Find out the process when buying a home in the UK, including working out your budget and applying for a mortgage.

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    Step 1 - Looking for the Right Property

    Decide on your requirements such as the type of property you are looking for, number of bedrooms and areas you would like to consider. Set your budget by speaking with a financial advisor or a mortgage broker. If you are not buying with cash it is a good idea to have a mortgage in principle before you begin looking.

  2. 2

    Step 2 – Begin Viewing

    Start booking in viewings with your local agents. Properties will be advertised on property portals, websites and social media. It is a good idea to pick a local agent with a good reputation and strong market presence to assist you in your search. Make sure you understand the full details of any prospective purchase, such as whether the property is leasehold or freehold, service charges and ground rents.

  3. 3

    Step 3 - Putting forward an offer

    When you have found a property, make an offer ensuring you are in a strong position with finances in place. Your agent will negotiate between each party and agree a mutually agreeable purchase price. Once the offer is accepted the process really begins.

  4. 4

    Step 4 - Applying for a Mortgage

    If purchasing with a mortgage you will need to proceed to full application stage. A mortgage broker or lender will be able to assist you with this.

    You will need to budget and plan for one-off costs like a deposit, solicitor fees and stamp duty as well as regular ongoing costs such as mortgage payments, service charge, utility bills. 10% of the purchase price is usually required as a deposit for exchange, though this is negotiable.

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    Step 5 – Instruct a Solicitor

    You will need to instruct an experienced solicitor or licensed conveyancer to carry out the legal work. This will involve applying for local searches, land registry applications, making enquiries and ensuring the property is correctly transferred into your name. Your solicitor protects you during the purchase stage, so it is important you utilise the expertise of a competent professional.

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    Step 6 – Valuations and Surveys

    If you are getting a mortgage your lender will require a mortgage valuation to be conducted by a surveyor. If you would like a more detailed survey you can either upgrade to a full survey or commission a separate survey. The surveyor will check to see if there are any potential issues you may face on your purchase.

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    Step 7 - Exchange

    Once the above has been satisfied you will need to sign and exchange the contracts with the seller. At this point you will pay the deposit for the property and confirm buildings insurance to cover the structure of the property. An exchange is a legally binding contract between you and the seller. If you decide to withdraw from the purchase at this stage, you will forfeit your deposit money.

  8. 8

    Step 8 - Completion

    Now you are at the final stage and ready to complete. Completion is when you pay for the property and take ownership by registering the sale with the Land Registry through your solicitor. On the day of completion, the completion funds are paid, and the legal process is complete. The seller must vacate the property and you are able to collect the keys, normally from the agent.