• Aamir Nawaz

Steps to Take When Buying Your First Home, According to Conveyancing Solicitors

You’ve reached the point where you’re ready to purchase your first home. It’s an exciting step to take, but it can also be a little anxiety-inducing and scary. After all, there are so many things to remember, so where should you even start?

Fortunately, there are specific steps to be followed in the purchase of a home and housing solicitors can help you complete each step quickly and easily.

Conveyancing Solicitors: Steps to Buying a Home

The basic steps involved in purchasing a home will include the following:

Step One: Find a Home

Before you even begin to look for a home, you’ll probably want to figure out what kind of budget you have to work with. There are a few options here for financing, of course, but you’ll want to find out how much you can put down on a home and what your potential mortgage fees would be.

Keep in mind that the home for you should be comfortable and something you can see yourself in for a while. It should also have features that will make it easier to sell later on, or areas where you can easily improve it for sale.

Once you’ve found a good home that is within your budget, you can start to look at buying it.

Step Two: Make an Offer on the House

Once you’re sure this is truly the place you want, you can put in an offer. Your solicitor can handle all of this for you, including getting a copy of your mortgage offer and valuation to see if you are eligible for a mortgage. This makes it far easier to pay for a house if you don’t have the cash on hand for it (which is very rare).

Your offer will depend on what you believe the house is worth and the mortgage amount that you can collect. It’s often worth putting in an offer even if you can’t reach the house’s asking price, because the owners may bring the price down and accept your offer if they don’t get anything else.

Step Three: Valuation Survey

If you’re getting a mortgage, there will be a valuation survey done by the lender. It’s usually just a basic survey and will only look at the value of the property for the bank’s purposes. No extras will be investigated. You won’t find out all the repairs or maintenance that the property might require.

Step Four: Property Survey

The property survey is your responsibility and will require hiring a surveyor to do a full inspection. While you can skip this process, it’s not recommended. You need to know what potential issues there are and what you’ll need to do to the home in order to make it liveable.

You will also be able to use the information provided by the survey to negotiate the price. Once you know roughly how much it will cost to repair problems in the home, you can request that the seller reduces the price by that amount. There are three main levels of surveys to be done.

RICS condition report: If you just want a quick survey of the property, this is all you need. It won’t turn up deeper problems, give you advice, or provide a valuation. However, it’s cheaper and may be all you need for relatively new homes.

RICS homebuyer report: If the house looks to be in good condition, you can pay a little more to have the whole thing inspected. This will provide you with some idea of repairs that may be required. You’ll also be provided with a general valuation, based on the survey.

Structural survey: This kind of survey digs right down into potential problems, including structural issues, termites or other pests, and anything else that may require repairs or treatment. While any home can be given a full inspection, you’ll definitely want this for an older house or one that looks as though it has seen better days.

Step Five: Finalising the Offer and Financing

Now that you’ve seen exactly what is in store for you with the new property, you can either move forward or re-negotiate the price, based on what your lender values the house at and any potential problems with the house.

It can be difficult to get through this period because it’s where there is the most chance of things going wrong. For example, the seller could accept a different offer, decide not to sell after all, or you might not get the mortgage. Once everything has been sorted, however, you can finalise the mortgage. This generally includes a fee, which may be paid at the beginning or included in the mortgage to be paid back along with the mortgage.

Step Six: Contract Exchange

At this point, if all has gone well, you’ll get the contract for the house and can sign it. You should go over the contract with your solicitor to ensure everything is exactly as you want it. You may need to show intent with a deposit at this point.

Once both parties have signed the contracts, they will be exchanged, often by the solicitors on each side. At this point, there is no turning back. You are about to be a homeowner.

Step Seven: Taking Over Your Home

Once the contracts have been exchanged, the process is nearly done. You’ll transfer the rest of the money, usually via a solicitor. This is also when you will need to pay your solicitor.

Finally, to ensure that everything is legally settled, your conveyancer will register your home purchase with the Land Registry. You will also have a month to pay your Stamp Duty, which can also be handled by the solicitor. You need to be sure all of these things have been completed, but once they are, it’s time to move into your home.

The costs for each step will vary depending on the house and property value, among other factors.

Do You Really Need Law Firms to Buy a House?

Can you purchase a home without using a solicitor? The short answer is yes. Legally, you can handle everything yourself and manage the sale on your own. However, this means you need to have a good understanding of the entire process, know where common issues lie, and be prepared to spend a lot of time and energy on the process.

The main benefit of using a law firm to handle your home purchase is that you’ll be able to leave just about everything up to the professionals. They have the necessary experience to make the entire thing smooth and simple so you can get your new place as quickly as possible.

It requires a lot of studying to know exactly how to handle a home sale and to ensure each step turns out as planned. If there are any complications, it can become even more difficult for you to handle it on your own. For this reason, you’ll find it simplest to hire housing solicitor experts to handle everything for you.

Property Conveyancing: What Does a Conveyancer Do?

The conveyancer is responsible for many parts of the job that you probably don’t want to deal with. These include:

Preparing Documents

All the transfer documents need to be drawn up properly and this will be part of the conveyancer’s job. They will ensure that the property is legally yours and transferred correctly. Since each area will have different regulations, it’s essential that the solicitor understands what is required in your area.

Providing Advice

Legal advice is important when you’re buying a home and if there is anything that doesn’t make sense in the contracts, or any special conditions you want to include or the seller wishes to include, your conveyancer can manage everything.

The conveyancer will also point out the necessary terms and conditions that you will need to understand. If anything unusual is included, you should be informed and given legal advice on how to proceed. In some cases, they will also be able to provide you with some information on your mortgage, or anything else you might want.

Arranging the Settlement

Once your home purchase has all been settled, you will need to make the settlement. This can be arranged by the solicitor who will talk to the bank and ensure that the funds are ready for transfer. The conveyancer is also responsible for arranging when you will get the keys to your new home.

While you could technically do all of this yourself, it requires the right connections and knowledge of the system. Doing it yourself will result in spending a lot of extra time on getting everything set up and finalised.

Using a property conveyancer will help make the home buying process easier. If you’re ready to find someone to help you buy a house, contact us at Trent Law today.

Nottingham Office

20 The Ropewalk

Nottingham 

NG1 5DT

0333 3444 397

nottingham@trentlaw.co.uk

Derby Office

22 Mallard Way

Pride Park, Derby

DE24 8GX

0333 3444 391

derby@trentlaw.co.uk

Sheffield Office (Sharrow)

268 Sharrow Vale Road

Sheffield

S11 8ZH

01142 999 111

sheffield@trentlaw.co.uk

Sheffield Office (Darnall)

299 Main Road

Sheffield

S9 4QG

01142 999 111

sheffield@trentlaw.co.uk

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Trent Law (Solicitors) is the trading name of Trent Law Ltd registered in England & Wales under 7494853. Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. ID 597524. Registered with the Information Commissioner's Office Reference: ZA075196.