Guide for First Time Buyers


Purchasing your first property is an exciting milestone, but for some, it can also feel extremely daunting. For most people, a house is a significant investment, and it is important to find the right one.

Instructing an experienced conveyancing solicitor can ensure your moving process is as seamless as possible and help prevent delays.

In this article, we discuss the conveyancing process for buying your first property, the searches and surveys you may come across and what additional costs are involved.

While we hope this article will be helpful, every situation is unique, so this should not be taken as legal advice. If you need any further guidance our residential property solicitors will be happy to support you further.

To speak to one of our experts, please contact us today by calling 0800 1584147, emailing or requesting a call back.

What is the process for buying your first property?

The process of buying a property can seem complex if you haven’t been through it before, however, your solicitor will be able to provide you with the necessary guidance to ensure it goes smoothly.

Purchasing a property typically involves several key steps.

Firstly, obtain a mortgage agreement in principle as this will assist in showing your commitment when you offer on a property. Once you have had an offer accepted on a property you can then apply for your mortgage.

Next, instruct a solicitor to act for you in your purchase.

Your mortgage lender will carry out a valuation survey on the property, but this survey won’t cover any potential problems such as damp or structural issues. You may wish to consider instructing a surveyor to carry out a comprehensive survey to ensure you know as much as possible about the condition of the property.

Your solicitor will carry out essential searches, such as land registry and local authority searches, to ensure there are no hidden issues with the property.

Once your solicitor has completed the legal process and investigated the title it will be time to agree a date to complete and exchange contracts! This is the point where you will be legally committed to buying the property. If you were to withdraw at this stage, there is a chance that you would lose your deposit.

Next book your removal company and start packing!

Following completion of your purchase you will need pay the relevant taxes, such as Stamp Duty Land Tax (excluding properties up to £425,000 for first-time buyers).

Preparing, reviewing, and exchanging contracts between the buyer and seller legally solidifies the terms of the transaction.

The final step is registering yourself as the new owner of the property with the Land Registry which documents your ownership rights and finalises the purchase process.

Following these steps can help you navigate the complexities of purchasing a property and ensure your purchase is legally documented.

What searches and surveys will I need when buying a property?

When buying a property, several searches and surveys are required by your mortgage lender. These could include:

  • Local authority searches which provide information on planning permissions, building regulations, and any proposed developments in the area.
  • Water and drainage searches to confirm the property’s connection to mains water and sewerage systems, highlighting any potential issues like flooding risks.
  • Environmental searches which reveal if the property is situated on contaminated land or within a flood risk zone, offering insights into potential environmental hazards.

Other surveys are optional and your solicitor can advise on whether they think it is in your best interests to have them.

A structural survey may be necessary to assess the condition of the property’s physical structure, identifying any hidden defects or structural issues.

By conducting these searches and surveys, you can make an informed decision, mitigate any risks that may come up in the future, and ensure the property purchase meets your expectations and requirements.

What costs are involved in buying a property?

When buying a property, various costs are involved beyond the deposit and purchase price.

You will need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to carry out the legal work involved in purchasing a property.

There will be costs involved in obtaining your mortgage such as a valuation fee, surveyors fee and possibly a broker fee.

You may be liable to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax. Currently any first-time buyer purchasing a property worth £425,000 or less will not have to pay SDLT.

There are also Land Registry fees, covering the legal registration and transfer of the property into the new buyer’s name.

Understanding and budgeting for these costs is crucial for buyers to ensure a smooth and financially viable purchase.

Get in touch with our residential property solicitors in Gloucester

For help with any aspect of residential property law in Gloucester, Cheltenham, the Forest of Dean or anywhere in Gloucestershire, please contact us today by calling 0800 158 4147, emailing us at or requesting a call back.

To contact us please call 0800 158 4147 or 03330 145451 or email

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