Homeward Legal conveyancing background
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First Time Buyer A - Z

A is for Arrangement Fee

The fee you will pay to a lender for setting up your mortgage, typically costing around £1,000 that will be outlined to you before you accept the mortgage offer.

B is for Building Survey

The type of survey you require for a property you are buying will depend on a number of factors, such as the age of the property and the demands of the mortgage lender. A building survey is an in-depth look at the building, ideally carried out by a member of the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors.

C is for Conveyancing (and also for Completion)

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of title in a property sale and refers to the whole process leading up to the exchange of contracts. Completion is when a sale transaction is signed and sealed.

D is for Deposit (and also for Disbursements)

First-time buyers will need to put down a deposit, starting from a minimum 5 percent of the purchase price. Disbursements are all the fees and taxes paid by your solicitor to other organisations as part of the conveyancing process; for example, search fees to local authorities.

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E is for Estate Agent)

Estate agents act as a broker in the sale of a property, marketing the house or flat on behalf of the vendor and being the main point of contact between buyer and seller.

F is Freehold (and also for Fixed Price)

Freehold is where you own a property and the land on which it's built outright with no third-party involvement. Fixed price may refer either to the value placed on a property by its vendor (most common in Scotland) or the conveyancing costs offered by Homeward Legal.

G is for Gazumping

Gazumping is when a buyer accepts your bid, only to later reject your offer for a higher bid from another buyer.

H is for HomeBuyers' Report (and also for Help-to-Buy)

The HomeBuyers' Report is a general survey for properties built after 1900, which also includes a valuation of the property. Help-to-buy refers to the variety of schemes promoted by the Government to encourage wider home ownership, often targeted at first-time buyers.

I is for Instruction (and also for ID)

Instruction is when you give a solicitor the go-ahead to act on your behalf in a transaction. You will have to provide proof of your ID when dealing with mortgage lenders and solicitors.

J is for Joint Mortgage

A joint mortgage is held between a minimum of two people, often but not exclusively a couple, but more commonly today also involving parents. Each party on a joint mortgage is equally responsible for ensuring monthly repayments on the mortgage are made.

K is for Knowhow

First-time buyers are often baffled by the ins and outs of the property market. Consulting experts with knowhow, such as the sales team at Homeward Legal, can simplify and clarify matters.

L is for Leasehold (and also for Lender)

Purchasing a leasehold property means you only own the property for a fixed period of time, which is the length of the lease. Leases usually run for long periods of time, but it's essential that you establish how long is left before buying and also if the lease can be renegotiated. Lender refers to building societies and banks who provide mortgages.

M is for Mortgage

The mortgage is the loan advanced to a buyer from a lender, which is repaid over a fixed period of time during which time the lender holds the property title.

N is for NHBC

Around 80 percent of newbuild properties in the UK come with a 10-year warranty from the National House Building Council (NHBC), which insists on strict standards of construction. Many mortgage lenders will insist on an NHBC warranty before lending on a newbuild.

O is for Offer

The start point of buying a property is making an offer, usually done by your solicitor to the vendor or to the estate agent marketing the property.

P is for Pre-contract Enquiries

Pre-contract enquiries are carried out by your solicitor to establish certain facts and information about the property you intend to buy, involving getting detail from the seller's solicitor and from the existing title.

Q is for Questions

Buying a property will invariably raise a lot of questions for a first-time buyer. Homeward Legal's expert sales team are on hand seven days a week to answer each and every query you might have.

R is for Rates

Rates refers to the interest charges imposed by a lender on a mortgage. These mortgage interest rates may be set for a number of years, known as a fixed rate, or a variable rate, which will rise or fall depending on the Bank of England's interest rate.

S is for Searches (and also for Stamp Duty)

Searches are the enquiries made by your solicitor or conveyancer from various authorities, covering local planning information, mining history and flood risk, among others. Stamp duty is paid on all properties over a certain price in England and Wales (in Scotland, a land transaction tax is paid). The current stamp duty levels are £125,000 for residential property and £150,000 for non-residential property and land.

T is for Title

Title is the legal term applied to ownership of a property.

U is for Under Offer

Under offer is a term used by estate agents to demonstrate that an offer has been made on a property but that the sale has not yet been completed.

V is for Valuation (and also for Vendor)

A valuation of a property may be made by a surveyor or by an estate agent but is simply their estimate and may not reflect the final sale price. A vendor is the person or persons selling the property, also known as the seller.

W is for Water

One of the essential searches carried out by a solicitor is into water and drainage around a property.

X is for Xchange

Once all contracts have been signed, the contracts will be exchanged and the sale is complete.

Y is for Yes

Yes is all you have to say to get your Homeward Legal journey underway.

Z is for Zero

Zero is the cost to you if your transaction doesn't complete, thanks to Homeward Legal's no-completion, no-fee guarantee. It's also the amount of Stamp Duty you'll have to pay as a first time buyer if the property is under £300,000!

If you're a first-time buyer, check out Homeward Legal's comprehensive First-Time Buyers' Hub where all your questions about purchasing for the very first time are covered in detail.​

Free Guides for First Time Buyers

Homeward Legal has put together some handy guides to help you with your first property purchase. Let us know if there is anything we've missed, and as ever, feel free to call 0800 038 6699

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