A conveyancing solicitor can advise on all contractual matters related to the purchase of a property, and help see the sale process through to completion. Various local searches on the property, including with the Land Registry, will need to be carried out, and may be a requirement for a first-time buyer’s mortgage to be approved (a survey may also be required for the same purpose).
First-time buyers are exempted from stamp duty tax altogether if the purchase price of their property is under £425,000 and it will be their main residential home. This threshold was raised from £300,000 in September 2022. First-time buyers can also now claim stamp duty relief on properties valued up to £625,000, up from the previous £500,000 threshold. A first-time buyer may also be interested in and eligible for one of the Government’s Help to Buy schemes (see below), and this is another area that a specialist conveyancing solicitor will be able to advise on.
New: On 23rd September 2022, the government announced a permanent cut to stamp duty tax in England and Northern Ireland, effective immediately, with the threshold for paying SDLT rising from £125,000 to £250,000.
Arranging a mortgage is another prime concern for the majority of first-time buyers, and reliable legal advice can help a first-time buyer choose the right type of mortgage for them, and provide the information necessary for the application to be approved as swiftly and seamlessly as possible. A solicitor will also be able to advise on the different ownership models, including shared ownership, and tenancy arrangements available to first-time buyers, and how the financial side of things can best be organized to protect the various parties. This can also be important when a third-party such as a parent is making a financial contribution to the purchase and wishes to protect their investment.
The government offers a number of Help to Buy schemes to assist first-time buyers in Liverpool and the rest of the county with the purchase of their first home, including Help to Buy equity loans and Help to Buy ISAs. A Help to Buy equity loan means that a buyer will only need to find a 5% cash deposit on the price of a new-build home valued up to £600,000, with the government lending 20% of the purchase price, and the remaining 75% covered by the buyer’s mortgage. The equity loan is interest-free for the first five years, and must be repaid when the property is sold or the mortgage is paid off. In the meantime, the property must not be sublet, prohibiting buy-to-let landlords from exploiting the scheme.
First-time buyers looking to save up money for a mortgage deposit can also benefit from the government’s Help to Buy ISA scheme. The Help to Buy ISA is a savings account into which a prospective first-time buyer can deposit funds that the government will then top up by 25%. The maximum that the government will contribute to the account is £3,000, for which the buyer will need to save £12,000. Help to Buy ISAs are available to each individual first-time buyer, meaning that a couple buying their first home together could save up to £6,000 on the purchase price. Get in touch with our solicitors advising Liverpool first-time buyers to find out more about the various government Help to Buy schemes that first-time buyers can benefit from to help them take their first step on the property ladder.
The entire conveyancing process up to completion will take 8-12 weeks in normal circumstances. Using a local Liverpool based conveyancing solicitor can help speed matters up due to the latter’s knowledge of the local area and experience with similar transactions on behalf of first-time buyers. Our firm offers a transparent fixed fee structure for buying a property in Liverpool and Merseyside at competitive rates, and with no hidden costs. Get in touch with Louise Nelson and her team for a no obligation quotation today.