First-time buyers – buy your first home with confidence


Buying your first home is exciting and a significant milestone in life’s rich journey.  It needn’t be daunting or unnecessarily stressful if you are prepared and have done a little research to understand the process and know what to expect.

I would encourage all first-time buyers to consider these general pointers:

  • Understand all potential costs in the purchase process and factor them into your budget.  Your deposit and monthly mortgage payments are only one part of the equation.  Think about Stamp Duty, Land Tax, legal fees, removal firm costs, mortgage arrangement and valuation fees, surveyor fees, home insurance and any other insurance on the mortgage that might be recommended to you.  Have a contingency fund. 
  • Have a second viewing on the property you want to buy, before you make an offer.  Ask the estate agent what is included in the sale, what position the seller is in and what kind of chain is involved.
  • Be prepared to invest in a full structural survey with your own surveyor.  I have gone into greater detail in a previous article in these pages, but it might prove a costly mistake to think that paying for a full structural survey is too expensive.  Unless defects or repair requirements are dealt with prior to exchange of contracts, nothing can be done at a later date about commensurate price reductions, the seller effecting repairs or you pulling out of the deal if the property is unsound.
  • Do not underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction.  Find a solicitor local to you who you can sit with, ask questions of and who can guide you through the legal process of the purchase. 

Janine Heil, Partner, 

Leigh Duncan Solicitors 

Janine qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and set up Leigh Duncan in 2016 with her husband Ingmar. She has been acting in the sale and purchase of property for over 15 years, the last 10 of those have been based in Beaconsfield. If you have any questions, feel free to pop in and speak to Janine, Ingmar or any of the friendly team next time you are passing. 

Click here to go to Leigh Duncan’s Website

New Year’s Resolution – Making a Will

make-a-will-family-leigh-duncan-solicitorsHappy New Year everyone! If you’ve made your new year’s resolutions, writing a will is not top of your list, but now is as good a time as any to think about such things.

Making a Will allows you to leave clear instructions about how your estate is to be distributed, choosing those who are to receive from you and those you want to administer that all for you (your executors). Most importantly, perhaps, you take control for your loved ones.

According to one source, it has been suggested that more than half of parents in the UK with children under 18 have not made a Will. A Will can be used to nominate who should look after your children if the worst happens to you by appointing a guardian. If both parents die without having appointed a

guardian, it may be left to the courts to decide with whom your child will spend their most formative years. At worst it may lead to family disputes at a time already fraught with emotional distress.

A Will makes it much easier for your family or friends to sort everything out when you die. Without a will the process can be more time consuming and stressful.

Finally, and tying in with my article in the last issue, a
Will can help reduce the amount of inheritance tax that might be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind.

Have a happy and successful 2019.

Janine Heil, Partner,

Leigh Duncan Solicitors

Click here to go to Leigh Duncan’s Website