How to Buy a House in the UK

Are you ready to buy a house in the UK? Many people dream of home ownership, but it mandates homework, legwork and considerable effort on your part. Doing your research and getting in touch with the right people can ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.


  1. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 1
    Contact a mortgage broker or advisor to get a ‘decision in principle' on the amount you can borrow to buy a house or flat. You should be prepared by having all relevant information to hand. You will more than likely be asked for your most recent payslip(s), 3 months worth of bank statements, proof of ID (passport/birth certificate/driving licence). Additionally, if you don't have the funds available yourself for a deposit and a family member or friend is gifting the deposit to you, you will need to produce a letter from the provider quoting the amount being gifted, their relationship to you, confirming that it is a non-repayable gift and confirming they have no interest in the property you are purchasing.
  2. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 2
    Obtain the services of a property solicitor to carry out the conveyancing. If you are buying the house with a friend, you should also draw up an agreement. If you are buying with a civil partner or a spouse, educate yourself on the automatic agreements that assign rights in case you split. You may well be required to use the services of a conveyancer who is approved by the mortgage lender. It is best to find out if the lender you're looking to borrow had these restrictions in place before deciding on a solicitor.
  3. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 3
    Shop for houses. Read the home information pack (HIP) and visit the house.
  4. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 4
    Make an offer. Ask the estate agent (if there is one) to take the property off the market if your offer and conditions were accepted. Be prepared to be gazumped! It is a bad practice here in the UK but it happens regularly. If you feel the property isn't worth it, then pull out. However, if your original offer was low and you have an idea of what other offer the seller has accepted, maybe you can consider issuing an even higher counter-offer to help "secure" the purchase.
  5. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 5
    Give the details of the property location and the vendor's estate agent's contact information to your conveyancer, who will begin the contractual proceedings. They will begin searches on the property such as land registry checks, local environmental checks and will raise initial enquiries with the vendors solicitor.
  6. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 6
    Get a home-buyers report or survey completed. This is optional, but if the home has asbestos, dry rot or subsidence, having a full structural survey will protect your interest.
  7. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 7
    Pay for the valuation survey carried out by the mortgage lender. If all goes well, the lender will agree to loan you the funds needed to purchase the house. The valuation and survey can often be included in one service if you pay for the valuation through the lender. Again, the lender can request that a valuation can only be carried out by an approved surveyor from their list. Be prepared for the property to be undervalued! The valuation is carried out on behalf of the lender and is likely to come back with a value lower than the market price. Make sure you can afford to make up any difference.
  8. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 8
    Send a copy of the survey report to your solicitor, who may be able to offer advice. Perhaps you can negotiate a lower price or request that remediation work be done on the house pre-sale. The solicitor will check the property. You may also want to negotiate the price for fixtures and fittings at this time. The solicitor will finalise the details of the contract and coordinate with your mortgage lender.
  9. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 9
    Pay a deposit to the solicitor. Your solicitor will exchange contracts with the seller's solicitor and send your deposit. Before the completion date, the following will take place:
    • Your solicitor will make sure that your mortgage is available by that date.
    • You and the seller will sign the property transfer deed, which will then be held by the seller's solicitor until completion. You will be required to sign the contract of exchange, the transfer (form TR1) which will need a witness signature (someone who is not related to you and has no interest in the property and the mortgage deed document (which again will require a witness signature).
    • The mortgage lender will transfer the money to your solicitor's account.
  10. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 10
    Move in on completion day. Your solicitor will transfer the money to the seller's solicitor in exchange for the transfer deed, Land Registry certificate and the keys. The transfer deed will be stamped and sent to the Land Registry to record you as the owner (your solicitor will take care of it and pay the stamp duty). The deed will then be passed to the mortgage lender.
  11. Image titled Buy a House in the UK Step 11
    Pay for the solicitor's services and costs (some solicitors request that your account with them is settled in full before completion).

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Categories: Buying Property