First-Time Buyer Guide

Buying your first home is an exciting time. However, there are many things to consider when getting your foot on the property ladder.

Buying your first home is an exciting time. However, there are many things to consider when getting your foot on the property ladder. This guide is tailored for first-time buyers, particularly focusing on the details of residential conveyancing. Our aim is to simplify this process, ensuring you feel confident and informed every step of the way.

Understanding the Basics of Residential Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring ownership of property from one person to another. As a first-time buyer, it's crucial to understand this process, as it involves several key steps:

Instruction Phase: Once your offer on a property is accepted, it’s really important to instruct a conveyancing firm to begin the legal process.

Conducting Searches: Your solicitor will carry out various searches to identify any legal issues with the property. These include local authority searches, environmental searches, water authority searches, and more.

Reviewing Reports: After receiving the search results, your conveyancer will explain their findings and discuss any concerns.

Handling Mortgage Details: If you're obtaining a mortgage, your conveyancer will communicate with the lender to ensure all legal requirements for the mortgage offer are met.

Exchange of Contracts: This crucial stage legally commits you to buying the property. You'll also need to put down a deposit.

Completion: On the completion date, the balance of the purchase price is transferred to the seller, and you become the legal owner of the property.

Budgeting for Your Purchase

Budgeting correctly is essential. Remember to account for:

Government Schemes for First-Time Buyers

The UK government offers various schemes to help first-time buyers get onto the property ladder, such as Help to Buy and Shared Ownership. It's worth researching these options to see if you're eligible and if they can benefit you. We’d recommend looking at Money Helper for more information about government schemes.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

First-time buyers often face challenges like understanding legal terminology, affordability issues, or property chain complications. A reliable conveyancing solicitor can provide clarity on legal terms, offer advice on affordable housing schemes, and help navigate any complexities in the buying process.

The Importance of a Good Conveyancing Firm

A proficient conveyancing firm, like Clare and the team at Freers Askew Bunting, is invaluable. They guide you through legal procedures, handle paperwork, conduct necessary searches, liaise with various parties, and help address any issues that arise, ensuring a smooth transaction.

Step-by-Step Guide for First-Time Buyers

Find a Property: Identify a property that meets your needs and budget. It would be a good idea to find out how much you would be able to borrow by using a tool such as a mortgage calculator.

As mortgages can take some time to finalise, we’d recommend getting a ‘decision in principle’ from a mortgage lender. This sets out how much you would be able to borrow, as well as the interest rates you would pay. A decision in principle tends to last for 6 months, but be sure to check as some lenders may have different terms.

Make an Offer: Once you've found your ideal home, submit an offer through the estate agent, or house developer (if the property is a new build).

Appoint a Solicitor: Choose an experienced conveyancing solicitor. We’d recommend doing a bit of research by looking at independent review sites such as Review Solicitors.

Apply for a Mortgage: Secure a mortgage offer from a lender.

Property Valuation and Survey: Conduct a property survey to check for any issues. This is especially important if you are not buying a newly built home.

Legal Work and Searches: Allow your solicitor to perform the necessary legal work.

Exchange Contracts: Commit to the sale and set a completion date.

Completion: Finalise the purchase and collect your keys.

Post-Completion Formalities: Your solicitor will handle the final steps, including paying any Stamp Duty owed and registering you as the new property owner.


Buying your first home doesn't have to be overwhelming. With the right guidance and support, especially in the conveyancing process, you can navigate your way to becoming a homeowner with confidence. Remember, our team, led by Clare, is always ready to assist you with any queries or advice you may need regarding your first property purchase. Get in touch with our residential conveyancing team for expert assistance.

Email: Call: 01429 743300