Lewis Nedas Law's property lawyers appreciate the daunting nature of stepping on to the property ladder. Clients are subject to language/terms they may never have heard before and feel that they should know what it all means (but don’t.) Here at Lewis Nedas clients are reassured that there is no such thing as a ‘silly question’ when you are about to make the biggest financial commitment of your life! We are here to help and to guide you along the way.
We hope that the guide below will assist, helping you to understand the process required for first time buyers to get onto the property ladder.
Make an appointment with a mortgage adviser to find out what price range you will be looking at and the deposit you require. Ask the mortgage adviser what you will need to take with you to the meeting; usually your passport (or other photo identity), wage slips or proof of income, bank statements and details of any loans or outgoings are required.
Find a Property!
Estate agents and online searches are the most popular methods. However, if you choose to attend an auction please contact this firm first.
Before making an offer on a property make sure you have taken into account: stamp duty, solicitors’ fees, valuation fees, survey fees, moving costs, service charges, ground rent, insurance, mortgage application costs and the first mortgage payment.
Make an Offer
This should be based on your opinion of the property, any works that will need to be carried out, your budget, and sometimes it doesn’t hurt to try your luck! Any offer should be made through the estate agent. Do not enter into negotiations directly with the seller.
Contact Lewis Nedas' Property Lawyers
If your offer is accepted then it is time to contact Lewis Nedas. We will ask for your full contact details, details of the property you intend to purchase and the name of your mortgage provider. We will then send you our Client Care and Terms of Business Letter which incorporates our quotation for the work. You will be asked to make a payment on account so that we can order the searches (see below) and get the ball rolling.
Go Back to Your Lender
Let your lender know that you have found a property and provide them with our details. The lender will then arrange for a valuation to be carried out. This means that a surveyor attends the property to ensure that it is worth (at least) the amount that you are asking to borrow. This is not a full survey that tells you about the condition of the property. Your mortgage application will now be in progress. As soon as the application has been completed a copy of the offer will be released to this office and to you.
The estate agent will provide this firm with details of the proposed purchase/sale. This includes the parties name(s), the name of the seller solicitor, the property address, the purchase price and any agreed price for furniture/washing machines etc.
Searches & Enquiries
We will request all the appropriate searches. This usually takes a week or two. Searches usually cost between £200 and £400 and is a requirement of mortgage lenders. The searches provide details of planning permission, contaminated land, building regulations, parking restrictions, road building and much more.
It is a good idea to look for a suitable Building Insurance policy from quite early on as this will give you time to compare products. Your mortgage lender will insist on certain requirements (which vary between lenders) and so please contact this office before agreeing to a particular policy. Life insurance and a will are other very important matters that you should consider. Lewis Nedas offers a will writing service.
A full survey is strongly advisable as it will provide you with a far better understanding of the condition of the property. You are of course free to appoint any surveyor you wish but your lender and/or this office may be able to assist.
We will send you a detailed report on the property pulling together the results of all the searches, the terms of your mortgage, documents you need to sign and any other relevant information. You can look through this at your own pace and keep a copy for your reference.
Feel free to raise any questions you have, whether it is a question for us or a question of the seller. It is best to put these questions in writing or email so that we can deal with each in turn. Do not raise questions of the seller through the estate agent as you will not be able to rely on the responses.
Once all questions have been answered and you have confirmed that you wish to proceed with the purchase you will be asked to sign the contract. You are not bound by the contract until contracts are exchanged.
Exchange of Contracts
At this point you will need to pay a deposit to the seller, usually 10% of the purchase price. These funds must be cleared in our account at least the day before exchange. A completion date is agreed and contracts are exchanged. It is only at this point that you are legally bound to buy the property. Please note that your building insurance policy is likely to need to take effect on the day that contracts are exchanged.
We will carry out the remaining searches and provide you with a completion statement which shows the exact amount required to complete the purchase. Again, these funds will have to be cleared in our client account before completion. We will request your mortgage advance from your lender.
On the completion date we organise the transfer of money to the sellers solicitor and as soon as they confirm receipt you will have completed. The keys are usually left with the estate agent and you can collect them. The property is yours!
We will apply to Land Registry to have the title of the property transferred to your name and for your mortgage to be registered. A copy of the amended title and all original documents will be returned to you.
Contact our Residential Property Solicitors in London
For further information on how you, as a first time buyer, can get onto the property market, please speak to our residential conveyancing solicitors by telephoning us on 020 7387 2032, by completing our online enquiry form, or by contacting Richard McConnell. If you'd like a free conveyancing quotation, please complete our conveyancing quotation form here.