House Buying Process

Here at mortgage map we have loads of help and information for you on the UK house buying process. 

We get asked "what is the process for buying a house?" more often than any other. You will be reassured to know that since Dec 2004 when "" started it has helped on average 1,500 people per month with that question, so that's over 144,000 people just like you.

We will show you the house buying process step by step and arm you with valuable knowledge that will give you more bargaining power when it comes to buying a property.

Buying a property and the mortgage process are constantly shifting sands that evolve with each legislation change and innovation in the market place.

You will certainly find that spending the time to read this is time well spent or if you prefer you can just ask for a “Free Quote” and a Mortgage Adviser can phone you to talk you through the process.



House Buying Stages

Getting approval for a mortgage, known as an "Agreement in Principle" (AIP) is the first step. It is a HUGE advantage to do this even before you start to look at houses for sale. (Or flat’s etc.)

You need to have a clear idea of how much you can borrow and the AIP will also add a huge amount of weight to your “offer” when you attempt to buy a property. If you have the mortgage ready and waiting you are in a much better bargaining position than someone who doesn't even know if they are going to be accepted for a mortgage or not.

The banks and building societies have tightened up their lending criteria to such an extent these days that a really high proportion of people are getting declined for a mortgage. Even people who have owned a house for years and have a track record are now finding themselves trapped as they cannot move or even remortgage their existing property.

Finding the Right Property

So armed with an AIP and the amount of deposit you have (or equity in the house you are selling) you now have your budget so you can start the house search.

With the knowledge you gained from getting approved first, (AIP) you will know what the monthly mortgage cost is going to be. It is more comforting to go into a home understanding the costs involved rather than falling in love with a home and not knowing if it is in your price range or not.

One of the key stages of buying a house is the viewing. However, it is not always easy to know how to prepare for this, what to look for, what questions to ask and how to ensure you have the full picture.

Here are some tips that you might find helpful and a checklist of things to look for and questions to ask about the property and its location. Even prior to viewing a property do some detective work, there is no point even going if it doesn't meet your requirements.

Carry out viewings in the hours of daylight whenever possible.

If you really like a property try to arrange to view it again at a different time of the day to give you a different perspective. You don’t even have to arrange a viewing, just drive up and park near by, at different times and days of the week, so you can just listen. Does your potential new neighbour rev a motorbike? Have noisy parties every weekend? Etc.

Do your homework; one couple bought a house during the main seven-week school holiday so didn't realise that when the children were at school it was complete bedlam outside their house from 8.30 – 9.00 and 3.30- 4.00 each day. If they had known they would never have purchased the property in the first place.

As it your money and lots of it you are parting with don’t shy away from asking direct and pertannent questions you might have. Take your time, be nosy and don’t be pressurised by the estate agent or seller (vendor) into making an offer.

Things bear in mind as you look around a property, and some things you might like to enquire about:

Is it in a conservation area or grade ll listed any restricted covenants on it.

Does anything come withing the purchase price such as carpets and curtains?

Council Tax band, electricity, gas, water bill sizes.

What is the reason they want to move?

How old is the heating system?

If the house has been improved or extended does it have planning consent or have the relevant building regulations been met?

Is there subsidence in the area?

Of course you will get the property fully checked out by a surveyor before you buy but a lot of these simple things you can find out before you even go as far as putting an offer in and getting a property valuation done.

Choosing an Area

A house is a house but the area it is in makes all the difference. You may well know where you’d like to live and if your budget allows that’s great. If not then you can try and get as close to your chosen area as possible or buy somewhere up and coming.

Largely, what you look for in a home is up to you. There are some constants in house buying of course. Try to keep the emotions in check, bear in mind that you're making an investment, and choose your property accordingly.

Although you are buying your first house, remember you will sell it one day.

If you’re next-door neighbour is an airport, your resale value will be impaired, no matter how lovely or charming the house is.

Most of these cautions are just common sense. You can get help and advice from the estate agent but remember they work for the seller not the buyer. They only get paid when they sell a property.

Your agent will know the area where you want to buy, including what's going on in the local market, and the community.

Your home has to meet your needs. Your home will most likely be one of the largest purchases of your lifetime. It's especially important not to buy too quickly, or because you are eager to get into a home.

Defining what exactly you're looking for in a home can be time-consuming, but will save you time, energy and money in the long run.

Get your priorities in order, what is the number one thing the house must have and number two and so on. 

Keep the list of priorities in mind as you make your viewings.

Important considerations include everything from affordability to ample cupboard space, the style of home, size and location of property, proximity to bus stops, and condition (i.e. fixer-upper, move-in ready).

If you have strong feelings about particular items, keep them in mind throughout your search.

Plan to look at a wide range of homes before making the decision to buy. Take a camera or use the one on your phone so you can remind yourself when you get home of what the house was like.

Have a note pad (or iPad these days) so you don't forget the important things after you have left the property. Sometimes if you see two or three in a day its easy to forget which house had what!

Beware of the Estate Agents Mortgage Adviser

This is our biggest tip: We suggest that you get expert “Independent” help when it comes to mortgage advice on your first house. Beware of dealing with the estate agents mortgage adviser as they are on the side of the seller not yours.

It is best not to tell them all your financial details, keep your cards close to your chest. The estate agent will tell you they have to “vet” anyone who puts an offer in as they have “a duty to the vendor” The truth is they will just use it as an opportunity to try and “sell” you their mortgage service.

As long as you have your funds in place you can just assure them of that fact and make the offer. The absolute worst estate agents will try and pretend that if you don’t speak to their mortgage adviser they will not put your offer to the vendor.

Don’t let them get away with this type of nonsense, if necessary drop a letter with your offer in it through the door directly to the vendor and make sure they know the type of estate agent they are dealing with.

What are the Costs Involved?

Well solicitors fees, valuation fees mortgage arrangement fees, the list goes on. All these items need to come out of your budget and there is always the unexpected. If the boiler in your home breaks down only once in the next 20 years it will probably be 2 months after you first move it. It’s just Murphy’s Law.

Mortgage Basics

Most people will need a mortgage to buy a property. These are loans secured against your home operated by banks and building societies.

Mortgages are typically paid back over 25 years at a specified interest rate. The Bank of England fixes the base interest rate, but lenders can offer a range of products at varying interest rates.

Get advice, before borrowing money to buy your home. Take time to consider all the costs involved and the choices available. You can either approach the lenders directly, but if you do visit as many as you possibly can as they will all promote their mortgage range as being right for you, or talk to a mortgage adviser or broker.

If you do see a mortgage broker make sure it is one who can source the entire mortgage market not just a panel of half a dozen pre-selected lenders off their panel.

Get independent information by reading up on the subject yourself. Obviously the Internet is now proving to be a great tool for people looking to do just that.

At we are a nation-wide organisation so regardless of where you live, help is at hand.

It only takes a minute to complete the enquiry form so we can arrange a mortgage adviser to phone, to give you a quote or arrange an appointment.