How to buy a house

Taking that first step onto the property ladder can be daunting, and before you even apply for a mortgage there are a lot of boxes to be ticked. Moneywise TV guides you through the process. 


Buying a home is a stressful business, and even more so if you're doing it for the very first time.

There's a lot to think about and it can seem confusing if you've never been through the process before.

The first thing to do is work out your budget.

This should include your deposit and any fees you will need to pay along the way.

For first-time buyers looking at properties under £250,000 no stamp duty will apply, but valuation and survey fees can amount to a considerable whack.

The amount you have left will be your deposit.

As a general rule, the bigger the deposit the better the mortgage deal.

While there is still the odd 95% loan to value deal on the market, you are likely to need about 15% of the loan as a deposit and for the best rates you'll need 25%.

It's also a good idea to work out the monthly payments you can afford.

One way to get an idea of the type of mortgage deal you could expect is to approach a lender and ask it to work out an agreement in principle.

This involves a credit check by the lender which will then work out the mortgage it might offer based on the property value and the size of your deposit.

You may have already found a property, or only have an idea of what you want.

But until you find the right home and have your offer accepted you won't get any further on a mortgage application.

Once you've found somewhere make an offer and ask for the property to be taken off the market. This will help protect you from gazumping, which is when somebody else makes a higher offer at the last minute and you get passed over by the seller.

It is best to hire a solicitor to help with the legal side of the purchase.

A survey will need to be done to check the property value before your lender will agree the mortgage.

Following this a contract will be drawn up, signed by yourself and the seller, and exchanged.

Completion of sale can take a number of weeks.

Be sure to communicate with your solicitor and mortgage lender to help the process go smoothly.