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Commercial conveyancing and residential conveyancing – what’s the difference?

Are you a seasoned pro with residential conveyancing but feel a bit unsure about the process when it comes to buying and selling commercial property?

Then you need the team at GD Legal.

With vast experience in both residential and commercial conveyancing, whether you’re swapping your singleton’s flat for a family home, buying land for an exciting new venture or expanding your business with new premises, we can help.

Starting with clearing up exactly what the differences are between the two processes.

What is residential conveyancing?

Getting a foot on the property ladder? Moving house? Then you need residential conveyancing.

This is the process of buying or selling a home and encompasses all the legalities required to transfer ownership from one person to another.

What is commercial conveyancing?

In essence, commercial conveyancing is much the same – it’s the legal transfer of ownership. The key difference here is that the focus is on land or property for business use.

So, if your business is expanding and you’re ready for a larger premises, it’s likely you’ll need the support of a commercial conveyancer.

The differences explained

Ok, so it’s pretty self-explanatory that the key difference between the two types of conveyancing is the type of property involved and it’s intended purpose. Commercial conveyancing typically involves land or property intended for business use, whereas residential conveyancing, focuses on buying or selling a home. But what else can you expect to be different?


·         The cost of searches

Searches are part and parcel of the process, whether it’s commercial or residential conveyancing. But be prepared to pay slightly more for searches on commercial property.

Why? Because despite the fact that similar searches are used for all types of conveyancing, the size of the property or land involved for commercial use is typically bigger and this impacts the cost.


·         Goodwill payments

Once a sale completes on a residential property, this is usually the end of the conveyancing process and there are no more payments to be made.

However, with commercial sales, you can sometimes have an additional cost –  a ‘goodwill’ payment.

This is where an amount has been agreed to grant permission to continue trading under the same name and to take over any existing client base. It can be complicated and it’s essential it’s done thoroughly. It will usually require additional contract clauses to take into account things such as the value of remaining stock and current staff, etc.


·         Leasehold properties

The government has announced a reform on leasehold properties to help put a stop to unfair practises within the leasehold system. It’s hoped this will encourage a rise in freehold properties.

However, this is only for residential use. For businesses, leasehold is likely to remain dominant with commercial properties typically occupied by commercial tenants. As such, a commercial conveyancer will need additional details – such as annual rents etc, and will need to ensure all of the elements of the ‘property’ sale are covered and fully accounted for.



Need commercial or residential conveyancing services?

Unsure whether you need a commercial conveyancer? Looking for more guidance on the different processes? Then speak with the experts at GD Legal.

Our team of experienced solicitors are highly skilled in both commercial and residential conveyancing, and are here to help. Answering all your questions, identifying exactly the assistance you require and guiding you seamlessly through the process – whichever one it is!

Access your free instant quote now or to talk to the team in more detail, get in touch.