Chester & Cheshire

The Key Differences Between Residential and Commercial Conveyancing


When you’re buying or selling property, you might see the word conveyancing in your solicitor’s office, or hear it mentioned in relation to friends or family members that have recently bought or sold a home. However, if you were to do some research on the subject and looked at information about conveyancing online, you would find that there are two types of conveyancing: residential and commercial solicitors in chester. But what exactly are these differences? And why should you care if you’re not planning on buying or selling any commercial property in the near future?

What does conveyancing mean?

In everyday use, a conveyancer is someone who arranges for property to be sold. However, when it comes to estate agents or solicitors, a conveyancer does much more than simply organise property sales. A conveyancer provides legal advice on all aspects of property law.  It’s not just about buying and selling houses; conveyancers also deal with matters relating to leases, mortgages, land registry issues and renting.

Business vs. personal use

There are some fundamental differences between residential and commercial conveyancing, but for a first-time buyer, it’s worth noting that many of these are simply extensions of those which exist between buying a home as an investment or purely for personal use. For example, if you’re only looking to buy your own home to live in with your family, you’ll most likely need less time to arrange financing than if you were purchasing an investment property.

Leasehold vs. freehold

The most obvious difference between residential and commercial conveyancing is that, in residential cases, you are dealing with a property which is being sold as leasehold (whereby ownership of land remains with a third party), whereas in commercial cases, you are dealing with a property which is being sold as freehold (whereby ownership of land remains with its original owner). This has implications for how you go about conveying your rights to that property.

Residential property

A lot of people will think that residential conveyancing is simpler than commercial conveyancing, but that’s not always true. To start with, there are plenty of complex elements to residential property.  For example, if you want to buy a home or a plot of land in another country (known as an overseas property), you may need specialist legal advice from an international law firm who can advise on foreign tax laws and other matters. They may also advise on how to transfer ownership from one country to another (known as cross-border transfers). If you are buying a second home abroad or planning on moving abroad permanently, your solicitors will help make sure that all your assets in England are properly protected before you leave.

Commercial property

The process of buying a commercial property is slightly different to that of a residential property. For example, in order to purchase a property that has mixed uses (e.g. a shop on a residential street), it will be necessary to apply for two conveyancing searches, each outlining distinct elements of your transaction.

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