Understanding the jargon: conveyancing terms you should know

by Housesimple on 27th March 2018

Whether you're on the buying or selling side, you'll come across a good deal of jargon during a house sale. Sometimes, it can be a real challenge to work out your conveyancing fees if you don’t know exactly what’s going on. To give you a helping hand, we've broken down the legal speak into basic terms – you might be surprised at just how easy it really is.



Put simply, conveyancing is the transfer of home ownership from one person to another. It involves your solicitor checking everything’s above board, preparing the legal documents and transferring the money.



When your home has a chain, it means that it's relying on the closure of other property sales in order to complete. Therefore, chains are best kept short!



This can be a sellers’ nightmare – particularly if you want a quick house sale. It's when a buyer waits until all the paperwork is almost finished before withdrawing and submitting a lower offer. Fortunately, it can be avoided.



This is something for buyers to avoid. This is when their offer is accepted, but the seller withdraws to accept a higher offer.


The Searches

You’ll always hear about ‘the searches,’ or at least see a charge for them on your solicitors’ bill. They're information requests, grouped into various categories like ‘Mining Search’ and ‘Local Authority Search.’ Designed to prevent nasty surprises when you move in, they're looking for things like local planning applications and financial concerns.



This is the cost of things like searches, paid on your behalf by your solicitor. It's often used on your bill as a catchall for their expenses.


Exchange of contracts

You’ll sign a lot of papers when you buy or sell a home, but nothing is final until your solicitors complete the ‘exchange of contracts’. It’s essentially formally handing over the paperwork.



These are official legal records of property ownership, including information about the land you own, your rights and responsibilities. They can include legally binding additions like a ‘Deed of Covenant’ or simply ‘Covenant’, which are promises to do something – like maintain a fence.


Land Registry Fee

The Land Registry holds records of all property in the UK and you have to pay an admin fee to update their records. This is essential to prove you own your home.



The grand finale! This is the moment everything's done and dusted and you can collect your keys and start moving.

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