First Time Home Buyers – What You Need to Know

For many first time home buyers the solution has been to “accept a gift” from the Bank of Mum and Dad (Bomad), which is recognised as one of the largest lenders in England and Wales.

If you receive a financial contribution from your parents or family it’s important you consider the potential pitfalls and for all persons involved take financial and legal advice concerning the money, whether it’s a gift or loan and what happens if things go wrong in the future. See Bank of Mum and Dad – the Potential Pitfalls.

Once you are happy you have a sufficient deposit and have made an offer on your home you now need to consider how to choose a Conveyancing Solicitor.

You do not need to instruct a Solicitor who is recommended by the estate agent or financial adviser. Whilst conveyancing fees are important you also need to look at the conveyancing service offering. Can the Solicitor complete in time? What are the online reviews like? Are their conveyancing fees transparent or are there add-on fees?

Buying a house or a flat can be one of the most stressful times of your life, so don’t get embroiled with the romanticism of owning your own home. Ensure you choose the right Conveyancing Solicitor to partner with and that you are not paying an inflated price. For a checklist of questions to ask and areas to consider.

Conveyancing Contract

Once you have instructed your Conveyancing Solicitor you will receive initial documentation asking for further detail about you and your purchase. The amount of information can be quite daunting. If you are not sure about any aspect question the matter with your Solicitor – that’s why you are paying them.

Once your Solicitor is happy with your identification they will open your file and request the Conveyancing contract documentation from the seller’s Solicitors.

Property Searches

You will also be asked for money on account so property searches can be carried out. Turnaround times for property searches can vary, searches are important and a requirement of your mortgage lender. When your Conveyancing Solicitor receives the searches they will provide you with an update of the results and any issues to be concerned about.

Your Solicitor will raise any enquiries on the contract with the seller’s Solicitor and once replied they will issue you with a report setting out the title to the property. It is crucial you understand the report, if you are unsure of any matter speak to your Solicitor.

Mortgage Offer

If you are buying with a mortgage your lender will contact you with a mortgage offer. You will receive a copy and a copy will be sent to your Solicitor. The mortgage may contain conditions which need to be complied with before completion. Your Solicitor will send you a further report setting out any conditions and providing additional information such as the term of the mortgage and repayment. You will also receive a mortgage deed to sign.

Paying the Deposit – Fraud Warning

Once all the reports have been received and you and your Solicitor are happy with the position you will be asked to send the deposit. Do not accept any bank details from your Solicitor by email as this is a high risk of fraud. Do not trust emails that change bank details through the transaction. Be aware of change of email addresses or suspicious requests. Unfortunately some consumers have lost their deposit by being targeted in this way.

Consent to Exchange Contracts

Once your Solicitor has your deposit and is happy to proceed you will be asked to provide completion dates which is when you can move into the property. These dates will need to be agreed with the seller. Once dates have been agreed your Solicitor will ask for consent to exchange contracts. This is when the deposit is paid and the matter becomes legally binding on all parties. 

Your Conveyancing Solicitor will still have work to do between exchange of contracts and completion, on occasions you can exchange and complete on the same day however this should be avoided if possible. On the day of completion you will be contacted to confirm you are the proud owners of your new home. Unfortunately, there is no exact time for moving, it will depend on the length of the chain involved i.e. how many people are linked in the process.

At Simpson Millar we have a successful and experienced property team to support you through the first time home buying process. You will have a dedicated property expert to guide you through each stage.

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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.