June 10, 2024

First Time Buyer Guide

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First Time Buyer Guide: Need to Knows for First Time Buyers

First Time Buyer Guide: Need to Knows for First Time Buyers

Buying your first home is an exciting process, filled with dreams of decorating, new independence and a huge sense of achievement. However, the process of getting there can often be confusing and daunting. As conveyancing solicitors, we're here to guide you through this process, ensuring it's as smooth and stress-free as possible. Here’s what every first-time buyer needs to know:

Our Top Tips for Buying your First Home

1. Understanding the Conveyancing Process

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer. It involves several stages, including contract negotiation, property searches and the exchange and completion of contracts. Our role as conveyancing solicitors is to manage these legal aspects, ensuring all paperwork is accurate and deadlines are met.

2. Setting Your Budget

Before you start house hunting, it's crucial to determine your budget. Consider the following costs:

  • Deposit: Typically, this will be 5-20% of the property's value.
  • Mortgage Fees: Arrangement fees, valuation fees and possibly broker fees.
  • Stamp Duty: First-time buyers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales can benefit from reduced rates.
  • Legal Fees: These include solicitor fees, which cover the conveyancing process.
  • Property Surveys and Valuations: Costs vary based on the type of survey you choose.
  • Moving Costs: Including the cost of removals.
3. Getting a Mortgage Agreement in Principle (AIP)

An Agreement in Principle is a statement from a lender indicating how much they might be willing to lend you, based on your financial situation. Having an AIP can strengthen your position as a buyer, showing sellers that you are serious and financially prepared.

4. Choosing the Right Property

When viewing properties, consider:

  • Location: Proximity to work, schools, transport links and amenities.
  • Condition: Be realistic about what you can afford to renovate or repair.
  • Potential: Think long-term – will this property meet your needs in the future?
5. Making an Offer

Once you've found your ideal home, make an offer through the estate agent. Be prepared to negotiate, but ensure your offer is realistic and within your budget.

6. Instructing a Conveyancing Solicitor

As soon as your offer is accepted, instruct a conveyancing solicitor. Our job is to:

  • Conduct Searches: Local authority searches, environmental searches, and more to uncover potential issues.
  • Draft Contracts: Ensuring terms are fair and protect your interests.
  • Manage Finances: Handling the transfer of funds, including your deposit and mortgage.
7. Surveys and Valuations

Arrange for a professional survey to assess the property's condition. Options include:

  • Homebuyer’s Report: Suitable for most properties, offering a detailed inspection.
  • Building Survey: More comprehensive, ideal for older or unusual properties.

The lender will also conduct a valuation to ensure the property is worth the mortgage amount.

8. Exchanging Contracts

Once both parties are satisfied with the contract terms, you’ll exchange contracts. At this point, the sale becomes legally binding, and you’ll typically pay the deposit. Your solicitor will ensure all conditions are met before this step.

9. Completion Day

On completion day, the remaining purchase funds are transferred, and you’ll receive the keys to your new home. Congratulations, you’re now a homeowner!

10. Post-Completion

After completion, your solicitor will:

  • Pay Stamp Duty: On your behalf, if applicable.
  • Register the Property: With the Land Registry, transferring ownership to your name.

Looking for Trusted Conveyancing Solicitors?

Buying your first home is a significant life event. While it can seem complex, having the right support makes all the difference. At Bespoke Law Services, we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive conveyancing services tailored to first-time buyers. Our goal is to ensure you feel confident and informed at every stage of the process.

Get in touch today for expert advice and support.