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The Process of Buying a Home

Sam Azzopardi-Tudor

Private Property Blog

Buying a home can be perceived to be an intimidating process, but when it is broken down it doesn’t have to be.

If you are ready to put your moving plans into action, this guide will take you through the process of buying a house, from working out your budget to making an offer, exchanging contracts and moving in.

  • Step One – preparing to sell your home

If you’re not a first-time buyer, selling your home before you start searching for your next property will put you in a stronger and better position as a buyer.

  • Step Two – saving for a deposit

Saving for a budget is made easier if you aim to save a regular sum each month. To do this, it is helpful to plan your monthly spending budget. Tax-efficient saving accounts like ISAs and LISAs can maximise your returns and you can get decent bonuses if you’re a first-time buyer. You need to be between eighteen and forty to open a LISA.

  • Step Three – getting mortgage ready

You will need to get your credit report in great shape before a lender looks at it. Credit reports provide an insight into your payment behaviour and lenders will use them as part of their decision-making process. It’s a good idea to check your credit record, just in case there are any errors which could affect your credit score. Checking your own rating is viewed as a ‘soft check’ and won’t impact your score. You will need a lot of paperwork to back up a mortgage application, which includes a passport, three months of bank statements and pay slips. You will also need to have at least one utility bill in your name at your current address and you should be on the Electoral Roll.

  • Step Four – work out your budget

Buying a property is a big step which involves a long-term financial commitment so think about what you can afford. You will need to take into account your savings as well as the money that’s coming in and going out.

  • Step Five – finding out how much can you borrow with a mortgage

Every lender has different ways of calculating how much they will be able to lend to you, or if they can lend to you at all. Your income, size of your deposit, regular expenditure and credit rating are all taken into consideration.

  • Step Six – apply for a mortgage in principle

A Mortgage in Principle is the next step that can make a big difference when it comes to searching, viewing and offering on a home. This is a personalised document confirming an amount of money which a lender believes that they would be able to lend you, based on the information that you have shared at this stage. This isn’t a legal requirement, but a lot of estate agents will ask that you have one, which is only increasing.

  • Step Seven – research where you want to live

Do some research and get to know the area in which you want to live. Sometimes, it’s good to have a walk around it and get a sense of what it would be like to live there.

  • Step Eight – start searching for your home

Setup some property alerts so that you’re the first to learn about new properties and price reductions. Keep visiting local estate agents in person to register your interest in the area. Agents will be more likely to remember you if you’ve met and will bear you in mind when they get new instructions.

  • Step Nine – making an offer

It’s important to know your budget to decide on a maximum limit from the start. When you’re ready to make an offer to the estate agent selling the home, it’s a good idea to let them know your circumstances.

  • Step Ten – arranging a mortgage

This step of the process needs to be done quickly. The seller will want to see progress to avoid any unnecessary delays in getting the surveys and other legal work done. Complete the application form and send them the documents that they require, including proof of ID, evidence of earnings, proof of address over the last few months and your bank statements.

  • Step Eleven – lender’s valuation and surveys

The lender will arrange for a qualified surveyor to inspect the property you’re looking to buy and check its value.

  • Step Twelve – hire a solicitor or conveyancer

This is where Martin Kaye Solicitors comes in to assist. Conveyancing is the process undertaken by the buyer’s or seller’s solicitors of transferring the legal ownership if property or land from one person to another.

Once you have had your offer accepted, inform your solicitor, so that we can request and review contract paperwork, order council searches and report to you upon your mortgages documents.

  • Step Thirteen – exchanging contracts

Once the survey and searches have come through and your mortgage is approved, you will be ready to exchange contracts and put down your non-refundable deposit.

  • Step Fourteen – preparing to move

Some important things to remember include redirecting your post to your new home, informing your utility companies that you’re leaving your current home and set up your landline and WiFi. You will also have stamp duty tax which is payable in England and Northern Ireland within two weeks of completing your sale. We will arrange this for you. There are equivalent taxes to pay in Scotland and Wales.

  • Step Fifteen – completing the sale

This part is where you anxiously wait for a phone call from your solicitor that will let you know that the funds have gone through and you can finally collect the keys to your new home and you’re then ready to move in!

If you would like further advice with buying or selling a property, please get in touch with the Private Property team at Martin Kaye Solicitors who will be able to give you the best possible advice at or via this form here.