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A Guide for First-Time Buyers

Maureen Ross

I’ve agreed to buy my first property, but now what should I do?


So, you’re a first-time buyer – don’t panic – there are a few things that you will need to get sorted, but we’ve set out some basic guidance to help point you in the right direction and give an idea of what is required.

Guide for first time buyers - Steps for Buying a house

Sort Out Your Money

Apply for your mortgage and make sure your deposit is in an easy access account ready for exchange. Take a look at for some useful tips.

Speak to a Surveyor

You get a recommendation from us, family and friends or Your mortgage lender will carry out a very basic check of the property but this is never a substitute for a proper survey.

Visit the property again (and again)

It always looks different the second time. If you are not familiar with the area, then visit at different times of the day to see what parking, traffic and the neighbours are like.

Contact a Solicitor

We will provide you with a transparent quotation for the legal costs of your purchase. It will include a breakdown for acting for you and your mortgage lender and completing the stamp duty land tax return. If you are comparing quotes, then remember to check the small print – a seemingly low quote might not include all the costs that might be added in later as a nasty surprise.

Once we have completed all our paperwork and searches for you and your mortgage offer is through we will provide you with a written report explaining what all the documents mean, along with the contract to sign.

Exchange of Contracts

When all the buyers and sellers in the chain are ready to go ahead and a completion date has been agreed, exchange of contracts takes place. Now you are committed to buy the property on the completion date.

Arrange Your Buildings Insurance

It should be ready to start ‘go on risk’ from exchange. Contents insurance can wait until completion. Recommendation from family and friends is always a good way of finding a suitable insurer, or try the British Insurance Brokers Association at Always look further afield than the usual online comparison sites.

Mortgage and Fees

Shortly before completion, we will send you a financial statement showing how much money is needed from you. This will be stamp duty, legal fees and the balance of the purchase price. We will order your mortgage money directly from your mortgage lender.

Moving Day

It’s here at last. We will telephone you to let you know the sale has completed and you can collect the keys from the estate agent – usually by about lunchtime.

Finally, Enjoy Your New Home

Unpack & relax, but don’t forget to get back in touch with W Davies about a Will – you now have a very valuable asset. Our Wills Solicitors offer discounted rates on Wills to our current conveyancing clients. Contact Lisa Fay (, head of our Wills, Trusts & Probate department to make an appointment.

Next Steps

If you are someone who is considering buying your first home, or have had an offer accepted, you can contact us for a quote as well as further advice as to what to do next.

Free telephone consultation at W Davies Woking

Call us on 01483 744900 or contact Maureen Ross (, John Risbridger ( or Mary Groves ( to make an appointment with one of our conveyancing solicitors in Woking. We are qualified solicitors and property experts, so we are happy to talk you through the process and answer any queries you might have.

Further reading