Conveyancing - First time buyers advice
At Norrie Waite & Slater solicitors we want to ensure that you understand the Conveyancing process and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Before you start looking for a property it is advisable to speak to a bank or other lender about your mortgage. There is no point getting your heart set on a house if you are unable to borrow the required money.
The ideal approach is to talk to a lender to get what is called a ‘decision in principle’. This is where they will examine your earnings and other circumstances and tell you how much they are willing to lend to you. Once you have this you can then look seriously at the housing market knowing what you can afford.
Negotiating the purchase price
Being a first time buyer puts you in a position of strength. For a seller or their estate agent you are the ideal buyer as you are not involved in a chain. Chains can fall apart at the last minute leading to abortive transactions. Also, because you do not have a property to sell you are usually in a position to move quickly, which can be very attractive to sellers.
As a first time buyer the sellers know that the transaction will be straightforward with less likelihood of problems. Use this to your advantage when negotiating a price.
Remember to consider the additional expenses involved in buying a house. These include:
- Stamp Duty Land Tax – a tax payable to the government of properties over a certain value
- Conveyancing costs – contact us for a quote
- Surveys – see below
Surveys for first time buyers
When you are taking out a mortgage on a house the lender will carry out a valuation on the property. This is usually a superficial survey to ensure that the house is suitable to have a loan secured against it. This valuation is only done to protect the lenders investment and is not for your benefit. It will not show up anything but severe problems with the property.
As a first time buyer you have the option of having a survey done which will provide you with more detailed information about the property you want to buy, and it will highlight any problems with the property that you should be aware of.
A homebuyer’s survey will show up any major structural problems with the property and other issues which may cause you problems in the future.
A building survey, or full structural survey, is more detailed and is advisable on older properties or simply if you want greater peace of mind about the property you are buying.
These types of survey can be arranged through a chartered surveyor. They are an additional cost which you may feel is avoidable, however, they can often more than pay for themselves, for example, if they bring to light a problem which may lead to you not wanting to buy the property at all. Alternatively, if a survey does uncover a problem you can ask that the current owners rectify it before the sale, or you can use the information to help you to negotiate a lower purchase price.
Joint ownership with unequal deposits / unmarried couples
If you are an unmarried couple and are buying a property together, one of you may have a larger deposit than the other. It is becoming very common for family members to help out their children with house deposits due to the increasingly large deposits which lenders require since the credit crunch.
If one of you has a larger deposit to contribute to your new home, it is possible to protect this deposit in the event of separation. A declaration of trust, or trust deed, is a legal document which we can draw up which describes who has contributed what and also how this will be divided up on the sale of the property.
A declaration of trust can be tailor made to suit your circumstances. For example, it could indicate that a fixed sum is to be repaid to one party, or it could state that more than 50% of the property is owned by a single party.
Contact us for more information.
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Norrie Waite & Slater has secured membership to the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme - the mark of excellence for the home buying process.
We underwent rigorous assessment by the Law Society in order to secure CQS status, which marks the firm out as meeting high standards in the residential conveyancing process.