A step by step guide to the home buying process

Countdown to moving day

Once you have found the property and/or mortgage you want, you may be impatient to get things moving. Be aware that most housing transactions take three months and remortgaging at least six weeks.

Below is a step-by-step guide to what happens from the start to finish of the buying process.

Step 1

Work out how much you can borrow, either alone or preferably with the help of a mortgage broker, and get an agreement in principle from your lender. You can then work out what kind of property you can afford and start the search. Once the seller accepts your offer on the property you want, you send your mortgage application form off to the lender. The lender will then commission a valuation of the property to be carried out by a surveyor and you will be sent a copy of the report.

Step 2

You should be aware that a valuation is a rather cursory report, and it can make sense for you to commission your own more in-depth Homebuyers Report or even a detailed Buildings Inspection, particularly if you are buying an older property.

Step 3

Often your mortgage lender will help you appoint a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to take care of the legal work. You need to give them details of the property, the seller, the estate agent and the mortgage lender. You could also ask them to check out the Energy Performance Certificate, title deeds, local searches and lease details on leasehold properties (usually flats).

Step 4

The lender receives the valuation and agrees to lend you the money to buy the property. Valuations rarely conclude that a property is not worth the agreed price - given that the value of a home is, by definition, whatever price a buyer is prepared to pay for it. However, as a result of the valuation the lender may specify particular work that must be carried out before it will release the funds.

Step 5

Your solicitor will send you the legal paperwork and their bill.

Step 6

You sign the contract the solicitor has sent you and transfer deposit monies to their account. They will then come back to you with a completion date.

Step 7

At this point you are legally committed to the purchase, and if you withdraw from it you will lose your deposit. Now is the time to start arranging direct debits to pay the utility bills on the new property.

Step 8

Make sure you have buildings insurance in place.

Step 9

Phone the seller's estate agent on completion day to arrange to collect the keys.

Step 10

Collect the keys and move in.