First time buyers guide to the conveyancing process
Posted:24th November 2021
As a first time buyer, the legal process of purchasing a property (known as conveyancing) can be a confusing and stressful time. Here at EMG Solicitors using our expertise, professional and proactive approach, we will ensure that any property transaction is made as straight forward and as stress free as possible.
We’ve acted for hundreds of clients, helping them to buy and sell property and we know that excellent service and communicating clearly and regularly throughout a conveyancing transaction is key. We believe our commitment to this service offering is what sets us apart from other firms and we are proud of the fact that we are regularly instructed by clients, landlords and mortgage advisers who continue to use us time and time again.
The biggest tip that we can give you as a first-time buyer is to instruct a conveyancer you trust. As a first-time buyer it is all new and potentially daunting, but the right conveyancer will take the time to guide you through each step of the process. Your conveyancer is also crucial when it comes to speeding up the process – but a good one will flag up potential problems and deal with them quickly too. Maintaining the mantra that first homebuyers should enjoy the process of buying their first home as much as possible, your nominated contact at EMG will deal with your case personally, taking responsibility and keep you updated throughout every stage of the process. It’s also important to look out for service over price, the cheapest could end up being a false economy!
Once you’ve had an offer accepted on a property, you should instruct a conveyancer and arrange a survey on the property and make a mortgage application (if required).
What are the steps in the conveyancing process for buying my first property?
EMG House Purchase Transaction flow chart
- You instruct us to act on your behalf and we confirm those instructions in writing setting out our terms of business and costs.
- You arrange a survey on the property, and apply for a mortgage (if needed).
- We contact your seller’s solicitor to obtain a contract pack and then make checks, raise pre-contract enquiries, carry out any necessary searches and obtain a copy of your mortgage offer.
- Once we receive replies from your seller’s solicitor we review these and produce a full report to you on everything you need to know.
- If you are happy to proceed, we arrange for the deposit to be paid to your seller’s solicitor in readiness to exchange contracts. We then agree a completion date with your seller’s solicitor and contracts are formally “exchanged” – meaning both parties are now legally bound.
- We prepare a draft transfer deed and completion information form and send this to your seller’s solicitor for completion. This will then be approved and a final copy is made. We arrange for this to be signed by you and then send to the seller’s solicitor for signature by the seller in readiness for completion.
What happens on completion?
- We prepare a completion statement, carry out pre-completion searches and request monies from your lender (if applicable).
- Completion takes place, we send monies to the seller’s solicitor and keys are released.
- Your seller’s solicitor sends the title deeds and transfer deed to us with an undertaking to repay any existing mortgage on the property
- We send any stamp duty payable to HMRC, receive the title deeds, transfer deed and proof that the seller has paid the outstanding mortgage on the property.
- We register the property in your name at The Land Registry and you receive a copy of the registered title. We then send any documents required by your mortgage lender to them.
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What paperwork will I need to supply?
All clients are required to supply their ID and proof of address, usually a utility bill or bank statement dated within the last 3 months. If the clients are purchasing a property they will need to provide us with evidence to demonstrate their source of funds, we detail the acceptable documents once we know where the funds are coming from. There may be additional paperwork required and the conveyancer will review this on a case by case basis.
What can first-time buyers do to make the conveyancing process run more smoothly?
When first time buyers have an offer accepted, many believe that as they are chain free, it should take place relatively quickly and easily. Unfortunately, there are numerous stumbling blocks that can delay the transaction, ranging from the buyer or vendor being slow to respond to information requests, to conveyancing searches revealing potential issues. These tips should assist first time buyers to ensure that the conveyancing process runs smoothly:
- Have your mortgage in place first
Knowing how much you have available to borrow and arranging a mortgage in principle means that once an offer has been accepted you can get on with the legalities. Applying for a mortgage can bring a whole host of problems in itself, so arranging this in advance can really help. Our advice would be to decide how much you can afford to borrow, secure the agreement and then find the property.
- Fill in forms promptly and accurately.
The quicker you can respond to requests for information, the quicker your solicitor will be able to move on to the next stage of the process. It is also important to complete forms as carefully and accurately as possible in order to avoid mistakes that will then use up valuable time being identified and rectified.
- Prepare your finances.
There are bound to be times during the move when you’ll feel like there are constant demands for your cash. Be prepared that there will be lots of fees to pay for – so you’ll need to have money available.
For further information, please contact Richard Swinbank, Head of EMG’s residential conveyancing team for an informal discussion on how we can help you make the first move on the property ladder as smooth and stress free as possible.
But don’t just take our word for it, hear what our recent conveyancing clients have to say here.
Making a Will
This is often also an important time to consider whether you should make a Will to ensure your property, along with any other assets, would pass in accordance with your wishes. For more information on our Will drafting services and fees, please contact our Wills team on 0191 500 6989.