First time buyer guide

Jan 5, 2024

After lengthy consideration you have taken the decision to purchase your first home.  You have spoken with a mortgage adviser to establish what you can borrow and have now found your perfect property.  Now to choose a solicitor to deal with the legalities for you but, where to start?

Here at Barker Son & Isherwood, our specialist Conveyancing Team are on hand to assist you with your purchase.  Your matter will be assigned to a fee earner who will have conduct of your matter throughout with support staff on hand to also help answer any queries you may have.

Once you have confirmed your instructions, you will need to advise your mortgage broker and estate agent the details of the solicitor you have instructed in order their documentation can be provided to us.

We will open your file and forward our client engagement pack to you for completion and return.  The documentation you provide will inform us of your full name, contact address together with how you will be funding your purchase.  We will also need to carry out ID verification checks and for this we use a third-party company called Thirdfort.  In order to comply with Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, this information must be completed before we can begin work on your behalf.

Once all paperwork has been returned together with funds on account, the relevant ID checks have been carried out and we receive the Contract Pack from your Seller’s solicitor, we will be in a position to request the necessary searches.  These searches are also a requirement of your Lender as they provide information in relation to the property they are investing in.

Once your mortgage has been approved, your Lender will arrange for a survey to be carried out by their Surveyor.  This is basically a valuation so the Lender can be certain the property is worth what they are lending.  Whilst money may be tight for you, we would also recommend that you instigate a Home Buyers Survey which is a more thorough survey than that carried out by your Lenders’ Surveyor.  Your estate agent will be able to provide details of a Registered Surveyor to carry this out for you.

Once we receive the Contract Pack and have requested searches, we will provide our Property Report to you.  This Report will provide details of the legal title to the property and any issues the searches may have picked up, for example any flooding issues or planning permissions granted in the vicinity of the property.  Although a lengthy document, you should read this document fully and, if you have any queries on the content, should speak with your solicitor or their support staff for clarification.  At this point, we will also raise any queries with the Seller’s solicitors that the Contract pack and/or searches may reveal.

If you are purchasing a leasehold property, ie a flat, we will receive what is called a Sales Management Pack from the Seller’s solicitor.  This will include details of the management company and landlord.  It will also advise the position with regard to any service charge and/or ground rent payable.  We will report on this in our Property Report or separately if the Management Pack has been received after we have prepared our Property Report to you.

At this point, we should also have received your mortgage offer.  We will check this for you and provide a Report on the same, highlighting the main points of the offer.  Again, if you have any queries as a result of this Report you should speak with your solicitor or your mortgage broker/lender.  Should you be obtaining a gifted deposit from a family member, we will also need to carry out ID verification on them and obtain details of where their gifted funds are coming from.

During the process, we will forward to you the Contract, Transfer, Mortgage Deed and Stamp Duty forms for checking and signing.  The Transfer and Mortgage Deed will need to be signed in front of a witness.

Once any queries raised have been answered and we are satisfied with the responses, and we have all signed documentation, we will be in a position to discuss completion dates and will request the deposit funds from you.  Once a completion date has been agreed by all parties, we will be in a position to exchange contracts.  Once exchange of contracts has taken place, you will be bound into the contract and the transaction will complete on the agreed date.  You will not be able to withdraw from the transaction once exchange has taken place. Should you do so, you will lose the deposit provided on exchange.

Following exchange, we will request all funds needed to complete from you.  Any outstanding funds will need to be provided the day prior to the fixed completion date and we will not be able to complete without cleared funds in our account.

On the day of completion, we will arrange for funds to be sent to your Seller’s solicitors and, upon receipt of funds they will contact the agent to confirm and release keys.  The solicitor will then contact us to confirm receipt of funds and release of keys, and, in turn, we will contact you to advise the matter has completed and that you can arrange collection of the keys to your new home from the estate agent.

Following completion, we will arrange for the necessary Stamp Duty form to be submitted to HM Revenue and Customs to confirm to them the stamp duty, if any, that is payable from you. If you have purchased a leasehold property, we will also deal with the submission of any Notices required by the management company/landlord. We will then arrange to forward the necessary application to HM Land Registry where they will update the Official Register to show you are the owners of the property and register the interest of the Lenders’ Charge.  This process can currently take up to six months to complete on a pre-owned property or up to two years on a new build property.

If you are ready to make the next step on owning your first property, please get in touch with the Conveyancing Team who will be happy to assist with any queries you may have on or on 01264 353411.

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