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A First Time Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing Property

Clare Stanbury, Conveyancing Specialist guides us through the conveyancing procedure for first time buyers.

So you’re about to take your first step onto the property ladder. Below are the stages of the conveyancing process to give you an idea of what to expect:

Make sure you look into the additional costs associated with moving so you have a realistic idea of what you can afford to spend on the property itself.

If you require mortgage funding, contact a lender directly, or instruct a broker, to see what you could borrow before you start looking for properties.

Find a property
There are different types of property out there, such as freehold, leasehold and shared ownership. If you have any questions or concerns about the differences, speak to your conveyancer or the selling agent.

Instruct a conveyancer
You will need to provide two forms of original identification, details of the source of funds for the purchase price (including any gifted funds from family) and complete an instruction form with details of the transaction.

Once the agent has details of the conveyancers instructed by you and the seller, they will send out a “memorandum of sale” so the conveyancers have details of the transaction and can contact each other. The seller’s conveyancer will prepare the draft contract pack and send this to your conveyancer. You will be sent a copy of the title plan and fittings & contents form (a list of items included in the sale) for approval.

Your conveyancer will review the documents in the contract pack and will ask questions about the property based on these and anything you have mentioned in your initial instruction form or subsequent correspondence.

Once you have approved the title plan, your conveyancer will order searches, typically local authority, drainage, environmental and chancel searches. It usually takes around two weeks to receive the results.

Once your conveyancer has received the search results, has replied to enquiries and mortgage offer, they will send you a report on the property. They will also send you a draft financial statement and ask you to provide the deposit (usually 10% of the sale price) ready for exchange of contracts.

Exchange of contracts
Once your conveyancer has received your signed documents and deposit, and you are happy to proceed with the purchase, moving (completion) dates can be discussed. When this has been agreed the conveyancers will carry out exchange of contracts by telephone. The completion date will be written on the contract and it is then legally binding.

You will need to transfer any additional funds required before completion. Your conveyancer will also request mortgage funds from your lender. On the completion day your conveyancer will transfer funds to the seller’s conveyancer. Once the seller’s conveyancer has confirmed receipt of the payment, they will contact the agent to let them know they can give you the keys. Your conveyancer will let you know completion has taken place and you can then collect the keys and move into your new home.

After completion your conveyancer will apply to the Land Registry to register you as the new owner of the property, and also register any mortgage you have. Once the Land Registry has updated the details your conveyancer will send you an updated copy of the “title register” showing you as the owner, and details of your lender (if any).

We know it can be a daunting experience and are here to help you through the process. Please don’t be afraid to ask questions – your conveyancer will be happy to assist to ensure you have sufficient information to make an informed decision about your property purchase.

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Are you a first time buyer who needs advice? For further advice on this and other Residential Property issues contact Clare Stanbury or our Residential Property department.

Please read Reliance on information posted in our Terms of Website Use - see Legal section - before relying on this commentary.

Before relying on this commentary please read the Reliance on information posted section in our Terms of Website Use in our Legal section. Please note that specialist advice should be taken in relation to any specific queries and the information above is provided for general information purposes only.

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Our Experts

Gemma Bath

Head of Department
Residential Property

Chris Dewhurst

Residential Property

Louise Farrow

Residential Property

Julie Smith

Chartered Legal Executive
Residential Property

Laura Foster

Licensed Conveyancer
Residential Property

Shehaam Van Twest

Licensed Conveyancer
Residential Property

Thomas Picknell

Assistant Solicitor
Commercial Property

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