20 Things to know before buying a house

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Don't get caught, read our handy guide to buying your first house.

Buying a house can be stressful and time-consuming. Below we list 20 things to remember while taking your exciting journey to home-ownership. 

  1. You will need money for additional costs. Have extra cash ready.
  2. Save with LISA and get a government bonus.
  3. Lenders will be checking your credit history. Your credit score is very important, but don’t worry if it is not perfect, some lenders accept CCJ and defaults (not so much IVA and bankruptcies though). Go to CheckMyFile to check with all credit report agencies and download your free copy.
  4. Buy a property you can afford. Don’t overstretch your budget, you will need to pay home insurance, life insurance, bills, council tax, TV licence and more. Use our handy mortgage repayment calculator to check your monthly payments.
  5. Check the neighbourhood, transport links, and local amenities – how long are you prepared to walk to get the pint of milk?
  6. Estate agents work for the vendors and not buyers. Do not get bullied by them.
  7. Ask as many questions about the property as you can think of. Don’t forget the location of the main water valve or stopcock, check if there is a phone line (or cable internet).
  8. When you do the viewing, take pictures and videos and visit at least twice during different times of the day.
  9. Check the term of the lease (if not freehold).
  10. Sellers will have a number in mind that they will want to get for their property, whether it is worth it or not. Negotiate, but if you still think it is too much, walk away.
  11. Check local sold prices at Zoopla –
  12. Check the energy performance certificate. It will affect your heating and electricity bills.
  13. If the property needs any work done – get the quotes before you make an offer.
  14. Get a few quotes for conveyancers – they don’t need to be close by. You will not be seeing them in person anyway. We can provide you with comparison costs based on your requirements.
  15. Order a survey – you will find out if there are any hidden issues, subsidence, flooding, etc. We can provide you with survey quotes from local companies.
  16. You might need to pay Stamp Duty Tax. Check out our Stamp Duty Calculator
  17. Budget for new furniture, home decorating, but also cleaning.
  18. Check the local schools (even if you don’t need them now)
  19. You will need home insurance before you move in – this will be required at the exchange of contracts. This will be before you complete and be able to move in. At the time of exchange, you are legally responsible for the property and will be liable if anything happens (fire, flooding, wind damage, etc)
  20. You will need life insurance to cover at least the decreasing mortgage amount. We can provide quotes when needed
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