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Buying a house – what do you need to know?

Buying a house – what do you need to know?

It might be a bit of a cliché, but there’s a lot of truth in the common complaint that buying a home is an extremely stressful business.

However, a lot depends on the preparation you make going into the process. Decent research and being organised will go a long way to helping you keep on top of the situation and, hopefully, staying calmer than you otherwise might.

Here are the key elements you should pay close attention to:

Get cleaned up

To get the best possible mortgage deal, or any kind of deal at all, you need to make sure your credit rating is up to scratch. Access your credit file via one of the big providers, such as Experian or Equifax, to see if there are any issues; both provide plenty of advice for improving your credit score, if needed.

Can you afford it?

When you work out if you have a big enough deposit for the mortgage (usually 5% minimum), make sure you can also afford the extra costs associated with buying that you need to pay, such as solicitor fees and stamp duty.

‘Must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’

Decide on ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ as it could save you a lot of pointless viewings. A garden might be a ‘must have’, but a big bathroom with separate shower only a ‘nice to have’, for example.

Be flexible on location

If you can only afford properties which you think might be too small in your favourite area, have a good look around any adjoining, cheaper areas. You may find the ‘look and feel’ isn’t that much different.

Get friendly with agents

Estate agents aren’t renowned for their trustworthiness (many unfairly), but, like them or not, it’s a good idea to get to personally know the main players in the areas you’re looking in; it could mean the difference between snapping up your dream home or losing out.

Haggle like hell

Don’t forget that the advertised price of a property isn’t what you have to pay, even if it’s shown as ‘offers in excess of’. In most cases, start with a bid lower than you might want to eventually pay.

Get a good surveyor

A good surveyor could save you thousands of pounds and help prevent you from buying a property black hole that’s about to sink into the ground! Try and get a recommendation from friends and family, and go for one with good local knowledge.

Get a good solicitor

Many people go for the cheapest solicitor they can find to do their conveyancing work, but often regret it later when they get terrible service. As with surveyors, try and get a locally-based recommendation.

Sort out home insurance

Don’t leave house insurance to the last minute as getting the best deal can potentially save hundreds of pounds each year. If nothing else, getting a quote early on in the process could throw up some useful information that you might not have found out otherwise, such as if the property is situated in an area prone to flooding.

Policy Expert 

If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare home insurance quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit for more ways to reach us.


Published 24 October 2017