Conveyancing Tips: First-time Buyers Guide to Purchasing a Property

8 February 2022
Purchasing your first home is such a huge achievement and should be a really exciting time. However, with so much information to take in and new jargon to learn, it can sometimes be a little difficult to process it all. But it’s incredibly important to be as clued up as possible about the process.
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John Fowlers Solicitors have been providing conveyancing services for more than 97 years. Our experienced team are proud to be the go-to solicitors in Colchester, Essex and surrounding areas for conveyancing services. Purchasing your first property can sometimes feel like a complex and overwhelming process. So, we’ve compiled some useful information on conveyancing.

Secure a Mortgage in Principle

If you’re preparing to purchase your first home, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have an understanding of your affordability and eligibility. Avoid the heartbreak of falling in love with a property only to find out that it’s out of budget. Securing a mortgage in principle can give you a clearer picture of what you’re likely to be accepted for. It can also strengthen your position as a potential buyer as it highlights that you’re ready to commit to a purchase. In some cases, estate agents may only accept viewings from those who have a mortgage in principle in place. 

Offer Accepted 

Has the offer on your property been accepted? It’s time to get in touch with your mortgage broker or provider and get the ball rolling on your mortgage application. It’s important to do this as soon as possible to ensure that there are no delays in the process. 

Instruct a Conveyancing Solicitor 

Once your offer is accepted, you’ll also need to instruct a conveyancer or solicitor to act on your behalf. They will often act as an intermediary between you and the seller’s solicitor or conveyancer. They can also liaise with the estate agent and your mortgage provider. Your conveyancing solicitor will deal with all legal aspects of the transaction, including searches, stamp duty tax, transferring funds, and other legal duties.

Surveys and Searches

Surveys and searches are an important part of the home buying process. It’s a good idea to get the property checked by a surveyor to shed light on any problems that the property may have. Depending on the type of survey you choose, you’ll find that the cost will vary. Your conveyancing solicitor will conduct a number of searches which are usually carried out with the local authority, water and drainage provider, and environmental searches. There may be some additional searches required depending on the property. 

Exchange of Contracts

Exchange of contracts is the point where all parties become legally bound to the purchase. At this stage, you’ll transfer your deposit to your conveyancing solicitor. If you were to pull out, you would more than likely lose your deposit and if the seller was to pull out they would be forced to pay penalties too. You’ll now be financially responsible for the property which means that it’s important to ensure that you have building insurance in place at this stage too. 

Completion and Beyond

Congratulations! The final stage in your home buying process has finally arrived. At this stage, you’ll be required to pay any remaining fees and balances. It’s also the most exciting point of the process as you’ll be able to pick up your keys and move into your new home! Your conveyancing solicitor will arrange the filing of stamp duty land tax return to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). They will also register the property in your name with HM Land Registry or register the lease in your name if you’re purchasing a leasehold property. 

Whilst purchasing a property is extremely exciting, it’s important to plan ahead and ensure that your home and any other assets are protected and would pass in accordance with your wishes if the worst case scenario occurred. It’s highly recommended to consider making a will. Here at John Fowlers Solicitors, we’re not only experienced in conveyancing services but we also can help with wills and estate planning.   

Purchasing your first home? Contact us today and speak with one of our experienced conveyancing solicitors in Colchester, Essex, and find out how we can help you.