A quick guide for first time buyers


Buying a home can be 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.

In the unfortunate event that you suffer from either gazumping or gazanging, you’ll probably lose a lot of money, especially if this occurs just before the point of exchange. Typically, both your conveyancing specialist and surveyor will have carried out a lot of work, costing you both your precious time and money. All you can do is act quickly when it comes to finalising the offer and exchanging of the contracts. This will probably involve working with your solicitor and mortgage lender to speed things up.

Finding a mortgage and doing all the checks

If 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

This could be a solicitor, legal executive or a licensed conveyancer. They’ll handle all the legal aspects of your transaction. You will be provided with updates along the way together with support in what is likely to be a stressful process. The key matters to be dealt with by your conveyancing specialist will be:

It’s an important role, so choose carefully.

Top Tip: Budget up to £1,500 for hiring a conveyancing specialist.

It’s recommended that you find a legal expert who is familiar with conveyancing early on. This makes the process a whole lot smoother and helps to ensure everything goes through as quickly as possible.

Jeni Smith

Conveyancing Executive
Residential Property

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