Essential Checklist for Buying a House | AD

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Buying a house is an incredibly exciting and rewarding thing to do. However, it is also a big commitment and so it is important you consider everything fully beforehand. Here is an essential checklist for things to do when buying a house.

Get Your Finances in Order

The first thing that you should do when looking into buying a house is to take an honest assessment of your finances. Determine whether buying is right for you at this stage and if you need to sell your current property beforehand. Once you have this determined, decide on a budget. At this point it is a good idea to work out exactly what you can afford, both for a deposit and in monthly payments towards your mortgage, unless you are buying the property outright of course!

Spend some time ensuring that your finances are fully in order before you take any further steps. Buying a house is not something to jump into without ample preparation and you don’t want to end up living somewhere you cannot afford. Do the hard work beforehand to make the rest of the process easier. Many people assume that having bad credit absolutely precludes them from ever owning a home, but that is not the case. With a bad credit mortgage, individuals with a poor credit score can still qualify for a loan and purchase a home of their own. While interest rates on a bad credit mortgage are often higher than those offered to someone with good credit, this type of loan provides accessible homeownership opportunities to those who may otherwise be unable to take advantage of traditional bank loans. Bad credit mortgages prove that anyone can realise their dream of owning property, regardless of financial standing.

Find the Right Property for You

Now comes the exciting part – looking at properties. Determine exactly what you are looking for in a home. Do you need multiple bedrooms or outside space? Are you looking for somewhere open-plan or snug and cosy? By considering exactly what you want and need from a new home, you can narrow down your search considerably. It is always a good idea to be flexible – something might surprise you – however, it is wise to have a firm list of “must-haves” that allows you to exclude properties that definitely wouldn’t work for you.

Another very important factor is location. Decide where you would like to live and why. Perhaps you would like to live in the city centre amongst all of the shops and restaurants but for what will likely be a higher price. Or maybe you would prefer to live somewhere more rural but without as many amenities. There is a balance to be found, so consider carefully exactly what you are looking for.

Typical English house with a garden

Make an Offer

Once you have found your perfect house, it is time to make an offer. Hopefully, this will all go smoothly and your offer will be accepted – this is not always the case though! Once you do have an offer accepted, you can arrange a mortgage. This will depend on many factors such as your deposit amount and income. If you have a clear view of your finances before this point, it will make the whole process far easier and less stressful, as well as speeding everything up and getting you into your new home as quickly as possible.

Hire a Solicitor

At this stage, you will need to hire a solicitor or a conveyancer to take the next steps. They will handle the legal side of transferring ownership of the house over to you. This is an involved and complicated process that needs to be handled by a professional. Sometimes, mortgage lenders will require you to use their own solicitor or conveyancer but if not, have a look at all of the options available to you. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with their role and the process beforehand, that way you know what to look for and can make the best choice for who you wish to handle your purchase.

Decide if You Want a Survey

Mortgage companies usually require a survey of the house before they can offer you a mortgage. However, this is only a surface-level examination of the property to see if property is suitable to be lent against. You may wish to have a full survey done yourself in order to fully assess the condition the property is in. Unless you are very experienced with property, it is wise to have a full survey performed before purchasing.

The cost of a house survey will vary depending on the type of survey you wish to have performed. You can choose to have a surface-level survey performed, which will look at the superficial condition of the property but might not look into deeper problems. These types of surveys are usually reserved for new properties and those in very good condition. The most common type of survey, a homebuyer’s report, will give a more in-depth overview of the property and will highlight both surface-level and deeper issues. Consider what type of survey is best for you depending on the property.

Exchange Contracts & Final Bits

You’re almost done now! Once everything else is in place, all that’s left to do is complete the sale. This includes paying a deposit, exchanging contracts, and finalising any smaller details, such as furniture and appliances with the seller. You can then complete the sale and the property will be transferred into your ownership.

Once you have moved in, there are a few final things to clear up. You will need to pay stamp duty and any bills you may have incurred during the process, such as with the solicitor or conveyancer. However, when you have all of that arranged, you will finally be able to relax and enjoy your new home!

This may seem like a somewhat intimidating list of things that are required in order to buy a house but by preparing beforehand and knowing exactly what you need to do, you will make the whole process far smoother and quicker.

Planning to Invest in Property


  • Donna Wishart

    Donna Wishart is married to Dave and they have two children, Athena (12) and Troy (11). They live in Surrey with their two cats, Fred and George. Once a Bank Manager, Donna has been writing about everything from family finance to days out, travel and her favourite recipes since 2012. Donna is happiest either exploring somewhere new, with her camera in her hand and family by her side or snuggled up with a cat on her lap, reading a book and enjoying a nice cup of tea. She firmly believes that tea and cake can fix most things.

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