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A Brief Overview for First Time Buyers

Purchasing a property is a very exciting time but it can be a rather daunting experience for anyone who is not familiar with the conveyancing steps involved. We hope this guide will help make the process clearer and provide some guidance for the upcoming journey.

Finding a Solicitor

When choosing a firm of solicitors, we would recommend reading reviews of any potential law firm and, if possible, call to talk to someone in the department. It is best to feel confident that the person who will be handling your matter is going to be efficient, approachable and will provide guidance through the process in detail.

Instructing Your Solicitor

Instructing a law firm can be as simple as calling or emailing to confirm the firm’s instruction. Once a conveyancer has received this confirmation, they will be able to proceed to send out initial paperwork.

The paperwork will include terms of business, fact sheets, a conveyancing estimate, and an instruction form. It is important that the paperwork is completed and returned to the conveyancer as soon as possible, as this will allow them to review the information and raise whether any further information is needed.

At this stage, most firms will also ask for initial funds to be paid on account. This will be an initial fee and will often include the majority of charges for search fees.

Identification (ID) and Source of Funding

At the start of the conveyancing process, your conveyancer will need to confirm your identity. To do so, they will need to see one form of identification that proves your name (this is normally by way of photographic ID i.e. a passport or full driving licence) as well as proof of address (this is most commonly a bank statement or a utility bill, dated within the past three months).

They will also need to work out your funding arrangements. They will need to be able to see where the money has come from and how it has been sourced. They’ll usually ask for a set number of bank statements to begin with and request additional documents as required. Don’t worry – they’ll walk you through this bit!


If you are purchasing with a mortgage, both you and your conveyancer will receive a copy of the mortgage offer once it has been issued. It is very likely that your lender will also instruct your conveyancer to act on their behalf as well. This means that your conveyancer will have an obligation to report to both you and your lender in respect of the property.

Report on Title and Contract

Your conveyancer will provide you with a report which will detail all the relevant information; details on the property as well as the contract that you will enter into. The report will refer to any searches which have been carried out and any other documentation which has been collected. It is important that you read through the report and let your conveyancer know if you have any questions or concerns so they can explain in more detail or, if needed, carry out further investigation.

At the same time, they will also ask for you to sign the contract and ask for this to be returned to them. Signing the contract at this stage will not bind you into any agreement, it is simply so your conveyancer can be prepared and have the contract on file.

Help to Buy ISA – New Build Properties

If you have a Help to Buy ISA account, your conveyancer will need to apply for the bonus for you, so you will need to provide them with a copy of your Help to Buy ISA Statement and the First Time Buyer’s Declaration Form.

If you require funds from your ISA as your deposit, it is advisable to close the account down prior to exchange of contracts to ensure that you obtain the highest bonus possible. However, if you have other funds available for your deposit, you may prefer to keep your ISA open until the Developer confirms when completion will be.

When you are ready to close the ISA, you must contact your bank who will be able to provide the closing statement for the account. You will need to send this to your conveyancer who will handle the next steps and obtain the funds directly.

Please note, the Government Bonus cannot be used towards your deposit but it can be utilised for your completion.


When your conveyancer is nearing exchange, they will contact you to confirm a completion date and they will ask you to send them your deposit – this is normally 10% of the purchase price. They will also confirm your authority to proceed and will not exchange until they this.

Once exchanged, you will be legally bound to purchase the property.


The remaining funds will need to be provided to your conveyancer prior to completion – if this is by mortgage, they will arrange this directly with the lender. On the day of completion, these funds will be sent to your seller’s conveyancer. Once they have confirmed receipt, the keys will be released to you.

We hope that this guide will help to make the conveyancing process a little clearer and easier to understand. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns or issues regarding the process, or any other aspect of your purchase and we will try to help however possible.


If you would like to speak to a member of our Residential Conveyancing Department about purchasing you first home, contact us on:

Exeter 01392 285000    Cullompton 01884 33818     Newton Abbot 01626 330127

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