Helpful Guide for First Time Home Buyers

Buying a property is a minefield and most likely the biggest investment you will ever make. When choosing your solicitor, choose wisely as a reputable conveyancing solicitor is critical to the process.

Conveyancing Quality Scheme or CQS

In 2011 a conveyancing quality mark known as the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) was introduced. The aim of the CQS is to determine a good conveyancing solicitor from a bad one with members undergoing annual audits and tests in addition to those required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). When choosing you property solicitor, it is advisable to use a firm with CQS accreditation.

Panel Solicitors

Since the Financial Crisis, many banks now restrict the solicitors they will allow to act for them. Each firm is required to apply to each bank individually proving their credentials in order to be allowed on to their ‘panel of chosen solicitors’. It is important to find out early on whether the firm you are choosing is on your lenders panel and if you are unsure which lender you are going with, you must enquire as to how many banks the firm can act for.


You get what you pay for.

Understandably people wish to keep the costs down when purchasing a property as your purse strings are already teetering on the limit. However, it is highly unlikely that you will find a conveyancing solicitor that is very cheap and at the same time very good.

Whilst it is all too easy to be drawn to taking the cheaper option, firstly weigh up what you feel is important. The impact of poor decisions at the start of the process may not be revealed until much later.

Go and meet the person that you are trusting to act for you. Quite often a handshake and a discussion about your transaction will seal the deal. If you feel confident with this person, then appoint them. If you don’t, then neither of you will feel confident moving forward.


Through the initial steps of the process many people will recommend different solicitors, from the estate agents, to mortgage advisors and then there are your friends and families. It is important when choosing a recommended solicitor, why were they recommended. What makes one person happy may not necessarily be what you are looking for in your solicitor. Firstly, decide what you believe to be important. Whether it is years of experience or client contact. Then check out the website, ask for reviews and speak to them yourself before making any decisions.

Key Targets

Being open from the outset is key. From time frames, to alterations, you must let your solicitor know from the start.

The conveyancing process will generally take between 4-8 weeks depending on the transaction. Whether you need to move as quickly as possible or slow the purchase down, you must let your solicitor know in order to allow them to time plan accordingly. This is also very important when choosing your solicitor as they may not have the capacity to spend the additional hours required on the file in order to complete within your expedited time frame.

For alterations, if you are moving in to a Leasehold property, there may be certain restrictions on the works you are able to carry out. To save for getting mid way through the process before your solicitor informs you of this, ensure that it is a key issue flagged up at the start. This will save you spending funds on mortgage valuations, surveys and searches when the property is not adaptable to your needs.

How can we help?

If you are thinking of buying or have recently had an offer on your first home accepted, contact us for a free no obligation chat. We can give you a quote of our costs and disbursements and advice you on the steps involved .