First Time Buyers

A First Time Buyer’s Guide to the Conveyancing Process

26th June 2020

Most first time buyers will have never heard of conveyancing before deciding to buy their first property. The process of buying a house, instructing conveyancers, surveyors, estate agents, and parting with a large sum of hard-earned cash is often a stressful experience for those who have not done it before.

Sarah Heath, Chartered Legal Executive in our Conveyancing Department, guides us through the conveyancing process and details exactly what you can expect when buying your first home with Gilbert Stephens Solicitors. Knowing what to expect from the process will help to alleviate stress and prevent any unnecessary costs further down the line.

  • Instruct a Conveyancer

Congratulations! Your offer on your new home has just been accepted by the seller, now you need to instruct a trustworthy Conveyancer to carry out all the legal work. This work is essential as it will make sure you do not run into a series of unexpected problems after buying your property.

At Gilbert Stephens, our Conveyancers have years of experience and include qualified Solicitors and Legal Executives often trained within the firm, or carefully chosen for their expertise. All our Conveyancers are routinely kept up to date with the law through external and internal courses.

  • Pay deposit for Client Care

Your legal representative will forward a Client Care pack to you, setting out their terms of business and associated costs.

You will be required to undertake identity checks and pay an upfront sum of £300 on account of the cost of searches.

If the cost of your new home exceeds £300,000, you will also need to pay the Stamp Duty. First time buyers buying properties less than £300,000 are exempt from paying Stamp Duty.

  • We check over contracts

Your Conveyancer will receive a draft Contract, the Deeds to the property, and property information forms from the seller’s Conveyancer. These documents will be checked over meticulously, and we may raise further enquiries into these documents if necessary.

  • Property searches are carried out

Your Conveyancer will then order property searches to be carried out and investigate these searches for any issues. Property searches are usually one of the mortgage lender’s conditions to granting you a mortgage.

  • Finalise your mortgage

Before contracts can be exchanged, you must provide your Conveyancer with a written mortgage offer from your mortgage company to prove finances are in order.

  • We advise you

We will report to you on the documentation that has been collated throughout the transaction. If we have made enquiries, we will inform you of any responses we have received, and then offer our advice on whether you should proceed with your purchase based on our findings.

If we are satisfied with all documentation and property searches, we will ask you to sign some key documents such as a Mortgage Deed, Purchase Report, and the Contract.

  • Pay your deposit

We will then ask you to pay the deposit for the property. This is usually 10% of the total cost, but for first time buyers with Help to Buy ISAs, it can be as little as 5%.

  • Contracts are exchanged

After your deposit has been paid, your Conveyancer will prepare the Transfer of Property, which must be approved by the seller’s Conveyancer and then signed by both parties.

After contracts have been exchanged, you are legally bound to purchasing the property. Both parities cannot pull out of the contract without consequences.

  • Completion!

Completion takes place when the seller confirms they have received the balance of money due to them. Keys to the property will then be handed to you either by the seller or estate agent.

The completion date is usually 1-2 weeks after exchange of contracts. It must be a weekday and this is usually the date buyers will move into their new house.

  • Post-completion

Your Conveyancer will pay any Stamp Duty Tax due and register your ownership with Land Registry. We will also send a copy of your registered title to you and your mortgage lender to evidence the change in ownership and to show the lender their charge has been registered.

If you would like further information on the conveyancing process, please get in touch with Sarah on 01392 424242 or email .  You can also receive a free conveyancing quote quickly and simply by clicking here.