Buying a new home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make during your lifetime, so it needs to be considered carefully. The home-buying process is complex and often a lengthy process – but if you can get your head around the basics of how it works, you’re less likely to be taken by surprise along the way and your home-buying experience will undoubtedly be easier.

Follow these steps below to guide you through the buying process:

Get your finances in order

The very first step for buying a new home is to check how much you can borrow, see how much your deposit will need to be and get a mortgage agreed in principle.

A mortgage agreement in principle (AIP) is a confirmation from a mortgage lender that they would, in principle, be willing to lend you a certain amount. Having an AIP can make you a more attractive buyer, as it shows the seller that you will be able to secure the amount of money you need to buy the property. Doing this doesn’t tie you into anything – you can always choose a different provider later.

Start Saving

You will usually need to build up a deposit of at least 5% of the price of the property you want to buy. Remember to budget for the additional costs of buying a property, such as conveyancing, surveys and – depending on the cost of the property and whether you’re a first-time buyer – stamp duty.

Find your dream home

Now for the exciting bit – choosing a home. You can search our current homes here

Put your current home on the market

Instruct an estate agent to sell your current home – if you have a home to sell. Do this sooner rather than later. Even if you think your home will sell there are all sorts of things that can crop up to delay the process, from reduced offers, legal paperwork, to being in a chain which can ultimately scupper your plans of moving into your new home.

Find a solicitor

A solicitor takes care of all the legal aspects of the home-buying process. Remember to shop around for the best rate and make sure you find one that specialises in conveyancing (this includes preparing the property transfer documents, carrying out searches, drawing up and checking contracts, dealing with the Land Registry and paying any stamp duty).

Reserve your home

Now you’ve got your finances in order and found a solicitor, it’s time to reserve your dream home. Once your home is reserved, no one else will be able to reserve it for the agreed amount of time, typically 28 days.

Arrange your mortgage

There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to a mortgage. Once you’ve done your research (or spoken to a mortgage adviser) you can select the option that’s best for you.

Get a valuation and survey

Your mortgage lender will want confirmation the home is worth what you’re paying for it. They’ll organise the valuation for you – this will involve a fee.

The survey checks the condition of your new home.

Complete legal work

Your solicitor will look after this for you. It’s all about formally transferring ownership from us to you (known as conveyancing), and checking there are no legal obstacles in the way.

Exchange contracts

Once the legal work is complete, your solicitor will exchange contracts with us. This is when you pay your deposit and commit to the deal taking place.

We’ll then invite you to your New Home Handover, where we’ll take you round your new home and show you where things are and how everything works. You can now organise your move.

Arrange home insurance

It’s vital that you have buildings insurance in place on your new home from the day you exchange contracts – in fact, most mortgage providers will make this a condition of lending. This is because you are legally bound to buy the property from the moment contracts are exchanged, so if the building were to be flooded or burn down before the day of completion and you weren’t insured, you wouldn’t be covered. As you are buying a new-build property, the insurance doesn’t need to come into effect until the day of completion.

Complete and move in

On the date of completion, you become the legal owner of your new home. The full cost of the property is transferred from your solicitor to the seller. Then the keys are yours and you can move in!

*The following information is about the home-buying process in England, this does not include Scotland

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