A quick guide for first time buyers10-Oct-2018
By Lesley Stuart, Partner, Residential Conveyancing
Buying a home is stressful, especially for first-time buyers, so it's wise to do some research to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Conveyancing is the term that refers to the legal process of transferring one person's property (the seller), to another (the buyer).
What does the process involve?
Put simply; this is what conveyancing looks like from start to finish:
You should note that nobody is legally bound to complete the transaction until contracts are exchanged.
What is Gazumping?
This term refers to another buyer offering more money to the seller than you have, and the seller goes back on the deal you made. Sadly, you can't legally protect yourself from this happening if this occurs prior to exchange. However, it's always worth asking the seller to take the property off the market as part of your original offer. This rapidly reduces the likelihood of another buyer submitting a higher price.
What is Gazanging?
Gazanging is when the seller cancels the sale to stay in their property. This could occur when the market price shoots up as there's a good chance the seller will make more money if they wait to sell in a few months’ time.
Finding a mortgage and doing all the checksIf you are buying a property then make sure you’ve got your finances in place first. If you go house hunting before you’ve gone mortgage hunting, you’ll complicate the process, especially if you don’t get the full amount you need and have to scrabble around to make up the shortfall. Don't automatically go with the first lender you find; mortgage products change almost daily. There are so many mortgage lenders out there, all hustling for your business, especially if you've got an excellent credit score. It's almost inevitable that another lender will match your bank's offer, or even try to tempt you with a better deal.
Always get a personalised mortgage illustration: this should highlight the important features of your mortgage. Taking out this kind of loan is a massive commitment, so do your due diligence and don't sign up for anything you'll regret later on. Remember, a mortgage typically lasts for 25 years, so this is a long-term commitment and not something to be rushed into without a lot of careful thought.
Once you’ve got your finances straight, it’s time to…
Choose Your Conveyancing Specialist
You need a Solicitor, Legal executive or a Licensed conveyancer who is qualified in property law. They'll handle all the paperwork and conduct the necessary searches to satisfy both the Land Registry and local council. They'll also:
- Draft the contract
- Manage the exchange of money between the buyer and the seller
Top Tip: A cheap conveyancing fee will probably mean that the majority of your work is being carried out by someone who is not qualified. Money is nearly always tight for first time buyers but don’t choose a firm on price alone. Reputation is key as is personal recommendation.
Ask who is going to be carrying out the work for you and what their experience and qualifications are.
It's recommended that you find a legal expert who is familiar with conveyancing early on. Ideally find someone who is local and willing to communicate with you in a way that works for you. This makes the process a whole lot smoother and helps to ensure everything goes through as quickly as possible.
Residential Property – A Buyers Guide
For property purchases you may find our leaflet Residential Property – A Buyers Guide useful, to download it simply click on the icon below.
For more information about our Residential Conveyancing services, please contact a member of the Residential Conveyancing team on 01244 356 789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.