Laceys Solicitors Laceys is a leading, forward-thinking law firm with specialist experts serving both individual and business clients across a broad spectrum of practice areas.

If Social Services have notified you about legal proceedings concerning your child please call 01202 377995.



House Key

First Time Buyers: 5 Essential Tips for a Successful Home Purchase

2nd May 2024 by John Munro

Categories: What's New?

Buying your first home is an exciting time, but it can also be daunting. We outline our five top tips for first time buyers to help you prepare and give you the best chance of securing the home you want.

  1. Check your credit score and take steps to improve it if you need to

If you will be taking out a mortgage, it pays to check your credit score in the months before you are thinking of buying and, where necessary, take steps to improve it. A higher score may give you a wider choice when it comes to choosing a mortgage deal.

Steps that you can take to potentially boost your score include:

  • Make sure you are on the electoral roll, which lenders use to verify addresses
  • Don’t have too many credit cards, although you should have at least one that you use regularly so that you can demonstrate that you can handle credit
  • Try not to use more than around 30% of your available credit
  • Pay your credit card bills and other finance cards when they are due
  • Cut any financial ties you may have to individuals with poor credit, for example, closing joint bank accounts and cancelling joint credit cards
  1. Work out your budget and organise your finances

You need to be realistic about what you can afford and make sure that you take into account potential rises in interest rates.

If you need help, you may be eligible for the government’s First Homes scheme, which allows first time buyers to purchase certain new build homes for 30% to 50% less than their market value. For further information and to see if you are eligible click here.

Shared ownership schemes also exist, where you buy part of a property and rent the rest. You may be able to increase the percentage that you own over time.

If you are still at the stage of saving and you are aged between 18 and 39, you can open a Lifetime ISA. You can put in up to £4,000 a year and the government will add a 25% bonus of up to £1,000 a year. When you buy a home, you can then use the savings towards the purchase price, provided you and any other joint purchaser are both first time buyers.

  1. Research the areas where you are thinking of buying

You should research any areas where you might consider buying to see what they are like at different times of the day and week. You can also check estate agents’ listings to see what sort of housing stock is for sale and how quickly it is selling.

Understanding the locality is important and will help you decide if you want to make any compromises, for example, taking on a renovation project or buying a smaller home in a more expensive area.

  1. Instruct an experienced conveyancing solicitor

Using a less experienced conveyancer with low fees might seem like a good idea, but the success of a property purchase can sometimes depend on how quickly a transaction is progressed and how efficiently any difficulties are dealt with. If you use an experienced conveyancing solicitor with a good reputation, you can be sure that they will move your purchase forward proactively and that they will have the legal understanding to deal promptly and effectively with any issues that may arise.

  1. Have a survey carried out

It is usually recommended that a purchaser has a survey carried out. Relying on your lender’s valuation is not a good idea, as this could be cursory and not provide you with the detail you need. You can choose surveys of different depths and your surveyor can let you know the level of detail that would be appropriate for the property you are interested in. For example, if you are buying an older property or it is in poor condition, of unusual construction or you wish to make substantial alterations, you may be advised to have a full structural survey carried out.

Contact us

If you are thinking of buying your first home please contact Kelly Howe on or 01202 377800.

John Munro

Partner — Commercial and Residential Property

Direct dial: 01202 377839


John Munro, head of Property, Laceys Solicitors
  • “John Munro was friendly and very approachable, advising me with a clear depth of knowledge and experience. I have since recommended him and will do so if asked in the future.”

    N. Pitts-Crick

  • “Having dealt with Laceys on many a sale and purchase I’ve always found them to be efficient, knowledgeable and attentive. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them to family, friends and clients.”

    Stuart Cockram - Frost and Co

  • “We have always been very happy with the service provided by Laceys Solicitors, in both our business legal requirements and domestic property conveyancing.”

    Mark Edney

  • “You are our solicitor Superhero! Very grateful. ”

    Maria - Tom Frowde Architects

  • “Changing solicitors is not to be undertaken lightly. However really impressed with the way that John Munro and his associates have dealt with us over the last couple of years in a variety of complex property related transactions and on the commercial and personal front as well. We look forward to working with them going forward.”

    Malcolm Tice, Director - Tice & Son Ltd

John joined Laceys in 2001 on a training contract, having completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Law in 2000, and qualified as a solicitor in 2003. He is now the Head of the Commercial and Residential Property Departments.

He is also the firm’s Senior Responsible Officer under the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) with overall responsibility for the management of the property team and their delivery of the excellent service that our clients have come to expect.

John acts in his own capacity for a number of commercial property owners, developers and investors, but also allocates time to ensure his team are up to speed with changing law and professional regulations and clients are provided with members of the team who possess the right skills to deal with their individual requirements, delivering projects in the most time and cost-efficient manner.

Outside of work John seems to spend a great deal of time ferrying his children around but occasionally gets to put his feet up and listen to his eclectic collection of vinyl. He is also not averse to a good cheeseboard and a glass of IPA.

Related articles

House Key

First Time Buyers: 5 Essential Tips for a Successful Home Purchase

Buying your first home is an exciting time, but it can also be daunting. We outline our...

Read Article


What can delay exchange of contracts?

If you are buying or selling a property, it can be frustrating to find that the exchange...

Read Article

Close X