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“Conveyancing? What does that mean?” say UK homebuyers

publication date: Aug 17, 2010
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A national consumer survey by, the leading provider of instant online quotes for home-movers, has revealed widespread confusion about conveyancing.

According to the report, over half (54 per cent) wrongly believe conveyancers arrange a house survey.

One in five (19 per cent) thought that an estate agent could carry out the conyeyancing. A third (37 per cent) of Britons surveyed do not even know what the term conveyancing means. This rises to 57 per cent of those who were currently renting and half (51 per cent) of adults living with parents. Surprisingly, this also accounts for a quarter (23 per cent) of homeowners who have actually been through the process.

A quarter of all respondents wrongly believed that a surveyor could carry out the process instead of a conveyancing solicitor and one in five (19 per cent) believed it could be done by an estate agent.

The majority of confusion appears to lie between the concept of surveys and searches. While 60 per cent correctly answered that it was the conveyancing solicitor’s role to carry out searches, over half (54 per cent) wrongly believed they were also in charge of surveys, which are commissioned by the mortgage provider to confirm the value or the buyer to determine the condition of the property.

Top five activities respondents mistakenly believe are carried out by conveyancing solicitors:
• Arrange a survey (54 per cent)
• Negotiate the price of a property (16 per cent)
• Negotiate mortgage rate with broker (11 per cent)
• Recommend a removals firm (4 per cent)
• Arrange your will (4 per cent)

Due to the greater complexity of leasehold conveyancing, the process is more costly than it is with freehold property. However, more than three quarters (81 per cent) were unaware of the price discrepancy between freehold and leasehold.

In a bid to cut through the confusion, is launching a step-by-step guide to offer comprehensive advice on each stage of the conveyancing process, available free to download from the website.

Rosemary Rogers, Director, comments, “While most people realise that there is a lengthy legal procedure when buying and selling property, many are unaware of the actual legal process and who is responsible for actions at which stage. Although you might expect this from non-homeowners, our survey shows that this lack of understanding extends to those who have already bought a property.

“It is important that people know who to chase and when, to make sure their sale is progressing, as well as a breakdown of costs involved. The conveyancing market is very competitive so it is possible to get a good deal for your move if you shop around for quotes to get exactly what you need, if not you may end up overpaying for a service.”

Downloade the complete guide to conveyancing.