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A Step by Step Guide to the Homebuying Process

It's an exciting step, deciding to embark on the journey of buying your first home. It can all feel a bit overwhelming, but actually the process has a pretty simple structure. 


We've put together this guide to walk you through the whole process, step by step. We'll cover everything from getting your finances in order to finding the right property and arranging a mortgage.

Don't forget, we're with you throughout the process so call at any time to discuss the details or any concerns.

Step 1: Get Your Finances In Order

The first step for anyone looking to buy a home is to get your finances in order. They don't have to be perfect by any means but you'll certainly want to have saved a deposit. This will need to be 5% or more of the purchase price of the property you want to buy. The more you have as a deposit the more options you'll have with the types of properties you can purchase and and the interest rate you secure.

It's also best to aim to have a good credit score, so make sure you pay your bills on time and keep your credit utilisation low.


Funds will need to be set aside for stamp duty costs if applicable, and solicitors costs which vary from £1,500 - £3,000 per purchase, you can request quotes from solicitors upfront and they will offer a fixed price. I have included the stamp duty calculator in the useful links section of the first time buyers hub


It's wise to also set aside savings for an emergency fund for any unforeseen expenses. 

Step 2: Define Your Budget

We should have our initial discussion while you're getting your finances in order to help you to prepare in the right way and set priorities. It might also surprise you to learn which aspects of your finances are more important than others.

We'll not only review your finances but will also put together an affordability tested Mortgage Budget, you can find out more about this initial meeting Here.

If there are any credit concerns we will run a agreement in principle (AIP) at the earliest stage. This is a document from a lender that states how much they are willing to lend you and will ensure you pass the lenders credit requirements. An AIP is not a guarantee of a mortgage but a good first step and estate agents like an agreement in principle at when you submit your offer on a property. 

The amount you can borrow and afford on a monthly basis will directly impact your property search and so this is an important first step. 

Step 3: Find Your Property & Negotiate Your Price 

Once you have found a property that you want to buy, you will need to make an offer to the seller. The offer should be in writing and should include the price you are willing to pay which fits the budget provided after our initial appointment. At this point, it's wise to question the Estate Agent on your position in the chain and expected completion timescales. 


Step 4: Offer Acceptance 

When your offer on a property has been accepted by the seller, this is the time to let us know the property details, the final purchase price, your deposit and your solicitors details.

We'll go away and research the best possible rate for you and put together a comprehensive mortgage recommendation. We'll schedule a meeting to review the details together. Once you're happy with the recommendation we'll start the application process.


For this next step you will need to have instructed a solicitor as we will need their details to add to the application

Step 5: Your Mortgage Application will be Submitted 

The mortgage application should be submitted very soon after your offer has been accepted, in fact the sooner the better, same day if possible. 

Mortgage applications can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks with some cases falling outside of that timeframe and we certainly don't want your financing to hold up your purchase. 

Mortgage offers are usually valid for around 6-months, please see our mortgage process guide for more information on this step.

Step 6: Complete the Legal Process

The legal process involves several steps, including searches, surveys, and preparing the purchase contract. Your solicitor or conveyancer will handle these steps on your behalf, ensuring that all legal requirements are met.

This part of the process usually takes the longest, at roughly 2-4 months total. 

It is worth keeping in touch with your solicitor every week or two for updates and to make sure your purchase is progressing. 

Your solicitor will receive their own version of the mortgage offer from the lender and will request the mortgage funds directly at around a week before your expected completion date. 

Step 7: Exchange contracts

Once the legal work is complete and your mortgage offer has been secured you will set a date to exchange contracts. 

The exchange of contracts is the point of no return, this is where you will sign a legally binding contract to purchase the property. At the same time you'll submit your deposit to your solicitor ready for completion.

If you decide to pull out of the sale after exchange of contracts and break this legally binding contract you are at a very high risk of losing your deposit.  

Step 8: Completion

This is an agreed date where your deposit funds and the mortgage funds are transferred from your solicitor to the sellers solicitor. This completes the sale and you finally get the keys to your new home! 

You will receive a letter shortly after completion from your mortgage lender detailing your first payment and the date is will be deducted from your account. 

The amount of your first mortgage payment will be determined by your completion date and where it falls in the month. Mortgage interest is charged on a daily basis. 

The first mortgage payment will likely be more than your usual payments so please make sure to provision for this. 


We're Here To Help

At Boulter Mortgages, we are experts in helping first time buyers get on the property ladder. We can help you with everything from getting your finances in order to finding the right property, guidance through the buying process and arranging your mortgage. We will work with you to find the best mortgage for your needs that fits your budget, and we will be there to support you every step of the way.


We can't wait to help you on your journey to home ownership!


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