At Bird & Co, we believe that your first home-buying experience should be both exciting and stress-free.
Our expert team of conveyancing solicitors strive to deliver the best possible service for our first-time clients.
We can guide you through every step of your transaction and help you secure the property that best meets your needs.
Our priority is to make your first home purchase a positive and straightforward process.
Why choose Bird & Co for buying your first property in London?
- Specialist online services – So you can access our expertise from anywhere in the UK or internationally.
- Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation by the Law Society – So you can be confident of the first-time buyer conveyancing we offer.
- A modern, simple and efficient service – Making your first property purchase easier to manage and less stressful.
- Secure online systems – Keeping you and your money safe at every stage of your transaction.
- Direct access to the solicitor handling your case – So you can get prompt answers to any questions from someone who knows you and your transaction.
- Competitive fees with a clear quote upfront – See how much your first property purchase might cost by getting a no-obligation quote online.
Our solicitors for first time buyers’ expertise
Our solicitors for first time buyers in London have expertise in the property buying process, including:
- Securing a mortgage
- Carrying out any necessary searches and surveys
- Preparing, reviewing and exchanging contracts
- Paying relevant taxes
- Registering your property
Our fees for first time buyers
We offer a range of flexible fees for our first-time conveyancing services in London. This includes fixed fees for straightforward work, giving you an upfront estimate of the total cost. If additional fees are required to complete your transaction, your solicitor will let you know.
Other costs that are associated with the conveyancing process are called disbursements. Disbursements could include conveyancing searches or registering a property with HM Land Registry.
Your property transaction may also be affected by tax, such as Stamp Duty Land Tax or Capital Gains Tax. If this is the case, your solicitor will help you to calculate how much is owed and file the return with HMRC.
First time buyers FAQs
Who qualifies as a first time buyer?
A first time buyer is someone purchasing a residential property for the first time. If you've never owned a property before, you qualify as a first time buyer.
However, if you have owned a home previously, whether you sold it, lived with parents after selling, or separated from a partner with whom you had a joint mortgage, you are not considered a first-time buyer.
Inheriting a home instead of making a purchase also excludes you from being a first time buyer.
What is the process for buying a property for the first time?
The process of buying your first home involves several key steps.
The first step is to secure a mortgage. This typically begins with obtaining a Mortgage Agreement in Principle (AIP) to understand the amount you can borrow. Once you find a property, a formal mortgage application is submitted to the chosen lender.
Once you have submitted a mortgage application, carrying out necessary searches and surveys is essential. This could include local authority searches, environmental searches, and a property survey to identify any issues that might affect the value or safety of the property.
Preparing, reviewing, and exchanging contracts is the next stage of the process. This is where you will need a solicitor to handle the legal transaction. Contracts will be exchanged with the seller, legally binding both parties to the sale. During this phase, the completion date is agreed upon.
Paying relevant taxes, such as Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), is important at this stage. Your solicitor will help you calculate the tax based on the property's value.
After completion, the last step is to register your property. This is done with the Land Registry, officially recording you as the property owner.
How much money does a first time buyer need?
For a first time buyer, the main expense is paying the deposit and securing a mortgage for the property. Generally, first time buyers need a deposit ranging from 5% to 25% of the property's purchase price.
Typically, the larger the deposit, the better the mortgage interest rates are. Higher deposits reduce the lender's risk, making it more cost-effective for the borrower. While a 5% deposit is often the minimum required, aiming for a larger deposit can help you get better mortgage deals and potentially lower monthly repayments.
First time buyers should also consider other costs such as legal fees, property surveys, and Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for properties above a certain threshold.
What costs are involved in buying a property for the first time?
When purchasing a home, you will need to pay a Land Registry fee to obtain the title deeds. These deeds are documentation of the new owner and will be shared with your mortgage provider.
Property surveys are not a requirement but they are strongly recommended by most solicitors. Surveys help to identify any potential defects or issues within the property, which can save costs on future repairs.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is applicable when buying a property exceeding £125,000 in England and Northern Ireland. The SDLT amount varies based on the property's value, with higher property values incurring a higher Stamp Duty payment.
If the purchase doesn't go through, will I still have to pay legal fees?
Generally, if a home sale falls through, regardless of whether the buyer or seller pulls out, you will be liable for the solicitor's conveyancing fees. The amount you will need to pay will depend on how much work your solicitor has already completed.
However, some solicitors offer a no sale-no fee agreement, meaning there are no fees charged for their time if your sale does not complete.
It is advisable to speak with your solicitor before instructing them to establish how their fees are calculated.
How long does the first time buyer process take from offer to completion?
In a straightforward purchase, without the added complexity of selling a property at the same time, and if the seller doesn't have another property tied to the move, you can expect to complete within the 15-week national average once your offer is accepted. However, if you are involved in a property chain, it can be more difficult to predict a timeline.