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12 Stages of Conveyancing – A First-Time Buyers Guide

Buying your first home can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. But do not worry, our dedicated conveyancing team are here to make it as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Guiding you through each step, explore our comprehensive article as we walk you through the key stages of the process.

1. Your offer on your new home has been accepted

Congratulations! You will now want to research and get quotes from various solicitors to find the right one to look after your purchase. Be aware though, that the cheapest quote will not always mean the best service and some high volume/quick turnaround firms often have hidden fees so whilst your quote may look like a good deal, it may turn out to be more expensive than a trusted high street firm.

2. Instruct your conveyancer

Once you have decided on your solicitor, they will send some initial paperwork to you to complete. This will usually include their terms of business, a personal information questionnaire, information regarding your proof of funds, and your stamp duty land tax (SDLT) obligations (if any, as no SDLT is payable by first-time buyers on the first £425,000 of the property’s value). You will need to complete, sign, and return these papers.

3. Payment of monies upfront

Your conveyancer will need around £500 upfront for disbursements, which are payments made to others on your behalf for things like electronic ID checks, title documents and searches. These are different and separate to the lawyer’s fees, which will be billed on completion of the matter.

4. Contracts are issued

Once the contracts and property information forms arrive from the seller’s conveyancers, these will be checked by your conveyancer. If necessary, any enquiries will be raised and passed to the seller’s conveyancers to ensure problems and issues are identified and dealt with before you buy.

5. Property searches

If you are applying for a mortgage, it will be a condition of your mortgage offer that searches are carried out on the property before we are able to draw down funds from your lender. The searches provide valuable, up to date information about the property and its surrounding areas that could affect your decision to buy. The searches include a local authority search, water and drainage search, environmental search, and possibly coal mining search, if required.

6. Mortgage offer arrives

Once your mortgage offer arrives, this will need to be checked to ensure it is in line with the transaction documentation and that your conveyancer can meet any mortgage conditions within the offer. This will then be reported to you, and you will be asked to sign a mortgage deed.

7. To survey or not to survey?

Please remember that a mortgage valuation is not a survey! It may not be necessary to have a full structural survey or even a homebuyer's report for a fairly new home. However, consider these when buying an older property. You will need to instruct an independent surveyor of your choice and they will advise on the different types of reports available.

8. We give you the answers

If enquiries were raised (see step 4 above), then once replies from the vendors have been received your conveyancer will advise you of any concerns about your purchase. Where there are concerns, the aim will be to rectify the matters as soon as possible.

9. Signature required!

Once all replies to enquiries are satisfactory and search results are clear, it’s time for you to sign the contract. You can attend the office in person or, in most cases, documents can be e-mailed or posted to you. You will typically be asked to sign a contract, a transfer, a stamp duty land tax form, a mortgage deed. These will then sit on the file in readiness for exchange of contracts.

10. Deposit payment

Your conveyancer will then need your deposit funds. You must provide sufficient evidence of the source of funds before money can be accepted. For example, if the money is via an inheritance you will need to provide written evidence of this. This is the same for each and every client and is due to anti-money laundering regulations.

11. Exchange of contracts

Exchange is the point when the contract becomes legally binding and a fixed completion date is agreed. People will usually want a week or so between exchange and completion to pack the house up and book a removal company. However, this can be shorter or longer depending on the needs of the chain. Once the exchange has taken place there will be penalties if you change your mind and wish to pull out, so at this point you must be sure of the purchase!

12. Completion day

This is the day you can collect your keys to your new home. Money will be sent from the buyer’s conveyancers to the seller’s conveyancers. Once they receive the funds, they will release the keys to you, which can be collected from your estate agent. Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of your new home!

Our dedicated conveyancing team are here to guide you through each step, ensuring your journey to becoming a proud first-time homeowner is smooth and stress-free. If you have more questions or would like to arrange an appointment with our conveyancing solicitors in Ashby de la Zouch or Tamworth, simply just get in touch with us.

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