Buying a house can feel like a daunting experience, especially for first time buyers or those who haven’t moved in a while. If you’re thinking about buying your first home or making a move, watch our short video which explains how to buy a house step by step. This will help give you a better understanding of the processes involved and will hopefully help to make your house buying journey a smoother and more enjoyable experience.
You’ve found a new home to buy, now what?
It can feel daunting, but with our step by step guide breaking down the process, you can gain a better understanding to help make the house buying journey, a smoother and more enjoyable experience.
First step of buying a house: Get that mortgage
Before you start looking for, and viewing, houses, it’s a good idea to have a mortgage offer in principle. This will allow you to start the process searching for houses that you know are within your budget and that a mortgage lender will likely provide you a mortgage for. Additionally, in more competitive housing markets, estate agents will only allow people to go to property viewings if they can prove they have a mortgage offer in principle.
If you want to get independent advice on mortgage rates, you can speak to a specialist mortgage advisor. Be sure to apply for your mortgage as early as possible to help avoid delays further down the line.
Step 2: Instruct a conveyancer for your house purchase
Once you’ve had your offer accepted on the house you are buying, it’s time to get the ball rolling and select a conveyancer to act on your behalf, so the legal work can begin.
Step 3: Perform conveyancing searches
Your conveyancer will arrange searches of Land Registry and local authority information. These searches are an important part of the process as they check for potential issues with the property you’re purchasing and the surrounding land, searches are also compulsory when using a mortgage for your house purchase.
Step 4: Arrange surveys on the house you are buying
Your mortgage lender will perform a desk-based survey to establish the property’s valuation however you may also want to get an additional survey (such as a home buying survey) at an additional cost, to check for any issues with the property itself. Home buying surveys are usually a good investment when buying a house, as although they come at an additional cost, they provide an insight into the overall condition of the property which could help you plan for future expenses.
Step 5: Issue of contract
Your conveyancer will examine the documents provided and raise enquiries with the seller. This includes ironing out any issues found as a result of the searches or surveys performed on your house and any queries you have raised.
Step 6: Mortgage confirmed
Although you don’t need your funds released yet, your mortgage lender will need to confirm approval of the mortgage for the house you are buying, before you can exchange contracts.
Step 7: Pay the deposit for the house you are buying
You will need to pay the deposit to your conveyancer. Depending on how long there will be between exchange and completion they may also ask for the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (which is also known as Land Transaction Tax in Wales), and the conveyancing fees at this stage too. If you want to find out how much Stamp Duty Land Tax you will be required to pay, you can use calculators available on websites such as gov.uk. You pay the deposit and Stamp Duty Land Tax at this stage, so that the process isn’t delayed further down the line due to funds not being ready.
Step 8: Agree moving dates
As you can now set a provisional moving date with the seller and the rest of the chain, it’s a good time to start getting quotes for removals. This will help you to budget for the cost as it can often cost a lot more than you were expecting, especially if moving from one property to another. To make sure your move runs like clockwork, check out our handy moving house checklist.
Step 9: Exchange contracts
When the contracts have been exchanged, it becomes official, you are now legally obliged to buy the house… Exciting!
Step 10: Completing your house purchase
Before you can get the keys to your new home, on completion day, your conveyancer will transfer the rest of the money to the seller. The property is now officially yours and you can finally move in!
The final step of buying a house: Post completion
Following completion of your new house purchase, your conveyancer will let the Land Registry know you are the new owner of your home and arrange to transfer the funds if you had Stamp Duty Land Tax or Land Transaction Tax to pay.
You can now enjoy your new home.
If you’re thinking of buying a house, you can use our online conveyancing quote calculator to get a personalised conveyancing cost for your house move.