoubtedly be a manageable journey towards property ownership. When you engage a skilled solicitor or licensed conveyancer, and familiarise yourself with the stages outlined earlier in this blog post, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the intricacies of the property industry. 

Remember, an estate agent is your ally – they are there to help not hinder the process, communicate with all parties involved and ensure that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.

If you’re thinking about embarking on a new property venture and need further guidance, get in touch with our expert sales team here.


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Dave - Buyer - Mar 6th, 2021


Have dealt with Sims Williams before when buying my house and it all went well. So, when it came to selling a property, I knew I'd get the same professional (but human!) service. Many thanks to the team in the Walberton branch for getting things over the line. Special thanks to Lin who is great and such a valuable asset to the process/team. Cheers.
Mr H - Vendor - Dec 10th, 2020


Highly recommend the team at the Walberton Office for all of their help in the selling of my property during the difficult times we are currently experiencing. I have been kept informed on a timely basis at all stages during the process and the whole experience has been professionally managed and stress free.
Steve W - Vendor - Sep 8th, 2020

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John Wyatt from the Bognor Office office was exceptionally helpful all through our recent Purchase. He was the lynchpin in making the whole transaction happen. He always replied to emails and telephone calls, and nothing was too much trouble. Without his help in liaising both with the vendor, and both sets of solicitors, I am convinced that we would have taken an awful lot longer to get to completion. I really cannot praise his helpfulness enough, but I would like to add that on the odd occasion that John was unavailable, all the other staff both in Walberton and Chichester were also extremely helpful
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The common conception of Estate Agents is that they take a few pictures, write a blurb, publish it, show prospective purchasers around a property, and charge you a fortune for the privilege. From the seller's point of view, that may be how it seems. However, after the sale has actually been agreed, the service provided to the purchaser more than justifies the cost. I’ve recently purchased a property through Sims Williams, and they did so much to help. Ambiguity surrounding a tree preservation order was quashed in a matter of minutes, thanks to them having much more up-to-date information than the council. My survey raised a potential concern about damp. Sims Williams provided a damp expert to go and visit the property and compile a report – again resolving this problem very quickly. Lastly, a purchase further up the chain was causing delays. Sims Williams were constantly checking in with me, assuring me that they were chasing and doing everything in their power to help this complete. Obviously, all of this came out of the fee that would have been paid by the seller, so was effectively free for me. Had I have gone back to my solicitor with all these queries, I dread to think how expensive that bill would have been. Through my experience, I cannot fault Sims Williams and would recommend them in a heartbeat.


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