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2nd October 2023

Home sweet home: tips for first-time buyers

Home sweet home: tips for first-time buyers
Cordelia Smith
Cordelia Smith

Buying your first home is an exciting milestone, but it can also be a complex and daunting process. 

An article in Glamour magazine offers some sensible tips for all first-time buyers (not just single women) but perhaps underplays how useful your solicitor can be at all stages of the house-hunting and buying journey. Finding the right solicitor early on is crucial for a smooth and stress-free home-buying experience.

Trust and compatibility matter

The process of buying a house or flat can be stressful at the best of times, particularly so if you’ve never done it before.

Having a solicitor you trust and enjoy working with can make a world of difference, and go a long way to making the experience as enjoyable and exciting as it should be. 

For most people, a house or flat is by far the most expensive thing they’ll ever buy. It's prudent, then, to invest in the best legal representation your budget allows, rather than automatically plumping for the cheapest option. It’s crucial that first-time (and all) buyers feel confident that every aspect of their purchase has been investigated comprehensively. A skilled and experienced solicitor will help you to navigate the sometimes confusing legal jargon and will safeguard your interests, providing invaluable peace of mind.

Early instruction is key

It's a common mistake for buyers to instruct a solicitor only after finding their dream home – and sometimes only once they’ve had an offer accepted. This means that the early stages of the transaction can feel rushed and stressful. 

Instruct your solicitor as soon as you know that you’re going to buy something, even if you don’t know what the something is yet. They will be able to deal with the sometimes time-consuming onboarding process; and help you to navigate any potential legal issues with houses or flats that you’re viewing, potentially saving you time, fees and disappointment further down the line.

This can be particularly important if you’re buying a flat, given, for example, the complexities of fire regulations after the Grenfell Tower disaster, and mortgage lenders’ requirements about lease provisions. 

By instructing your solicitor right at the start of the process, you ensure that all the necessary groundwork can be laid, enabling things to run much more smoothly once you have an offer accepted.