Buying a House
Buying your first home is possibly the biggest decision you will ever make both for your finances and your day-to-day life. It will usually take somewhere between two to three months to buy a home but it can be longer than this if you are buying as part of a chain or there are complications along the way.
There are five main stages:
- Finding a property
- Putting in an offer
- Legal checks and surveys
- Exchange – putting a deposit down on the house
- Completion – the rest of the money is paid in exchange for the keys and deeds
Finding a property
Although everyone wants to find their dream home it’s important to be realistic and look for places that suit your needs and you can afford now. From the start of your search you should separate things you need in a home from those it would be nice to have e.g. you may want to have to spare bedroom but it’s not essential.
Keep an open mind about the kind of property you would like, you may have pictured yourself living in a Georgian terrace or a penthouse apartment but your preferred option may be well outside of your budget. A different type of home may also suit your needs better and be more affordable. Looking at online property listings and speaking to local estate agents should give you an idea of the kind of properties available in the area you would like to buy in and typical asking prices.
Mortgage agreement in principle
The biggest cost to think about when buying a home is the mortgage. In order to find the right mortgage you will need to look at a number of things such as how big a deposit you have, how much you can afford in repayments every month and property prices. Our how much can I borrow? calculator and mortgage repayment calculator should help you with this.
If you think you are unlikely to afford the kind of property you would like just using your own savings it may be worth considering other options including shared ownership or shared equity or getting help from family or parents.
Although lenders will not give you a mortgage until you have settled on a property you can often get a mortgage agreement in principle. This agreement means that as long as you meet certain requirements such as a satisfactory property valuation the lender will give you a mortgage.
Having a mortgage agreement in principle is really helpful for demonstrating to someone selling their home that you are serious about buying it and it’s one less thing to worry about later in the buying process.
But bear in mind that every time you ask for an agreement in principle lenders will do a credit check and this will go on your file. Having a number of credit checks on you file over a short period may damage you credit rating so you should only ask for an agreement from a lender that you’d really like to borrow from.
Our advisers will help you to identify the right mortgage for you, and using our expertise aim to get an agreement in place with the recommended lender, avoiding the need for lots of different credit checks.
Speak to an impartial mortgage adviser
There are a lot of different things to consider when buying a property our advisers can help you to think about what right options are for you. Speak to a Which? mortgage adviser by calling us on 0117 981 7787 – or request a call back. Our advisers look at every mortgage from every available lender and because they’re paid a salary –not a sales commission – you can have confidence that you’ll receive truly impartial advice.