The Complete Guide to Buying a House in the UK 2022

Oct 16 | 6 minutes read
The Complete Guide to Buying a House in the UK 2022

While the UK property market is continuously changing, the actual process of buying a home does not.

Whether you are taking your first steps onto the property ladder or not, it is always a substantial financial commitment that should not be taken lightly.

A house buyer should expect the purchasing process to take up to three months on average. During this time, you may see several residences and collaborate with estate agents, solicitors, and surveyors before receiving the keys.

From mortgage appraisals to conveyancing, purchasers must go through a number of stages before getting their perfect home.

While buying a new house in the UK might be time-consuming, if you go in with a clear grasp of the process, you can guarantee that your transaction goes as smoothly as possible. Furthermore, knowing the property specialists that can assist you will undoubtedly streamline the house buying procedure and make your life a lot easier.

To help you prepare for your home purchase, we've put up a comprehensive guide on what to expect. We will walk you through the entire process of buying a home.

Before you begin your home-buying quest, you should be aware of the prices

Prospective buyers should have a solid notion of how much the complete procedure will cost before they even begin looking into the house buying process.

Aside from acquiring the deposit and subsequent mortgage payments, you will also need to pay stamp duty, solicitor costs, and property insurance. Furthermore, you don't want to forget little responsibilities like paying for a moving company when you eventually get your hands on the keys.

You can ensure you have enough money left over to cover the deposit if you have an idea of all the additional prices and fees you should expect to spend. As of this year, there is a government-backed mortgage program that allows potential buyers to climb on the housing ladder with as little as a 5% down payment.

Assuming you have saved at least 5% of the cost of a property, you should investigate how much you will be able to borrow.

There are some free internet tools you can utilize to get an unofficial range, such as this Money Saving Expert calculator. We urge, however, that you meet with a mortgage expert and contemplate a Mortgage Agreement in Principle (AIP).

An AIP can make you more interesting to buyers because it indicates that a lender has done a credit check and given you an indication of how much they'd lend. It is not a guarantee, but it shows sellers that you are serious about your home search. Arranging an AIP now can also help to accelerate the procedure later on.

Before committing to a mortgage, lenders will often need you to pass a mortgage stress test. The stress test, implemented by the government following the 2008 financial crisis, ensures that borrowers can continue to pay their mortgage and other outgoings even if interest rates rise. It ultimately uses a higher mortgage rate scenario to predict your repayment reliability. While there is no such thing as a "exam," your mortgage lender will ask you a series of questions to assess whether you qualify.

Learn about the best methods for performing a house search

The first step in buying a home is to perform a search. This may seem apparent, but keep in mind that there are various options open to you here.

Nowadays, the bulk of buyers will look to online marketplaces such as RightMove or Zoopla. They're simple websites that let you refine your search, compare house prices, and evaluate other factors like school catchment areas and distances to railway stations.

It is important to remember, however, that estate agents are frequently aware of properties before they are published online. So, in order to get ahead of the game, you need to register with a few estate agents. Furthermore, utilizing an estate agent with local experience can provide you with a better understanding of the location and other essential variables that you may overlook if you rely simply on property listing sites.

A house auction is another option you may have considered. Though low costs may be enticing, this technique is fraught with danger, especially if you don't have time to perform a survey beforehand. This danger is heightened if you are a first-time buyer with no prior experience purchasing a home.


Conduct research and attend house viewings

The UK property market has long been plagued by a housing scarcity, which might mean that particular local markets will have many more prospective buyers than sellers. This, however, should not prevent you from going out to look at properties and asking the most critical questions.

Doing research on comparable properties and understanding how long a house has been on the market can be a smart place to start. Zoopla is an excellent resource for researching past sales prices and estimating current open market values.

Furthermore, checking electrical connections and the boiler are easy things that you should perform at every viewing to avoid unpleasant surprises later on. You might also look at the house at different times of day to get a better sense of how noisy the rush hour traffic is.

During a screening, make sure to ask the following questions:


  • How many individuals have looked at the property thus far?
  • Why is the homeowner selling at this time?
  • How long has the seller been in this property?
  • What is the house's history - how many owners has it had? Are there any incidences to be aware of?


What is the difference between freehold and leasehold property?

You should also understand the difference between buying a freehold or leasehold home at this point in your search. With a freehold property, you own both the building and the ground on which it is built. With contrast, in a leasehold transaction, you just own the lease from the freeholder.

When it comes to real estate, freeholds are nearly always the more desirable option, and the majority of homes are sold as such. Some new build estates, however, are sold as leasehold, and shared ownership plans are frequently sold as leasehold.

When it comes to flats, the opposite is true, as most are sold leasehold. This is because a single party - the freeholder - must control the building holding each of the individual flats in order to oversee common endeavors such as communal area maintenance and building renovations.

A leasehold will have particular terms that the leaseholder must follow. Maintenance costs, service charges, and ground rent are common examples. It may also require the property to obtain permission before making any alterations to the property, or it may prevent things like pets from residing there. When buying a leasehold property, make sure you carefully read the terms.

Leases are normally for extended periods of time, typically 90 or 120 years, but they can be much longer. Less than 90 years of lease can become difficult, and less than 80 years should be carefully evaluated before buying.

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