A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Home

Getting the keys to your new home is a good reason to turn the excitement levels up to 11. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or moving up the property ladder, there aren’t many bigger purchases we make than that of bricks and mortar.

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And while buying a home is super exciting, unfortunately, it’s not always plain sailing. From negotiating an offer to going through the conveyancing process, there’s plenty of hurdles to clear.

But worry not; we’ve put this guide together, detailing everything you need to know about completing on a new property. So put on the kettle, sit back, relax and read our step by step guide to buying your next house.

Step 1 – is buying a home right for you? 

The first decision you have to make is whether or not buying a home is actually the right move for you. Despite 86% of people wanting to own their own home, it is not always the best decision for everyone. You need to be sure you can afford your new home, mortgage, maintenance and all.

a couple being shown around a property by someone with a clipboard

Step 2 – can you afford to buy a home? 

As previously touched upon, it is vital that you can afford to buy your new home. This means it is important to set a budget. This obviously depends on your income and lifestyle, but ensuring you can afford your mortgage is critical when buying a house.

Tied into this is saving for your mortgage deposit. Usually, you’ll need to save a deposit of at least 5% of the price of the property you want to purchase. It is often worth trying to save as much as possible in order to put down a bigger deposit on a house.

This often means that you will pay back the mortgage with a lower interest rate. If you are a first-time buyer wanting to purchase a property costing up to £450,000 then saving into a lifetime ISA entitles you to a 25% top-up from the government every year, on your savings.

Step 3 – find the right area for you 

This next bit is fun! You now need to decide where it is that you want to live. Obviously, if you’re just looking to move down the road, there isn’t much to decide.

However, if you want to move across town or across the country, searching for your perfect area is a little more time consuming. Make sure you research any new areas thoroughly, looking for transport links, schools and crime levels to name a few.

It is really important you know an area inside and out before you commit to buying a house there. Get it wrong, and you could end up being really unhappy in your new home.

Step 4 – find the right home 

After you’ve fallen in love with an area or town, it’s time to start looking for a specific house. It’s a good idea to register with an estate agent, Mashroom, so you can start the search for your dream house, stress free.

Try and visit as many properties that catch your eye as possible to ensure you find a house you love for a price you also love! Make sure you ask your estate agent lots of questions so as to make sure there are no hidden surprises in the property.

couple moving into a new property and unpacking boxes

Step 5 – make an offer on your dream home 

The next step on this list is making an offer on your dream property. It’s common for people to offer less than the asking price, but if other people are also very interested, you may have to offer the asking price or even, sometimes, above.

Having looked at other properties in the area, you should have a relatively good idea as to what the property is worth. Once you have decided on how much to offer, let your estate agent know. Also, make sure to mention any other plus points, that will help to sell you to the current owner of the property you’re interested in.

For example, if you are a chain-free first-time buyer. Additionally, make sure to mention that your offer is subject to a survey of the property, and it being taken off the market.

Step 6 – apply for a mortgage 

Once your offer has been accepted, you need to apply for a mortgage. This can be done earlier in the process, but once your offer has been accepted it’s important to get this sorted quickly.

You will need a lender to make you a formal mortgage offer before you can exchange contracts. You’ll need to decide what kind of mortgage you want, for example, a fixed-rate or tracker mortgage, alongside the mortgage term (the amount of time you have to pay the mortgage off).

Step 7 – hire a solicitor and conveyancer 

Next, you need to hire a solicitor and conveyancer. This will allow the legal transfer of ownership take place. Your mortgage company may require you to pick one from their panel.

couple sitting down and signing a document on a cream sofa

Step 8 – get a property survey done 

Time to get a survey done. A property survey helps to assess the condition of the building and detect any structural problems. They are optional, but it is highly advised that you get one before buying.

It’s important to do this before you exchange, so that you are not tied into the property, if something should come back from the survey. If a problem is found, you can either negotiate the price or ask that the seller repairs the problem before moving in.

Step 9 – exchange contracts 

If you’re happy with the survey, you can now exchange contracts! This means that the buyer and seller’s legal representatives swap signed contracts, and the buyer (that’s you) pays the deposit. Once this is done, you can relax, as the agreement for you to buy the property is now a legally binding document.

Step 10 – move in! 

It’s time to move in! Find a removal company, get packing, and get yourself into your new home.

Moving can be a stressful time, especially if you are new to the game. We hope this guide has broken down the ‘To Do’ list, and gives you the confidence you need to head to the Emoov website and start the search for your next house.

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Mashroom is an appointed representative of Adelphi Insurance Brokers Ltd. Adelphi Insurance Brokers Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Their Financial Services Register number is 594620, with permitted business activities being introducing, advising, arranging, dealing as agent, assisting in the administration and performance of general insurance contracts and credit broking in relation to insurance instalment facilities. You may check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website, register.fca.org.uk or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768

Mashroom Mortgages is a trading name of Emash Ltd which is an appointed representative of Mortgage Advice Bureau Limited and Mortgage Advice Bureau (Derby) Limited which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or any debt secured upon it. A fee of up to 1% of the mortgage amount may be charged depending on individual circumstances. A typical fee is £495.
Emash Ltd. Registered Office: 21 Navigation Business Village Navigation Way, Ashton-On-Ribble, Preston, Lancashire, England, PR2 2YP. Registered in England Number: 11735831.