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How to Buy a House – The house buying process explained

Annoyingly, we learn a lot of rubbish at school – yeah, we’re talking about you fractions! Whilst we learned a lot of useful things, it seems necessary to point out that we didn’t learn all the essentials. No one ever taught us how to budget, how credit cards work and especially how mortgages and buying a house works (but thanks Mr. Smith for teaching Pythagoras’ theorem).

Because you’re not ever going to need to know how to calculate the length of the third side of a triangle, we thought we’d give you some useful information instead. Yes, we’re going to talk about the process of buying a house – because your teachers did at school never did.

This is your step by step guide of buying a house!

buy a house - buying process explained

Step 1: Search, Research & Affordability

The first step on your house buying journey is to do your homework. Yes, you need to first search for the right property for you. The right location, the right size, and everything else that falls around it. This is where you need to do your homework and research the area. How close is the property to transport or good schools, what’s the crime rate in the area like – these are all key factors that make up your decision to buy a house in the area or not.

It’s also key to make sure that you can afford the property you want, in the area you want. Notoriously, London is more expensive than most major cities, but the closer you are to a city centre, the more you’re likely to pay. Similarly, properties in catchment areas for good schools are more expensive, as they’re desirable. So, if you haven’t got kids yet, steer clear. You might end up saving yourself a bit of cash. Make sure you seek money advice (commonly known as financial advice) before buying property - you need to be able to afford your mortgage repayments, council tax and other fees attached with home buying.

Step 2: Offering & Acceptance

Now’s the time to put your offer down. Your estate agent will most likely be able to tell you what sort of offer you’ll be able to put in for. They’ll be able to tell you if the homeowner will go under the asking price and how likely they are to accept an offer. Once your offer has been accepted, that’s half the battle won. You’ll usually have to put down a deposit on the sale of the home – between £500 - £1000 (dependent on the house’s price) to show you’re serious about buying. Then comes the next step…

Step 3: Secure a Mortgage

So, now your offer has been accepted, it’s time to land yourself that ever so important mortgage – how else you going to pay for the house? It’s crucial to shop around and find yourself the best deal. Luckily for you, we can do the hard bit for you. Simply put your details into our Application page, and you’ll see what mortgages you could get, personalised to you. It takes the stress out of finding your own mortgage, and we do the hard bit for you. Pick a mortgage you’re happy with and await our call! Mortgages made easy. That’s what we’re about at Mortgages Online.

Step 4: Legal Things

This is the really boring bit (unless you’re really into property law – who are we to judge). It may all sound a bit dull, but it’s a crucial part of purchasing your property, so take notes. There’s a few legal bits you have to iron out, including finding yourself a solicitor, surveyor and conveyancer. This is a lengthy process that involves checks on the property by the mortgage lender and a surveyor who checks the property to make sure it’s up to scratch for purchase. This is to ensure the mortgage lenders investment is safe – and you’re not buying a house on the brink of collapse…

You’ll need a solicitor to deal with things like contact exchange and more, but that doesn’t come until after all the necessary checks. If you’re ever wondering ‘is a survey necessary?’… yes, it is. There are some real horror stories out there about unsafe properties. So, always go through the necessary checks. Once the lender is happy with their checks, you should have your mortgage approved! That means you can move onto the next stage. Luckily for you, stamp duty was abolished in Novemeber of 2017 (only for first-time buyers). For our full article on stamp duty, click the link!

Step 5: Negotiations, Deposits and Contracts

Get ready to barter, because it’s time to negotiate a completion date, this is when you’re handed the keys to your new home. It’s a day that’s going to be good for both the seller and yourself, so you may want to bring your diary with you to check your dates. Then, once agreed, it’s time to give your deposit to the solicitor – this is the stage of no return! Once you give the deposit over, you’re fully committed to buying the house. Finally, it’s time to exchange contracts, going over all the details. Pulling out of the sale means you lose your deposit so, don’t! Then it’s the simple task of filling in some paper work and then the house is practically yours!

Step 6: The Final Stages

After more searches and signing the transfer deed, your solicitor will secure the funds from your mortgage provider. You’ve agreed to borrow the amount, but now you’ll have the money to pay for your home (well, the solicitor does). But, they’ll ensure that the amount is paid, and the sale is completed. After all of this… THE HOUSE IS YOURS. Crack the bubbly and think about buying a sofa, you’re the official owner of your new home! The deeds are in your name and you’re ready to move in on or after the completion date! Exciting stuff. You’ll pay the rest of the fees and then the house is yours. Deeds and all!

And that’s the basics. So, if you’re looking to buy your first home, and are in need of a mortgage, use Mortgages Online to find the right one for you!


Laura Waller

Laura Waller has been working in the mortgages industry since 2013, joining an independent brokerage in Essex. Laura has CeMAP 2 & 3 – Certificates in Mortgages Advice and Practice. Since then Laura oversees marketing for Mortgages Online, using her experience and expertise to write articles and blogs about mortgages and related topics.

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