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  • Writer's pictureAustin & Carnley Solicitors

Step by step guide to buying a home

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

Buying a home is an exciting time but it can be overwhelming, especially if you're a first-time buyer. Here is our summary of the steps to follow to buy a home.


1. First apply for a mortgage, and get an agreement in principle, so you know what your budget is.

2. Find a solicitor whose firm is part of the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme. Talk to your solicitor as early as possible in the process. A solicitor will act in your best interests and protect you if anything goes wrong. It's not worth taking risks – this may be the most expensive purchase you ever make.

3. Costs will vary between solicitors. You should check what costs you’ll have to pay if the sale falls through. If the sale is successful, you'll need to pay other expenses such as survey fees, stamp duty, land registry fees.

4. Once you feel confident that you’ve found your new home, make a verbal offer to the seller’s estate agent. If the seller accepts your offer, you’ll need to let the seller’s estate agent know who your solicitor is.

5. Once your offer has been accepted, you’ll need a mortgage offer from your lender. As part of the mortgage offer, you will receive the offer letter and conditions which you should read carefully. Your solicitor can explain these to you if there’s anything you don’t understand.

6. As part of the conveyancing process, your solicitor will make some enquiries to local authorities and other parties about the property you’re buying. These enquiries are commonly known as ‘property searches’.

7. You should ask a specialist surveyor to carry out a survey of the property you’re buying and highlight any problems, such as structural issues or damp.

8. Once you and the seller have agreed to go ahead with the sale and your solicitor has completed their enquiries and searches, you’ll both sign the contracts. Your solicitor will exchange the contract you have signed for the contract the seller has signed with the seller’s solicitor and transfer the deposit. At any time before exchanging contracts, you and / or the seller can decide not to go through with the sale. After exchanging contracts, the agreement is legally binding and the date for completion you have agreed is legally fixed. You could lose your deposit and have to pay other legal costs if you pull out of the sale after exchange of contracts.

9. Completion takes place when your solicitor transfers the purchase amount after deducting the deposit already paid to the seller’s solicitor. And you'll be the owner of your new home, and can collect your keys (usually around late lunchtime)


Call or email Austin & Carnley on 01525 372140 or reception@austinandcarnley.co.uk if you are thinking of buying a home, and we’d be delighted to help you.


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