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First-time buyer FAQs

What is a conveyancer?

A conveyancer, also known as a property lawyer or property solicitor, is a legal professional who completes all legal work when buying a house.

What does a conveyancer do for property purchases?

When buying property a conveyancer will arrange conveyancing searches, write up your contract, arrange an exchange and completion date with the seller and deal with the transfer of funds.

What’s the difference between leasehold and freehold?

These terms relate to the type of ownership the property is being sold with. A freehold property means that you own both the building itself and the land it’s on – it’s most common with a standard house purchase. Buying a leasehold means that you just have a lease from the freeholder – sometimes called the landlord – to use the property for several years. It’s most common if purchasing a flat.

What is Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and do I need to pay it?

SDLT is a government tax on property purchases, over certain price brackets, as a first-time buyer the property price bracket to start paying Stamp Duty is higher. Therefore, as long as you and anyone you’re buying with, are first-time buyers, you will pay 0% SDLT on the first £425,000 of the purchase price and 5% on the remainder up to £625,000.

How long does conveyancing take?

As a rough guide, you should be looking at around 16-20 weeks. However, if you’re involved in a chain, it’s not uncommon for the conveyancing process to take up to six months. Your conveyancer will give you a more accurate estimate once instructed, so be sure to ask them.

What documents will I need?

Initially you will need to provide proof of ID, such as a passport or driving licence, and proof of residence in the form of a bank statement/utility bill. You’ll also need a statement to say how much your mortgage provider will lend you.

What’s included in my fees?

Our quotes include legal fees – which are paid to your conveyancer for dealing with the legal process of your purchase – and disbursements. These are the costs your conveyancer will have to pay out on your behalf to third parties and include conveyancing searches, Land Registry Registration Services, money laundering checks and leasehold fees.

What are conveyancing searches?

Conveyancing searches are enquiries made by your conveyancer when buying a house. There are multiple searches you will need, and they look for different issues in the local area or with the property that may impact your purchase.

What are surveys?

When buying a house, your mortgage provider will carry out a valuation survey to check they’re willing to lend the amount requested. Once your offer is accepted, you can also arrange a homebuyer survey, which is a detailed inspection carried out on the property.

What Help to Buy schemes are there?

There are various Help to Buy schemes available for first-time buyers who are looking to get on the property ladder. These include 5% deposits, shared ownership schemes, Lifetime ISAs, Help to Build and the Deposit Unlock scheme.

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Move Specialist team

If you would like to discuss a quotation you have received please call our Move Specialists on

0333 234 4425

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Conveyancing team

If you would like to speak to someone about your case please call our Conveyancing Team on

0345 234 0230

Monday - Thursday