Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Stages of Buying A House*

Buying a house is no walk in the park let me tell you. We had many, many house viewings before we thought we had found 'the one'. Sadly that wasn't the case as we had to pull out after having the homebuyers report completed; cutting a long story short the chimney stack was falling down and roof needed completely redoing (yep, the alarm bells started ringing when we saw that as there was no way we could afford the repairs). Thankfully we were able to pull our offer, and continue our search. We found our house a couple of weeks later, we had put an offer in on 2nd February 2016 and all legal work was completed for 26th May 2016, for a move in date 1st June 2016 - and we've been living happily ever after since!
This post is basically a summary of the stages we went through for the purchase of our house, 
Baring in mind I am no expert on the house buying process, I am simply sharing my experience of the process. 

The Stages

Find out how much you can borrow from the mortgage lender - Obviously this is quite important to do before you start your search so that you know what your price range is. You don't want to be looking at houses worth millions when you can only borrow £100,000!

Start your house search - This can be both really fun and really daunting. We must have looked at over 20 houses before we found ours. Stay strong people, you'll find it eventually!

Get an agreement/decision in principle - Basically this is a statement from the mortgage lender stating they are prepared to lend you the money for the house. You will need to obtain an agreement in principle to prove to the estate agent that you can actually afford to purchase the house once you have put an offer in. 

Put an offer in - For me this was the most nerve wracking, yet exciting part. We had to email our offer to the estate agents who then passed it along to the seller. As you can probably tell we were eagerly awaiting their phone call to tell us they'd agreed on the price. Our offer was subject to survery, meaning we wanted to purchase the house but could pull out if required depending on the results of the survey. 

Find a conveyancer (solicitor) - This is basically your legal representative for the whole process. They will deal with all of the paperwork side of the purchase, and will complete all of the relevant searches on the property. Its important to do your research for this part and compare conveyancing companies. I found it super easy to compare conveyancing quotes here

Have a survey completed - I couldn't stress the importance of this stage enough. This was an essential step for us during both attempts at purchasing. Thanks to this report we had found the faults of the first house before we had purchased it, and were able to pull out before landing ourselves with thousands of pounds worth of debt. The report on the second house (or our current house should I say) has given us an idea of what we need to get looked at over time, and has allowed us to get some problems fixed already. 

Finalise the mortgage application - This part involves its adding in all of the important information such as your employment and outgoings information, the estate agents and conveyancer's contact details, and bank account details for the person who will be paying the mortgage. 

Fixtures and fittings report - This is a form which will be filled in by the seller and sent through the solicitors for you to look at. It is basically a list of all of the fixtures and fittings within the house - it will state what the seller is taking with them, what they are leaving for you, and may even feature some items that they are offering up for sale (of course you don't have to purchase them!)

Legal Searches - This is the stage that took the longest to be completed for us, it must have been at least 2 months to get everything back. Searches included a land registry search, water and drainage search, local search, a flood risk report (etc... I'm guessing you catch my drift, all really interesting documents!). Of course the searches are really important for the purchase of the property, but I guess we all get a little impatient sometimes. 

Paying deposit and solicitor fees - Yep, so that big chunk of money you've been saving for what seems like forever.. send it right over to the solicitor! I have to admit it was a sad moment to see it go, but a bit of a relief to know we had nearly finally made it to the end of the process. 

Exchanging Contracts -  The most important stage of the process. Finalising all of the details and signing it all off. We surprisingly received the contracts for the house in the post to sign and send back. I was fully expecting to get called in and have to rush down after work one night to have a big meeting with us on one side and the seller on the other, but no. A simple signature and we were home owners! Pretty great if you ask me. 

Get the keys and move in! - Breathe that big sigh of relief because you can finally settle in to that wonderful new home of yours! I've got to admit it is a pretty great feeling knowing you actually own a house. I will never forget my first night staying here - sleepless, lying on the floor with no internet, food or lights for that matter, but I felt right at home. 

I hope this helps with your understanding of the whole process if you're looking to buy!

*In collaboration with


  1. Great post - we got lucky when we were looking for our house as we only viewed about 5 before finding "The One." It was a little more expensive than we wanted, but sometimes you've got to pay a little more to have the perfect place. The stages above are exactly what we went through too in buying our house, minus having to pull out, what a shame for you! Glad you managed to get somewhere you can call home though! x x

  2. We're going to be going through this next year; so it's really great to know all the stages!! No doubt I'll be bugging you with questions when it gets nearer the time!!!

    Siobhan |