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How to buy a house: 10 important tips

Buying a house can be a huge task, and the process can sometimes feel never ending. To help, we've put assembled our top ten house buying tips to simplify your next move.

How to buy a house: 10 important tips

1. Get to grips with the key terms

When stepping onto the property ladder, house buying jargon can become complicated. Getting to know the key moving terms before you make an offer can help to ensure the transaction runs smoothly and quickly.

Have a look at our glossary, where you can find the key terms for buying a house, as well as their definitions. This will make every stage of the process clearer.

2. Calculate the cost of buying a house

Your outgoings when buying a house aren’t limited to the deposit. So, it's important to consider the other costs involved with purchasing a property when deciding your budget.

Our quick Moving Costs Calculator which will give estimate prices for:

If you are a First Time Buyer and have been renting a furnished property, there will also be the cost of buying new furniture. It may be worth checking sites like Freecycle where you can find furniture for free in your area.

3. Sell before you buy

Searching for a new home is exciting. Sometimes it can be tempting to search for your dream home before your current property is not yet on the market. It is important to not get carried away and fall in love with a house before you have a buyer. This is because you may lose out on the house of your dreams to someone with the funds already available.

Selling your house before buying a new one is almost always more lucrative, but this can become complicated. In many ways it can actually be easier to buy a home as a First Time Buyer, as they're only dealing with one transaction.

4. Get a mortgage ‘agreement in principle’

Before applying for a mortgage and buying a house, you should get an ‘agreement in principle’. This is a confirmation in writing stating how much your mortgage broker is prepared to lend you to buy a property.

Having an ‘agreement in principle’ may give you an advantage over other potential buyers. This is because sellers will know you are a serious home buyer and have the necessary finances. You'll then have the best chance of securing the house you have made an offer on.

Not only this, but knowing the amount a mortgage lender will lend you helps determine your maximum budget for the house search.

5. Check out the neighbourhood (at different times)

The last thing you want after an exhausting moving day is the sound of blaring music from the neighbour’s house until midnight. A perfect house at 10am may not seem as good during the evenings. So it is a good idea to view your potential property on more than one occasion and at different times of the day.

Have a wander around the neighbourhood and talk to the local residents. Check out local parks, shops and cafes. Make sure you would feel safe in your new home. Depending on how long you are planning to stay in your new home, it might also be worth investigating the local school options.

You should also remember to take photos inside properties when you view them. Taking photos helps you remember and distinguish the different properties you've seen during your viewings. Also, if you suddenly realise you forgot to check something, you might be able to just have a look at the photos. The seller might not be best pleased if you keep popping back to check up on little things!

In addition to this, you should also check the Government's Planning Portal. With this, you can find out whether any large scale building works are planned to take place. If there is, it may reduce your enjoyment of the area and the price of your potential future house when you sell on.

6. Research how much to offer

Online property searches can, of course, show you potential houses to buy. It can also show how much similar properties in the local area have sold for, or are currently on the market for. This will aid you in knowing what would be a reasonable offer for the house you have your eye on, as you can gage what the property is worth. Sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove are a good starting point for such searches.

Any findings in your house survey report may provide an opportunity to renegotiate on the purchase price. This is because it will indicate any structural problems and how much it will cost to repair. A valuation can also be done to ensure you're not offering more than the market value of the property.

7. Ask the seller to take it off the market

It may be that you've found your dream house and you're ready to make an offer. You can make the offer on the condition that the house gets taken off the market. This will remove the possibility of someone making a higher offer. Nobody wants to be gazumped after agreeing on a sale.

8. Only use professionals

You will need a conveyancing solicitor to manage the paperwork and legal aspects of the sale. This is only after your offer has been accepted. You'll also need to arrange for a property survey to take place to make sure the property is ready to go. You can then hire a removals company to ensure the safety of your belongings on moving day.

It may be tempting to deem the Mortgage Valuation as sufficient. But it's important to get an independent survey from a RICS surveyor for a detailed inspection. This will more thoroughly give you a sense of the condition of the house.

It's vital that you ensure the firms involved with your move are professional and reliable. At reallymoving we only partner with respected and experienced firms to give you confidence in your choice of professionals. You can also check their genuine customer feedback through us.

9. Communicate

It's best not to go on holiday between putting an offer on a house and the day of completion. Be present to be kept up to date on progress. You will also be in a better place to ask questions on anything you are not sure of or confused about. It's important you don’t ignore something you don’t understand.

The timeline for buying a house can be varied and many things can affect how long it takes to move. These factors can include whether you're in a chain, or tied up in a rental agreement, or have a limited budget. Be patient and take comfort in the fact that you will almost be done with all of the paperwork!

10. Book your movers

Make sure to book in a date to move in advance, and find a team who can accommodate all your items. Bear in mind any furniture that needs to be disassembled and reassembled, and pack any breakables with care. Be sure to allow access for your movers and warn them if you're on higher floor flat (and if there's no lift!). There's no reason buying a house must be stressful, and by booking in advance, you can make sure your move is stress-free too.

Why not take a look at and download our moving guides for a comprehensive list of who you need to contact and what you will need to do and consider during your moving process. Our Moving Home Timeline can also keep track of the moving process, checking off each stage you have completed.

And don't forget to congratulate yourself - buying a house is a big decision with lots of things to remember. Be sure to celebrate buying your home with a bottle of bubbly and lots of photographs!



Updated November 2023

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