Your Legal Guide to First-Time Home Buying

If you’re looking to take your first step onto the property ladder by purchasing your own house, you must be under the impression that it’s the most exciting thing ever, Yes, it is quite true, but you must also remember that it could also bring in an enormous amount of confusion and stress, especially that you’re inexperienced with how property purchases go. It's not always easy buying a home and numerous problems can occur during the process of buying or selling a property.

With conveyancing alone, you may find yourself in the middle of confusing terms and gruelling tasks, especially if you’ve chosen a rather incompetent conveyancer to instruct and act on your behalf.

To help you ease the confusion and pain of conveyancing that you will go through as your buy your first property, here’s a quick breakdown of the entire process that you can refer to.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring a property’s ownership from its current owner to the buyer. It involves registry of the property title and an assortment of documents to make sure that everything is compliant with the current laws and regulations. This process is carried out by licensed conveyancers or property solicitors, who are well versed and accredited to perform the tasks involved. Conveyancing also involves sound legal advice from the solicitors to their clients, to make sure that problems surrounding the purchase are 

addressed and the process is carried out in a timely manner.

How do I find a conveyancing solicitor?

Your estate agent will probably recommend one to you as they will most likely have close ties to at least one firm. Having said that, you could save yourself a small fortune by obtaining conveyancing quotes from comparison websites. Quotes can vary significantly, so it's worth shopping around to get the best price.

Property Search

One of the biggest responsibilities that your chosen conveyancer would take is conducting a thorough search of the property before any agreement to buy and sell is finalised.

A search is quite different from surveys, though. Surveys are done mainly to determine the value of the property and the problems on its structure. On the other hand, searches are thorough inspections of legal issues that could affect the transaction.

First and foremost, conveyancers should be able to determine whether the seller is legally eligible to proceed with the sale, and verify that the property does not have any pending legal issues that could stop the sale from proceeding. The search also involves checking whether there are restrictions or plans that the Local Authorities have in the area that could significantly affect your living conditions at present and in the future.

Exchange of Contracts

As soon as your conveyancer has completed the searches and the issues are addressed, completing your purchase comes into the picture. At this point. the sale-purchase contract is drawn, read, and signed each by your and the seller, and exchanged through your respective conveyancers. Once the contracts are signed and exchanged, both parties become legally bound to proceed with the transaction, and any backing out could cause legal issues and fines.


Once contracts are successfully exchanged, your conveyancer should work on the final phase until you get the keys to your house and move. This includes, but is not limited to arranging the deposit payment, arranging the transfer of mortgage funds to cover the purchase, payment of Stamp Duty, registering the property in your name at the Land Registry, and payment of Land Registry fees.