The purchase of your first property is an exciting time. Whether you’re looking to buy a ‘fixer upper’ to put your stamp on or a modern ‘move in ready’ flat, there are a few legal stages to go through before you get the keys.

With multiple people to deal with and lots to organise and get in place before you can exchange contracts, buying your first property can feel daunting which is why it’s important to choose the right conveyancer to help you through the process.

Expert conveyancing for your first property purchase

At Home Property Lawyers our helpful and friendly conveyancers will support you from the start, working with the estate agents and the seller’s solicitors to ensure that your first property purchase proceeds quickly.

Our experienced team are here to ensure that every stage proceeds as smoothly as possible. With a dedicated and contactable conveyancer personally assigned to you from start to finish, you will be kept fully informed throughout.

What are the stages of a buying your first property?

Once you have found a property to buy the conveyancing process is fairly straightforward, following a number of typical steps.

Gathering information
  1. We will send you a pack of information and some forms to complete and return.
  2. You will be asked to provide money on account for third party expenses such as searches.
  3. You may be asked for evidence of your identity and your address if not provided by the estate agent.
  4. If your deposit is a gift, we will need proof of the gift, ID and address verification for the person who gifted you the deposit. You will need to tell your lender of any gift as soon as possible to avoid any issues later in the transaction.
  5. We will contact the seller’s solicitors to request: 
    • The Contract
    • Details of the title to the property
    • A Fixtures and Fittings Form
    • A Property Information Form (Protocol forms)

When we receive the contract pack we will check the title and raise our initial enquiries with the seller’s solicitors.

  1. If not already provided to us, we will request searches such as: 
    • Local Authority Search
    • Environmental Search
    • Drainage Search.

Once we receive the results, we will review them and raise any further enquiries with the seller’s solicitors.

  1. A property report will be prepared setting out key information relating to the property. We will send this to you with: 
    • A plan so we can ensure the boundaries of the property you are buying are correct
    • A contract
    • A Transfer Deed (TR1)
    • Completed Protocol forms
    • Copy documents
Mortgage and money
  1. If you are obtaining a mortgage, your lender will send us a mortgage offer. We will review the offer and deal with any special conditions so that on completion we can get the mortgage funds from your lender.
  2. If you have a Help-To-Buy ISA you will need to provide us with your closing statement at least three weeks before completion. You can get this from the bank or building Society managing your ISA. We will need this together with a signed First Time Buyer declaration to enable us to obtain the bonus. It is imperative that you provide this to us; any delay could result in the bonus being delayed. If we do not have this on completion you will lose the bonus as we are unable to utilise this after completion under the scheme rules. Further information can be found here.
  3. Once we and your lender (if applicable) are satisfied with enquiries and searches we can discuss a completion date with your seller’s solicitors and commit (exchange contracts) to moving (completion).
  4. In readiness for exchange of contracts we will require your deposit.
  5. We will carry out final searches before completion in case anything has changed. We will also request the funds from your lender (if applicable) and any balance funds from you. On the day of completion we will pay the purchase monies to the seller’s solicitors.
  1. On the day of completion, once the seller’s solicitors receive the funds, we can confirm completion and you can collect your keys.
  2. Following completion we will pay your stamp duty land tax to HMRC and we will deal with registration of your ownership and your lenders charge with the Land Registry.

Stamp Duty Land Tax Relief for First Time Buyers

As a first time buyer, you may be eligible for relief from stamp duty land tax. In 2017, relief from stamp duty land tax (SDLT) was introduced for first time buyers. The relief applies from 22 November 2017 to purchases of residential property for £500,000 or less, provided the purchaser intends to occupy the property as their only or main residence. Further details can be found here.

Why might buying a property take longer?

Although the process of a buying your first property is quite straightforward, occasionally there are things that can complicate and delay matters, for example:

    • Several people in the chain, all with different transactions and circumstances to accommodate.
    • An adverse survey which down-values a property or means that estimates or essential work needs to be carried out before completion.
    • Someone in the chain unable to secure a mortgage.
    • Problems with the property title, such as missing documents, inaccurate plan, defective lease, breach of covenants or lack of necessary planning permissions or building regulations.
    • The property being a leasehold, which requires additional information from third parties
    • Adverse search results which result in further investigations.
    • People simply changing their mind about moving.

Should any of the above issues arise, it’s important that you have a conveyancer who will keep you informed and help find solutions to progress your purchase through to the exchange of contracts.