First Time Buyers UK

If you are a first time buyer in the UK, you probably have many questions about the process. We take a look at how it works, answer some frequently asked questions and list our top tips for first time buyers.

At Lockings Solicitors, we have been helping first time buyers in East Yorkshire onto the property ladder for many years. We know that buying a house or flat can be stressful and we will do all we can to make sure that the transaction goes smoothly.

We work proactively to complete as quickly as possible and use our extensive experience to resolve any problems without delay. We provide an excellent service and many of our clients come to us each time they move and refer family members to us. They have also taken the time to write more than 700 five-star reviews.

We will make sure you understand exactly what will be happening at each stage of your purchase and give you clear information about the process and the timescales. Our pricing is fair and transparent as well as being all-inclusive.

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have. 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 we deal with conveyancing in East Yorkshire and beyond.

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.

What is the house purchase process for first time buyers UK?

  • The first step is usually to work out how much you can comfortably afford and look for the right mortgage lender. A broker will be able to help you find the best deal if you need help with this. They will also be able to advise you on the amount you may be able to borrow. Once you have chosen a lender, you should apply for a mortgage decision in principle. This will let you know how much the lender is prepared to lend to you, based on your income and spending.
  • You can also approach a conveyancing solicitor at this stage. If you ask us to represent you, we will let you have the initial paperwork for completion. Many of our clients like to deal with this using our secure online portal for speed and convenience.
  • Once you find a property to buy and you have had an offer accepted, you can give our details to the estate agent. They will send us the details of the seller’s solicitor.
  • You can now send off your formal mortgage application.
  • You should ask a surveyor to carry out a survey of the property to check its condition and what maintenance might be necessary in the future.
  • The seller’s solicitor will send us the initial contract package. This will include legal details of the property, a plan showing the boundaries, replies to standard initial enquiries, information about which fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale and other information.
  • We will apply for searches and go through the paperwork, asking the seller’s solicitor any questions we have.
  • Once we have a response from the seller’s solicitor and search results, we can report to you on the property and obtain your signature to the contract. This will not become legally binding until exchange of contracts.
  • When we receive your mortgage offer, we will also ask you to sign the mortgage deed.
  • You will need to let us have cleared funds for the deposit.
  • We will liaise with you and the seller’s solicitor to agree on a date for completion.
  • Contracts can then be exchanged. You will be legally bound to complete the purchase once contracts have been exchanged and the date for completion will be set.
  • We will order your mortgage advance ready for the completion day and also carry out the final searches to check that no changes have been made to the legal title of the property.
  • We will give you a completion statement showing how much we will need from you in cleared funds.
  • On completion day, we will send the rest of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor. Once they receive this, they will telephone the estate agent and let them know that the keys to your first home can be handed to you.
  • After completion, the seller’s solicitor will send us the title deeds and we will register your purchase and your mortgage with HM Land Registry.

How long does a first time house purchase take?

This will largely depend on the rest of the chain, if there is one. It is often the case that as a first time buyer, you will be ready to exchange and complete fairly promptly. However, if there is a chain, then it is necessary to wait until everyone is ready.

We always keep in close touch with sellers’ solicitors and estate agents to ensure that matters are chased up where necessary and that we are informed of any potential delays.

How much deposit does a first time buyer need?

The minimum first time buyer deposit is usually 5%, although you are likely to find lower interest rates if you have 10% or 15% to put towards your purchase.

Top tips for first time buyers

1.      Check your credit score

As soon as possible, you should check your credit score with the major credit agencies. If there are any errors, this will give you time to have them corrected. You can also take steps to improve your score if necessary. The following may help:

  • Make sure you are on the electoral roll
  • Pay your credit card and other loan payments when they are due
  • Reduce your credit to around 30% of your available credit limit
  • Make sure you have a credit card that you use and pay off routinely to demonstrate that you are able to handle credit
  • Cut financial ties with anyone who does not have a good credit score

2.      Know how much you can afford – and stick to it

A mortgage broker will be able to advise you as to how much a mortgage will cost and how much you might comfortably be able to borrow. They will take your expenditure into account as well as any possible future rate rises to ensure that you don’t end up in a stressful situation.

3.      Research the property market in your chosen area


Take the time to understand what is available in the area where you would like to live. If it is a more expensive area, you may need to consider a smaller home or one that needs work, or you may be happier looking elsewhere for the space that you want. Studying the property market and getting to know the areas in which you are looking will help you find a home that ticks as many boxes as possible.

4.      Commission a survey

It is important to have a survey carried out to make sure that you know the condition of your new home. Don’t rely on the lender’s valuation, which will not be in-depth. If the survey reveals any problems, you may be able to negotiate a reduction in price to cover the cost of the work. It may be in the seller’s best interests to agree as it is likely that they would be asked to do this by any other buyer.

5.      Choose experienced conveyancers

Choosing the right conveyancers can be the difference between a successful purchase without undue delays and a difficult or even a failed transaction. Experienced solicitors will have dealt with almost every problem before and will have a sound understanding of how to resolve matters. If issues are not tackled promptly, it can sometimes mean that the seller will pull out of a transaction, frustrated by the lack of progress.

At Lockings Solicitors, we have the expertise to deal with problems effectively and a high success rate in dealing with even the most complex purchases.

Contact our East Yorkshire first time buyer solicitors

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

You can ring us for a FREE initial chat 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 deal with conveyancing in East Yorkshire and beyond.

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