Conveyancing for first time buyers
The legal process of buying a property is called conveyancing. Here are the main steps of the conveyancing process.
1.Choose your solicitor
It is advisable to find a solicitor as soon as you start viewing properties so you can complete the initial paperwork.
Once paperwork, including proof of identity and proof of address, is complete, your solicitor can begin the conveyancing process the moment you make an offer on a property. Local authority property searches can take weeks, so it is essential to make sure your solicitor can arrange these as soon as possible.
A fast and efficient conveyancing process is the key to a successful residential property transaction. When conveyancing takes too long, there is more chance that someone will experience a change in financial and personal circumstances before a sale can go through, particularly if you are in a property chain.
2.Arrange a mortgage
It is a good idea to speak to an independent mortgage advisor who will help you find the best mortgage deal for you.
Apply for a mortgage and get a decision in principle from the mortgage company. If you have a decision in principle, estate agents and home sellers will take you seriously when you make an offer on a property.
There are government help-to-buy schemes and incentives available to help first time buyers to get onto the residential property ladder. Our conveyancing solicitors at Davisons can advise you about what is available.
3.Make an offer on a property
Before making an offer on your dream home, make sure it is the right offer. Research the sold prices of other similar properties in your area. Never offer more than a property is worth or more than you can afford.
When you make an offer, tell the estate agent that you are a first time buyer with no chain, as this places you in an advantageous position.
Once you have made an offer, instruct your solicitor to begin the conveyancing process. Ask your mortgage lender to finalise your mortgage offer.
4.Arrange a survey
Although your mortgage lender will arrange for a valuation survey of your property, you will still need to organise your own survey. The mortgage lender’s survey is not thorough, and it will not highlight specific issues. It is essential to instruct an RICS qualified solicitor to carry out the work for you. If they miss anything vital, their insurance will cover you for any financial consequences.
The results of your property survey may mean that you can renegotiate the property's purchase price with the seller.
5.Organise buildings insurance and a removal company
Once you have exchanged contracts on the property, you are responsible for it, so make sure you have buildings insurance in place in case of fire or other damage.
When choosing a removal company, check their insurance will cover you if anything is lost or damaged in transit. Always ring the removal company as soon as you have a moving date and again a fortnight before moving for your own peace of mind.
6.Exchange of contracts
On exchange of contracts, your solicitor and your seller’s solicitor will read the legal contracts you and the seller have signed to each other over the phone. These contracts detail the property purchase price, the amount of deposit you will pay for the property today, the completion date and all other terms and conditions relevant to the purchase.
Once the contracts have been read, your solicitor will pay the seller’s solicitor a 10% deposit on the property. This deposit will come straight out of your mortgage, so it is not something you need to save towards, unlike the deposit you need to secure a mortgage.
A date for the completion of the sale will be agreed upon.
This is the day you can move into your property. Your solicitor will transfer the balance you owe on the property to the seller’s solicitor. You can then collect the keys for your new property from the estate agent.
Following completion, your solicitor will pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax you owe to HMRC (first time buyers are exempt from stamp duty for the first £300,000 of a property’s purchase price).
Once stamp duty is paid, your solicitor will register the property in your name and register the mortgage against the property with the Land Registry.
First time buyer solicitor fees
At Davisons, our fees cover all the work required to complete the purchase of your new home, including registration at the Land Registry and payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax if the property is in England or Land Transaction Tax if the property is in Wales.
Conveyancing fees and disbursements:
- Legal fee £495 - £5,000
- Search fees £50 - £450
- HM Land Registry fee £40 - £910
- Electronic money transfer fee £30 - £45
- VAT payable @ 20%
For an accurate quote, please get in touch with us. We always explain our fees before we start conveyancing rather than when we have finished, so there are no surprises and no hidden costs to worry about.