Getting yourself on the first rung of the property ladder is an exciting yet daunting time. You’ve worked hard, saved enough money to buy your own house, and you’re eager to get the keys. However, as a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to understand the conveyancing process.

Conveyancing is, essentially, the legal process that transfers ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. There a number of steps involved and, by getting to grips with these steps from the outset, you could potentially save yourself a lot of wasted time, effort and money.

Conveyancing explained in 5 simple steps

Buying a house and the conveyancing process

  1. Instruct a conveyancing solicitor

You’ve found your dream home and you’re ready to place an offer. The first thing you need to do is to find a conveyancing solicitor, such as St Helens Law, and instruct them to act on your behalf.

Be sure to do some research on the solicitors in your local area. You need to find a conveyancing service that is affordable, but it is also important to select a solicitor who is reputable, experienced and not too far away. If you need to provide identification or sign any documents, you can then quickly pop into the branch and prevent any unnecessary delays in the conveyancing process.

  1. Find a mortgage product

The second step in the conveyancing process is to scour the market and find the perfect mortgage product for you. Most mortgage providers will allow you to apply online, by phone or by visiting their branch and, having collected sufficient information, they will first offer an Agreement in Principle (AIP). This confirms the maximum amount of money they would be willing to lend you.

The AIP is checked by your solicitor, who will ensure all the relevant conditions are being met. If everything is ok, an offer can be placed, and a full mortgage application will be made. Your new mortgage provider will then arrange for a full survey to be completed on the property.

  1. The solicitor’s searches

Once a mortgage product is in place, your conveyancing solicitor will then request a number of searches, including a local authority search, a water search and an environmental search.

These are, essentially, an investigation – a way for your solicitor to find out more about the property. They can uncover important information (such as planning permission, ground quality and access rights) and may even reveal factors that would affect the property’s value. If any issues are found, you can either withdraw your offer or try to renegotiate the terms and cost of the sale. 

  1. Checking of the documents

Your conveyancing solicitor will then receive the ‘contract package’ from the seller’s solicitor. This package includes a number of legal documents – including a draft of the contract, the lease and leasehold – and detailed information regarding the property’s fixtures, fixings, and floor plan.

They will thoroughly examine the documents, and at this stage, they are able to raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor, clarifying anything that is unclear and resolving any issues.

  1. Exchange of contracts

The final stage of the conveyancing process is the exchanging of contracts. This is when you will be asked to sign the contract and pay your deposit and, as a result, it is the point at which the deal becomes legally binding. A completion date will be agreed upon and, when this date arrives, the remaining balance will be paid by your mortgage provider and you will be free to pick up the keys.

Getting keys at the end of conveyancing process

Property conveyancing at St Helens Law Solicitors

Here at St Helens Law, we understand that property conveyancing can be confusing – especially if you’re a first-time buyer! This is why we have a specialist team of conveyancing solicitors, who will guide you through the conveyancing process and ensure the transaction is as quick and hassle-free as possible. Further useful information can also be found in our online conveyancing guide.

If you’re ready to get on the property ladder and you’d like to find out more about our conveyancing services in St. Helens, please feel free to get in touch. Either call us today on 01744 454433 or send a message to info@sthelenslaw.co.uk and take that first step towards purchasing your first home.