Buying your first home is a significant moment in your life but the legal process can be complicated and sometimes stressful, especially for those who have not been through it before.

Jennifer Prysiaznyj, senior associate solicitor and head of residential conveyancing at WHN Solicitors explains your solicitor’s role and the key steps they will take on your behalf when you purchase your first home.

When is your solicitor appointed?

Once the seller has accepted an offer from a prospective buyer, the estate agent will write to all parties with details of the buyer and seller and their appointed solicitors. This is known as a Memorandum of Sale.

Buyers will need to prove who they are and that the money for the house purchase is not the proceeds of crime.

What does the buyer’s solicitor do?

One of the solicitor’s key roles is to investigate all title deeds and property forms. This includes investigating rights of way, covenants (restrictions and obligations), alterations to the property and most importantly, ensuring the seller has the legal right to sell the property.

The solicitor will also carry out local, environmental and drainage searches on your behalf and raise queries with the seller’s solicitor.

If the buyer is obtaining a mortgage, the buyer’s solicitor will review the mortgage offer to ensure all requirements of the mortgage lender are met.

What happens next?

After the seller’s solicitor has satisfactorily replied to the enquiries, the buyer’s solicitor sends a report to the buyer. Once all documents have been signed and all queries addressed, the parties may proceed to exchange contracts. An exchange of contracts makes the agreed completion date legally binding on both parties.

On the completion date, the buyer’s solicitor will send the purchase monies to the seller’s solicitor. The estate agent is then called to inform them that the seller may give the keys to the buyer.

The buyer’s solicitor will then register the change of ownership with the Land Registry.

WHN Solicitors has produced a video explaining the process in more details. You can view the video below:

Jennifer Prysiaznyj is a senior associate solicitor and head of residential conveyancing for WHN and is based at the firm’s Blackburn office. She deals with all aspects of residential conveyancing including sales, purchases, re-mortgages, charges, right to buy, flats, new builds, shared ownership, Islamic finance and help to buy.

If you need help with purchasing or selling a home, our specialists are here to help. Please contact Jennifer on 01254 272640 or by email