A Guide To: First Time Buying
remortgaging for property & conveyancing

A Guide To: First Time Buying

Buying your first home can be a long and complicated process. We aim to be a helping hand for you throughout the first time buying process, from clarifying the procedure to carrying out actions that will lead to you turning the key to your very first home.

We’ve collated a handy timeline of the process to clarify every step that will lead you to owning your own home from Help to Buy ISAs to HM Land Registry.

The first step that most people take when looking to purchase a property is saving. If you’re using a Help to Buy ISA to save for your first home then the Government will boost your savings by 25%. This means that for every £200 you save the Government will give you £50 extra towards your savings.

The maximum Government bonus that you can receive is £3,000. Note that the deadline for opening a Help to Buy ISA has now closed so you’ll need a pre-existing account to receive this Government bonus.

Once you’ve considered how you’ll fund your deposit the process is usually as follows:

  • You’ll need to visit a mortgage advisor/lender to get a mortgage offer in principle.

  • Once your offer has been accepted on a property, contact Tinsdills to obtain a quote for conveyancing services.

  • Provide the estate agents with your Solicitor’s details.

  • Once the memorandum of sale has been produced by the estate agents your Solicitor will forward a ‘client care pack’ to you including their terms of business and outlining the next steps in the conveyancing process.

  • If you are having a mortgage a survey will be required which you will arrange with your mortgage provider. You can choose from a basic survey or something more in-depth like a Homebuyer’s Survey. 

  • Following the results of your survey, if you are happy to proceed with the purchase, then you can complete and return the client care pack to your Solicitor. You will also need to produce your ID and make payment of money on account of searches. 

  • The four standard searches that will usually be required for lending purposes will be a Local Authority Search, Environmental Search, Drainage Search and a Mining Search although this will depend on the location of the property.
  • If you are having a gifted deposit, details will need to be provided of the person gifting funds together with ID and proof of where the funds are coming from (e.g. bank account/savings passbook). Your Solicitor will explain their requirements to you.

  • Your mortgage lender will issue a formal mortgage offer to you when they have completed their checks. The mortgage lender will issue a separate copy of the mortgage offer together with details of their instructions in relation to your purchase to your Solicitor.

  • Your Solicitor will obtain and check the contract pack from the Seller’s Solicitor, request the appropriate searches and raise enquiries on the title.

  • Your Solicitor will then review the replies to the enquiries raised, review the search results and deal with any legal requirements on your mortgage offer and survey.

  • When your Solicitor has concluded their investigations they will report to you on the title and their findings in relation to the property. You will then be asked to make an appointment to come in to see your Solicitor to discuss your purchase in more detail and sign the necessary paperwork. At the meeting your Solicitor will discuss a completion date with you and once this date has been agreed with the Seller’s Solicitor your Solicitor will request the deposit from you.

  • If you are using a Help to Buy ISA your Solicitor will explain the bonus drawdown process to you and provide you with a declaration to sign confirming that you are a first time buyer. You will need to close your Help to Buy ISA account near to the completion date and provide your closing statement to your Solicitor.

  • Your Solicitor will use this declaration, together with the closing balance statement, to apply for your HTB bonus from the Government Help to Buy portal. The bonus money will be held on your client account until we are ready to complete your purchase.
  • You should note the bonus cannot be used as part of your deposit but can be used as the final contribution towards the purchase price on completion. Further details can be found at the following link; https://www.helptobuy.gov.uk/help-to-buy-isa/how-does-it-work/

  • When a completion date has been agreed your Solicitor will submit the Certificate of Title to your mortgage lender confirming that the legal requirements have been satisfied. Your Solicitor will request the mortgage advance to be released in readiness for completion. You will be asked to pay any balance funds due including your legal fees and Stamp Duty Land Tax (if applicable) prior to completion.

  • When all parties are ready Contracts are exchanged, your deposit is paid and the agreed completion date then becomes fixed. You will be asked to arrange buildings insurance for the property from the date of exchange of Contracts.

  • The mortgage advance will be sent from your mortgage lender to your Solicitor in readiness for completion.

  • Your Solicitor will undertake the pre-completion searches and completion will then take place on the arranged date. You will be informed when the keys are ready for you to collect from the estate agents.

  • On your behalf your Solicitor will then make payment of the Stamp Duty Land Tax (if applicable) to the Inland Revenue. Your Solicitor will then register you as the new owners of the property at H M Land Registry. This can take up to 6 months due to H M Land Registry timescales.

  • Once the registration is completed a copy of the updated title will be forwarded to you showing you as the registered owner of the property. You will have successfully purchased your first property.
first time buying for a new home

Throughout the whole first time buying process you’ll have your dedicated team at Tinsdills on hand for clarification and assistance. Our aim is always to deliver clarity and confidence while you take life’s biggest steps. Feel free to contact us today by calling 01782 652300, or dropping us an email at lawyers@tinsdills.co.uk.

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