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Conveyancing First Time Buyer FAQ’s

Conveyancing Residential



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So, you’re ready to buy your first home. Buying a property for the first time can be a little daunting but it’s worth being armed with all the knowledge you need to make the process as seamless as possible.

At Hibberts Solicitors, our Conveyancing experts have answered these frequently asked questions which should help to prepare you for the big move.

What paperwork do I need?

A sure-fire way to progress your move quickly is to make sure you have all your documentation ready to go. It helps to have a checklist set up so you can ensure you’re prepared.

You need:

A photo ID (passport or drivers license) AND proof of address (for example a utility bill or bank statement but they must be no older than three months).

Proof of your deposit.

Mortgage offer

Hibberts are now able to verify your identity and proof of funds securely via your mobile phone to make the process quicker and more convenient for you.

If you are receiving a gift towards your deposit please confirm to your conveyancer at the outset as ID and proof of funds will be needed from the party providing the gift.

What is the difference between a Survey and Searches?

When you are buying a property with a mortgage, you will need to have a survey and searches carried out.

A survey will be carried out by your mortgage company or a property surveyor and looks at the valuation and condition of the property. There are several different types of surveys ranging from a basic valuation to a full structural survey. You will be required to pay a fee for the survey and the cost increases depending on the type of survey you choose.

Searches are carried out by your conveyancer. The most common searches are: –

Local Search – this search is carried out at the local council and looks at whether there are any planning permissions, building regulations approvals granted in respect of the property. A local search will detail if there are any rights of way affecting the property and whether the road fronting the property is private or maintained by the Council.

Drainage and Water – this search looks at whether the property is connected to mains water and the public sewers as well as looking at the location of any drainage pipes within the boundary of the property.

Environmental – this search investigates if the property is in a flood risk area, or has been built on potentially contaminated land.

How much are solicitors’ fees for buying a house?

We charge a fixed fee based on the value of the property that you are purchasing. The fee will include the costs of searches and the Land Registry fees. If you are simply looking for an idea of costs please contact us and we can give you an idea of fees based on the estimated purchase price.

If you are ready to make an offer on a property, please contact us for a full detailed breakdown of fees for your transaction.

You will be required to pay an upfront fee to cover the cost of searches. The remainder of the fees will be due on completion.

Do I have to pay stamp duty as a first-time buyer?

If you are a first-time buyer in England you will pay no stamp duty on a purchase price up to £300,000.00. For any property between £300,000.00 and £500,000.00, you will pay stamp duty at 5% of the purchase price in excess of £300,000.00. Where the purchase price is more than £500,000.00 then there will be no stamp duty relief and stamp duty is payable at the usual rates.

If you are purchasing a property in Wales then there is no relief for first-time buyers and you will pay the usual land transaction tax rates which apply for all properties starting at £180,000.00.

What is the difference between exchange and completion?

When all searches and surveys have been completed and all parties are happy to proceed, the matter can move to exchange of contracts. This is an important part of the process where the purchase becomes legally binding and a completion date is set. Up until exchange, either party can withdraw from the transaction without penalty.

You will be required to pay a deposit on exchange. The deposit is usually 10% of the purchase price.

The completion date is the date that the balance of the purchase price is to be paid to the seller’s solicitors and the property legally becomes yours.

How long does the process take? 

This will depend on the position of each seller and buyer in the chain but we estimate between 4-8 weeks for a normal transaction.

If the property that you are buying is empty and you have a mortgage in place the transaction can complete relatively quickly.

If there is a lengthy chain involved in the transaction then the process can take a little longer as each party will need to arrange surveys, mortgages and then all agree on the same completion date.

Why choose Hibberts?

A dedicated member of our conveyancing team will have conduct of your file from start to finish. We do not work in conveyancing groups and as such you will be given the name and number of one Conveyancer that you will deal with throughout your purchase. There is no having to chase around for an update or being passed between different people.

Hibberts do not pay referral fees – referral fees are paid by some solicitors and licensed conveyancers to an estate agent so that the agent refers work to them. This can lead to a higher fee being charged to you to cover the cost of the referral fee. Solicitors or licensed conveyancers who pay referral fees usually take on a higher volume of cases, therefore, leading to potential delays. As we do not charge referral fees, we can offer a competitive fee and a quick, personal service.

We use official searches and currently, Cheshire East searches are back within 24-48 hours. Some Conveyancers are tied into using personal searches which can often lead to lengthy delays.

Need more help and advice? Our Conveyancing Solicitors can guide you through the process. For more information, visit us at www.hibberts.com or email enquiries@hibberts.com


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