First Time Buyer Advice 

Buying your first home can seem daunting as well as exciting, with finance to be arranged and the conveyancing process to be gone through. It is important to avoid delays wherever possible to reduce the risk of your purchase falling through. To help you understand how everything works, below is our first time buyer advice to ensure that your transaction goes smoothly from the start. 

At Lockings Solicitors, we regularly help first time buyers onto the property ladder, providing advice and representation during the conveyancing process. We have many years of experience and our expert conveyancing lawyers are able to resolve difficulties promptly where necessary. 

We know that you will have lots of questions and we will make sure that we are available to answer them as needed. We will always keep you updated as to the progress of your purchase and let you know what you can expect to happen next.  

We will provide a full breakdown of the costs at the outset, including expenses such as search fees and the Land Registry’s fee for registering the property into your name once your purchase has been completed. 

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have at this stage. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire and York area.

We are on the panels of approved solicitors of all major mortgage lenders and hold the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation in recognition of our high levels of legal competence, risk management and client service. 

First time buyer advice 

Our first time home buyer advice covers a range of issues, from finance to researching the property market and dealing with the conveyancing process. While buying your first home may seem complicated, we can guide you through it step by step, making it as straightforward and stress-free as possible.  

Check your credit score 

If you will be obtaining a mortgage, your lender will check your credit score with one of the main credit agencies, usually Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. It is advisable to check with each agency to make sure that the details they hold for you are correct. This will give you time to appeal any mistakes and have them corrected. 

If you feel that your credit score could be improved, you can take steps to do this. Actions you can take include: 

  • Make sure you are on the electoral roll, which agencies use to verify addresses 
  • Don’t apply for substantial credit right before you intend to apply for a mortgage 
  • Pay your bills and credit card balances on time 
  • Try not to use more than 30% of your available credit 
  • Make sure you have at least one credit card that you use regularly and pay off, so that lenders can see that you can manage a credit facility well 
  • Close unused credit cards and store cards 
  • Close joint accounts or joint credit cards that you hold with anyone who does not have a good credit rating, as their poor rating will affect your score 
  • Don’t change addresses if you can avoid this  
  • Don’t use your credit card at an ATM because credit agencies may feel that this is an indication you are not managing your funds particularly well 

Secure a mortgage 

It is a good idea to look for a mortgage before you find the property you want to buy. You will need to work out how much you can realistically pay back each month, taking into account potential increases in both your outgoings and mortgage payments. 

An independent mortgage broker will be able to advise you on the best type of mortgage for your circumstances and find you a beneficial deal. You can then approach the lender and ask them for a mortgage decision in principle. 

You will need to provide them with some of your financial information and they will let you know whether they are prepared to lend to you and, if so, how much. You will still need to go through the formal application process once you have found a property to buy, but having a mortgage decision in principle is an advantage when it comes to making an offer on a potential home. It shows the seller that you have already done some of the work and that you are serious about buying. 

Ask a conveyancing solicitor to represent you 

It is also recommended that you line up a conveyancing lawyer to represent you at an early stage. If you contact us, we can let you have the initial paperwork for completion, which can cut down the time taken to get going once you find a property to buy. 

We have a secure online portal that you can use if you wish. Clients often prefer this option as it is quick and easy to use and the information you provide us with will be received instantly. 

We can also go through all of the costs with you at this stage. As well as the legal costs, you will need to pay a number of other expenses, including search fees and the Land Registry’s fee. If you are buying a more expensive property, you may need to pay Stamp Duty and we can advise you whether this is the case. 

We will open a file so that as soon as you have an offer accepted and we receive the contact package, we are ready to start work straightaway. Avoiding delays wherever possible will substantially reduce the risk of a transaction falling through.  

Find your first home 

Your first property will be an investment as well as your home, so it is worth taking the time to do some research before making an offer. 

Points you can check include: 

  • Average house prices for your chosen area and nearby areas 
  • Transport links 
  • The Ofsted rating of local schools 
  • Noise and traffic at different times of the day, to include rush hour, school pick-up times and in the evenings 
  • Whether any nearby areas or properties are being developed or are likely to be developed 
  • Whether the area is at risk of flooding, which can be checked on the government’s website 
  • Crime figures for the area 

Arrange for a survey 

Once you have had an offer accepted and everyone in the chain (if there is one) is ready to start the conveyancing process, you are strongly advised to have a survey carried out. Your lender will value the property, but this is not the same as a survey and will not necessarily reveal problems. 

There are different types of surveys available and which one is most suitable will depend on the age and condition of the property. If you are buying an older property, a property of unusual construction or a property that needs work, it is generally recommended that you have an in-depth survey carried out. 

The first time buyer conveyancing process 

We are used to guiding first time buyers through the conveyancing process and if you ask us to represent you, we will make sure we provide you with the help you need throughout. 

The main stages in the conveyancing process are as follows: 

  • The seller sends us the contract package 
  • You apply for a mortgage and arrange a survey 
  • We apply for searches and send the seller’s solicitors any enquiries we may have 
  • We receive your mortgage offer 
  • We receive search results and replies to enquiries and report to you on the property 
  • You sign the contract and the mortgage deed and let us have the deposit in readiness for exchange of contract 
  • We liaise with you and your seller’s solicitor to agree on a completion date 
  • We exchange contracts and pay a deposit of up to 10% to the seller’s solicitor; the completion date is fixed 
  • We order your mortgage advance in readiness for completion and carry out the last pre-completion checks 
  • We provide you with a completion statement 
  • You provide us with any balance of funds we need to complete 
  • On the day of completion, we forward the rest of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitors. Once they have this, they will ring the estate agent and confirm that the keys to your new home can be released to you 
  • After completion has taken place, we will arrange for registration of your purchase and mortgage with HM Land Registry 

We will stay in touch with you throughout the whole process, keeping you up to date with what is happening and letting you know if we need anything from you. In addition, you can always call us if you have questions or concerns. 

Contact our East Yorkshire and York area first time buyer solicitors 

If you are thinking of buying your first home, we would be delighted to represent you. 

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have at this stage. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire and York area.

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