Buying your first property is often a step into the unknown for many. There’s an abundance of information out there providing advice and guidance for those seeking to buy their first property but not all of this is from professionals involved in property transactions and sometimes buyers can fall into the trap of believing some all too common myths. Here we’ll bust some of those myths in the hope that you won’t fall into that trap too.
You have to use the solicitor your estate agent recommends
If you’re buying a property through an estate agent and don’t already have a solicitor or conveyancer in mind, the agent may recommend one or several conveyancers for you to use. They may even suggest that by using their “recommended” conveyancer, the transaction will complete more quickly than if you instruct a conveyancer of your own choosing.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing one of these recommendations to complete your conveyancing; however, you are not obliged to. Sometimes, when first time buyers are faced with the daunting conveyancing process, they might jump blindly into using the agents’ recommendations thinking they have no other choice and without researching others.
Remember, you can choose whichever conveyancing firm you wish. As soon as an offer is accepted for the purchase of a property, the estate agent will require details of your chosen conveyancer; we therefore advise you research these prior to viewing properties or making an offer.
The seller will tell prospective buyers about issues with the property during a viewing
When you view a property, you are permitted to ask questions about the property and the agent/seller is obliged to be truthful in their answers to your questions; however, they are unlikely to inform you of any issues with the property if they aren’t asked specifically about them.
You should always tell your conveyancer about anything you have been promised or assured by the agent/seller so they can confirm this with the seller’s conveyancer as otherwise it will not be a legally binding representation from the agent/seller.
Additionally, issues with the property will often be discovered as part of the survey, which brings us to our next myth…
The solicitor will arrange the property survey
It is always advised that you get a survey for a prospective property once your offer has been accepted, on top of any valuation survey being carried out by your lender. As I mentioned, a survey will flag up any potential issues with the property that may or may not have been obvious on the face of things.
A common myth first time buyers hold is that your conveyancer arranges the survey. This is not the case. While a solicitor may be able to recommend surveyors they work with (in the same way an estate agent will recommend a conveyancer), the responsibility for booking a survey lies with the buyers.
Your solicitor knows everything about the specific property you’re buying
As part of the conveyancing process, your solicitor will submit searches on your behalf to discover information such as planning applications and more. They will also review information provided by the seller’s conveyancer in relation to the legal title and the seller’s replies to the Law Society Protocol Forms.
This information will be passed to you the buyer. Despite this, it’s important to remember that your solicitor only knows information about the property that they have either been told by you or the seller’s conveyancers, or that they’ve discovered through searches. As earlier stated, you should always inform your conveyancer of any promises or assurances made to you about the property by the agent/seller.
If the sale falls through due to a break in the chain, the buyer will get back all of the money paid
We won’t sugar coat this, property sales can fall through. There’s often several ‘links’ in a property transaction chain, as one party looks to complete their property sale in order to complete their property purchase, and so on. Because a purchase rests on all links completing without issue, if one person further up the chain decides they no longer wish to continue with a sale or purchase, this can have a knock-on impact on any transactions due to follow it.
If you’re in the middle of the process when the chain breaks and work such as searches have already been completed by your solicitor, unfortunately you will still be required to pay for that work. You won’t be required to pay for more than the work that has been completed up to the collapse of the chain.
You always own the boundary on one side of the house
This is a particularly niche myth compared to the ones mentioned above but it’s one I have come across time and time again. For some reason, many homeowners assume that when it comes to boundary ownership, you always own the boundary to one side of the house while your neighbour owns the other.
This is not the case and can be a particularly costly myth to believe as it may result in you paying for changes or repairs to the boundary which aren’t your responsibility. Your conveyancer will report to you on any information contained in the Property Information Form completed by the seller and in the title deeds about boundaries during the course of your purchase of the property.
Solicitor for First-Time Buyers
We understand that buying your first property is a significant occasion which can be very daunting. Our conveyancers at Farleys are on hand to answer your questions throughout the process so you are informed at every step of the way. To speak to a member of our residential property team please call 0845 287 0939, get in touch by email, or use the online chat below.