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Aug 14, 2014

What is Conveyancing?

The Oxford Dictionary defines conveyancing as “the branch of law concerned with the preparation of documents for the conveyance of property”.

Conveyancing is the legal procedure by which you buy and sell a house.

How long does it take?

Buying or selling a house normally takes 2 – 3 months depending upon how many people there are in your ‘chain’ of buyers and sellers. The process may be shorter or longer than this on occasion, but if you are thinking of buying and/or selling a house, this is a good estimate to base your planning on.

What is involved in the process?

People usually buy and sell houses through an estate agent. The estate agent will ensure that you have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place, which is a document you are legally required to provide to a buyer. An EPC gives information such as an energy efficient rating and recommendations about how to reduce energy use in a property.

In England & Wales, once a buyer’s offer has been accepted, the seller should then ask a solicitor to prepare the contract documents required to transfer the legal ownership of the property.

Until such point as the contract is ‘exchanged’, an offer is not legally binding. This is different to the process in Scotland. A buyer can withdraw from a proposed purchase at any point before an exchange of contracts, though this tends not to happen very often.

An exchange of contracts is the point at which a buyer has completed their survey, the solicitor has asked all of the questions relevant to the property and all other searches on the property, which reveal such things as planning applications, have been completed. At the point of exchange, a 10% deposit is usually paid to the seller, and a date for completion (moving day) is agreed. If the buyer does not proceed to purchase the property on the agreed date, this deposit may be forfeited. Again, this does not happen very often.

If you are buying a property for £125,000.00 or more, you will need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax at a fixed percentage of the purchase price. Please see the HMRC website for the rates of tax at This will assist you with the calculations you will need to think about when buying a property.

Once you have moved in to your new house, the transfer of legal ownership is registered with the Land Registry and you will then usually receive a legal title in your name within 2 – 6 weeks.

Buying with other people

You may be buying a house with other people such as your spouse, partner or other family members or friends. There are some important decisions to make if you are purchasing a house with another person, which our experienced solicitors can help you with.

Why choose Johnson & Gaunt?

Dealing with the sale or purchase of a property is said to be one of the most stressful situations a person can deal with! We are a local, approachable firm, whose friendly and efficient staff can guide you through the processes involved. We have also been re-accredited to the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme for a second year.

For more information and assistance please contact us

01295 759400
01295 266451
Doc. Exchange
DX 24208 Banbury
Johnson and Gaunt Solicitors