National Conveyancing Week: Tips for First-Time buyers


National Conveyancing Week: Tips for First-Time buyers

This week (11–15 March 2024) is National Conveyancing Week (NCW) in the UK. The purpose of NCW is to raise the profile of conveyancing in the country. Supporters hope that educating the public about the role conveyancers play in property sales and purchases will ensure fees can be set and kept at an acceptable level.

Bookers & Bolton is proud to support the national event and are keen to get involved in whatever way we can!

In this blog, conveyancer Gabriella Rinaldi-Clarke looks at some of the key stages of the conveyancing process and gives some inside information to first-time buyers on how to best handle a property purchase.

Mortgage. If you are obtaining a mortgage, it is a good idea to obtain a decision in principle before putting an offer in on a property. This shows estate agents you are committed to the purchase and have passed your lender’s affordability checks. It will also give you an indication of how much you can borrow so the estate agent can show you properties within your budget.

Lifetime ISA (LISA)/Help to Buy ISAs. Ensure you have your LISA or Help to Buy ISA account details to hand as your solicitor will need to contact them closer to completion to withdraw the funds on your behalf. With Help to Buy ISAs, you can keep paying into them until we have agreed a completion date. At this point we will ask you to close the account so we can withdraw the funds.

Survey. We always recommend you have a survey carried out by a surveyor (an estate agent may have good recommendations for a surveyor that you can use) as in conveyancing we follow the principle of caveat emptor which means the buyer is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of the property before a purchase is made.

If any defects are discovered after the exchange of contracts, you will have no recourse against the sellers. Your lender (if you are having a mortgage) will carry out a basic valuation survey. However, this is purely for their own purposes to ensure the property meets their lending criteria and is worth the asking price you are paying. Most of the time, the survey will not be detailed or comprehensive. There are different levels of surveys you can have carried out, and a surveyor will be able to advise on these. Surveys are not compulsory unless your lender requires it to lend, however we strongly advise you have one carried out.

Gifted deposits. Please ensure you inform your lender at the beginning of the process if you are receiving gifted deposits. We also need to inform them later during the transaction. Failure to do so could cause delays and, in certain circumstances, they may withdraw their offer if they do not accept the terms of the gift.

Return of documents: Mortgage deed (if applicable), contract and TR1. A lot of the documentation we require you to complete can be signed and completed electronically and remotely. However, there are some documents we require you to return in hard copy form.

These are the mortgage deed (if applicable), contract and TR1 (transfer). These documents need to be physically signed and returned to us via post. If you do not have a printer, please let us know and we can arrange to post the documents to you or have them printed for you to collect from reception. When returning documents, we ask you to sign promptly to avoid delays.

Witnesses for documents. A witness for the mortgage deed and TR1 can be anyone over the age of 18 who is not a family member, spouse or in any way financially involved in the property. A colleague, neighbour or friend can sign as a witness. If you require a member of our team to witness the documents for you, this can also be arranged.

What we require for gifted deposits:

If you are receiving gifted money towards the purchase of your property, we require certain information from the giftor. This includes:

  • One form of address ID and one form of signature ID (we can provide a list outlining the forms of ID documents we accept). We can also send an electronic ID and AML check for the giftor to complete these checks remotely.
  • Bank statements dated within the past three months showing evidence of the gifted deposit in the giftor’s account, and evidence of how these funds have accumulated. For example, if via wages we will require six months of payslips evidencing the income.
  • A letter from the giftor stating the following:
    • The amount of money they are gifting.
    • If there are any conditions to the gift, for example if it is repayable or to be secured on the property by a second charge.

We recommend independent legal advice is obtained by the giftor prior to gifting the funds.

Most lenders will only accept gifts made by immediate family members, such as a parent or grandparent.

For more tips for first-time buyers, download our free guide by clicking here.

Conveyancing Solicitors Alton and Hampshire

If you are looking to buy a property, and want some advice about the conveyancing process, please contact Bookers & Bolton. Our team of specialist conveyancing solicitors provide outstanding property advice on all stages of a house sale or purchase.

We have a 100-year history as a law firm and are proud to serve our local community of Alton, Hampshire and beyond.

Our residential conveyancing team will advise you on all types of residential property transactions for both leasehold and freehold properties, including:

  • Sale and Purchase of Freehold and Leasehold Properties.
  • First-time buyers.
  • Buy to Let.
  • Help to Buy.
  • Shared Ownership Schemes.

To speak to a member of the team, call 01420 82881 or email

For more information about our services, accreditations and the team members involved, please visit our Residential Conveyancing Page.

If you instruct us to help with your legal matter, you can track your matter in real time via our app. Click here to download it from the App Store or get it on Google Play by clicking here.

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