Clare Dawson

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Residential Conveyancing F&Qs

What is residential conveyancing?

Residential conveyancing is the term used for the legal process in which a house is bought or sold. The term residential simply refers to the fact that the property that is involved in the transaction is for living in and not a commercial transaction, such as buying a shop or building used to business. 

How long does it take?

The time it takes for the process to complete will vary from property to property. There can be complications that arise which may mean more work is required but as a rough guideline you should expect the process to take somewhere between 8 and 2 weeks.

What is a "chain"?

A chain is the term used when there is a line of people wanting to buy but are waiting on the completion of their sale or the sale of the house they’re buying to move. 

This leads to a number of linked transactions, each dependent on the other, and exchange of contracts must take place simultaneously in all transactions (usually with the completion dates also being synchronised).

What does exchange mean?

Exchange refers to the exchanging of contracts. Once exchange has taken place, usually by a conveyancer over the phone, the contract is legally binding and you cannot pull out of the transaction. 

Up until that point, either party are free to withdraw from the deal. 

How much deposit do I have to pay?

The industry norm is for a deposit is 10% of the purchase price. Sometimes buyers cannot find that amount and a lesser amount can be negotiated and you are also entitled to pay more than 10% if you have the money available and want to use a small loan amount or mortgage. 

Often the deposit received on the sale is passed down the line of purchases (which in many instances will be less than 10%). It may be difficult to negotiate a deposit of less than 5%.

What is a survey?

A survey or home buyers report is a highly recommended part of any house purchase. Under English law you take the property as you find it and the survey will give you a complete overview into all aspects on the property so you know that there are no issues and if issues are find, the price is often renegotiated. 

Whilst some buyers are content to do that themselves or to have it looked over by a builder, in the majority of cases buyers arrange for properties to be inspected by a professional surveyor.

For further information and confidential advice from our team of specialist solicitors, please contact a member of our team or call us on

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