Buying a house in the UK can seem complex and intimidating, especially for first-time buyers. “How do I buy a house” might sound like a silly question, but it’s really not, and it’s one that’s worth researching properly before you start the journey to home-ownership. With the right knowledge and preparation, it can even be a fulfilling and exciting experience. In this blog, we will guide you through how to buy a house in the UK.
Before anything else, it’s important to speak to a mortgage adviser as soon as you begin considering buying a house. They will be able to advise you about how much you need to save for a deposit , if your income will be sufficient to support the remaining loan amount and if there are any other potential issues that could be addressed before they are in a position to put in a mortgage application.
Step 1: Save for a deposit
Before you set about buying a house, you need to save for a deposit. The larger the deposit you can afford, the more attractive you will be to lenders and the better mortgage deals you will be able to access. The minimum deposit required is typically around 5% of the property value, although most lenders prefer a deposit of at least 10%.
Step 2: Get a mortgage agreement in principle
When you make an offer on a property, you will be asked to provide a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP) from a lender soon after agreeing a purchase. Due to this it’s advisable that you obtain an AIP before you start house hunting. An agreement in principle is a conditional offer that indicates how much a lender is willing to lend you based on your income and credit history. This will give you an idea of how much you can afford to borrow and the price range of properties you should be looking at.
Step 3: Find a property
Once you have saved for a deposit, the next step is to find a property. The most popular online property service is currently RightMove. It’s also worth looking at alternative websites and apps such as Zoopla and On the Market as these sometimes show properties that are being sold by smaller independent agents that you won’t find elsewhere.
Step 4: Make an offer
Once you have found a property you like, you can make an offer through the estate agent. The offer should be based on how much you can afford and how much the property is worth. The seller can either accept, reject, or counter your offer. If they accept, you move on to the next step.
Step 5: Hire a solicitor
Once your offer has been accepted, you need to hire a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of the purchase. They will handle the transfer of ownership, search for any legal issues with the property, and manage the exchange of funds.
Step 6: Arrange a survey
Before you exchange contracts, it’s a good idea to arrange a survey of the property. This will identify any potential problems with the property, such as structural issues or damp. This information can be used to negotiate a lower price or to withdraw from the purchase if the problems are too severe.
There are 3 levels of survey that can be arranged outlined below.
- Mortgage Valuation: This is the most basic type of survey and is often required by mortgage lenders to determine the value of the property. It is primarily done for the benefit of the lender and does not provide a comprehensive report on the condition of the property.
- Homebuyer’s Report: This is a mid-level survey that provides a more detailed assessment of the property’s condition. It includes an inspection of the main aspects of the property, such as the structure, interior, and exterior, and highlights any significant issues that may affect its value. It may also provide a valuation and an estimation of repair costs.
- Building Survey (formerly known as a Structural Survey): This is the most comprehensive type of survey and is suitable for older properties, larger properties, or properties with known issues. It involves a thorough inspection of all accessible parts of the property, including the structure, roof, walls, floors, and services. The surveyor will provide a detailed report on the condition of the property, identify any defects, and recommend repairs or further investigations.
Step 7: Exchange contracts
Once you and the seller have agreed on the final terms of the purchase, you can exchange contracts. This is a legally binding agreement that sets out the terms of the sale, including the price, completion date, and any conditions that need to be met before completion.
Step 8: Completion
On the day of completion, your solicitor will transfer the funds to the seller’s solicitor, and you will take ownership of the property. You will receive the keys, and the seller will vacate the property.
Buying a house in the UK can be complicated, but by following these steps and seeking advice from professionals, you can make the process smoother and more manageable. Remember to speak to your mortgage adviser as early as possible and they will guide you through all the challenges involved. Good luck with your home-buying journey!
A mortgage is a loan secured against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.