A First-Time Buyers Guide to Conveyancing

Buying a house is likely to be the biggest purchase that most of us will make in our lifetimes. If you’re a first-time buyer, the conveyancing process may seem confusing, with many important things to consider.

These are the best tips from Compare My Move to make sure your conveyancing goes as smooth as possible, ensuring there are no unnecessary delays, from getting a mortgage in principle to how to choose the right conveyancer, this article will cover everything you need to know about conveyancing for first-time buyers.

  1. Get a Mortgage in Principle

You should start your mortgage application before you’ve even found a house you want to make an offer on. It could take anywhere from 18-40 days for your mortgage to be accepted, so the earlier you start, the better.

Even if your mortgage isn’t accepted by the time you want to make an offer, you can get a ‘mortgage in principle’ which will show the seller you’re in the process of getting a mortgage and will take you serious as a buyer.

To speed up the process of applying for a mortgage, you should have proof of your identity, evidence of your address and 6 months bank statements at the ready for your mortgage lender to check over.

PCS Legal, an experienced conveyancer regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers say, “we may need to liaise with your mortgage lender with gifted deposits and this can sometimes take some time. So let your conveyancer know as soon as you can to avoid any delays on this front.”

  1. Choose the Right Conveyancer

When you’re buying your first home, it’s important you choose the right conveyancer. A qualified and professional conveyancer must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), Law Society of Scotland (LSS), or Law Society of Northern Ireland (LSNI).

It’s important to compare a few conveyancers to not only get the best deal on your conveyancing, but to ensure you find a reputable firm to take care of the legal aspect of buying your house. Try to avoid estate agents recommendations as they will often be getting commission and a high-quality service isn’t always guaranteed.

It’s advised to stay clear of conveyancing companies that are offering low prices for their services, as more often than not this ends up being too good to be true. There will be often hidden fees with these cheap companies. Always ask for a breakdown of the quote upfront.

  1. Get Your Offer Accepted

You’ll want to present yourself as a serious buyer to have a chance of your offer being accepted, so having your mortgage in principle or accepted will help with this. Do your research on similar properties on the same street and find out how much they sold for. Let the seller know the reasons behind your offer and why you want to buy their house in a letter.

A RICS property survey will be able to tell you if there are any hidden defects in the house before you commit to purchase it. If the house needs work done, you may be able to negotiate with the seller even after they have accepted your offer. Factor in how much it would cost you to fix these issues and take this off your original offer.

Always put your offer in writing such as an email or a letter through the estate agent to act as proof of your offer.

Once your offer is accepted, you will have to pay the deposit before exchanging contracts. PCS Legal say “it is very important that you advise your conveyancer if the funds are being gifted to you e.g. by family or friends. This is something that is not usually a problem, but we will need to conduct ID checks and if the ID is not certified we will need to verify their ID by seeing them in person or a video call.”

  1. Be Easily Contactable

Your conveyancer will be doing their best to keep the conveyancing process as speedy as possible, and so should you. Make sure you sign the relevant documents and get them back to your conveyancer as soon as possible as this could cause an unnecessary delay in the process.

Make sure you check your emails and phone for messages from your conveyancer notifying you of an important update or requesting vital information from you. The quicker that you respond to your conveyancer, the speedier the whole process will be.

PCS Legal suggest to speed up the conveyancing process, “complete and return the initial documents to your conveyancer as quickly as you can. We understand that the forms are fairly lengthy and take up a lot of time but the quicker we receive the paperwork, the quicker we can get to work on the transaction.”

  1. Don’t be Afraid to Chase your Conveyancer

Your conveyancer will have other clients to deal with as well as you, which could cause a delay in the process sometimes. Don’t be afraid to keep chasing your conveyancer for important updates on your conveyancing case.

When you email them, copy in everyone involved in the process including the seller and their conveyancer, and even the estate agent. This will put pressure on your conveyancer to stop dragging their feet in front of the other people included in the email.

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