A handy checklist can make all the difference when you're buying a home.

Here's a useful planner where you can tick off each of the stages as you complete them.

Are you ready?

  • Decide if you're ready to buy a house
  • Do you have a large enough deposit saved?
  • Calculate how much you can afford to spend per month
  • Find the best mortgage offer for you
  • Get an offer lined up from a lender
  • Calculate other costs you'll have to cover
  • Check out our definitive guides for first time buyers

Starting your property search

  • Match a property to how you live 
  • Draw up ‘would like' and ‘really need' lists
  • Work out a ‘home triangle': budget, space and location
  • Consider existing vs new homes
  • Weigh up 'free' offers or incentives from developers
  • Consider doing up a wreck, buying at auction or with a friend or family member
  • Think about shared ownership schemes, such as the Help to Buy scheme
  • Meet and register with estate agents
  • Consider hiring a property search agent (if appropriate)
  • Check out parking, storage and Council Tax
  • Check out crime rates, transport links and whether prices have risen or fallen
  • Consider extending your search if you can't find anything within your budget
  • Ask about service charges
  • Ask to see the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property
  • Ask agents to show you ‘comparables' (prices of similar property in the area)
  • If buying with a friend or partner, get a co-ownership agreement drawn up
  • Make enquiries if buying a leasehold flat (who's the freeholder and managing agent, how much are ground fees and service charges, can you keep pets?)

Making an offer

  • Choose a solicitor
  • Research prices paid recently for properties in the area and current home value trends
  • Make an offer in writing
  • Ask for an exclusivity period, if possible (so the seller doesn't show the property to anyone else)
  • Agree a date when the vendor moves out and you move in
  • Show proof that the lender will give you money (if getting a mortgage)
  • Check the solicitor is making enquiries and getting title deed information
  • Choose a surveyor
  • Organise a survey or valuation
  • Set the completion date

Moving date

  • Book a van or removals company
  • Inform authorities (such as utility companies, Electoral Roll, your employer and Inland Revenue) of your new address
  • Contact the council to suspend a parking bay for the removal van
  • Get the mortgage deed for the solicitor to sign
  • Sign contracts for exchange
  • Pay the balance of the property's price
  • Get the transfer document and title deeds
  • Take out building and contents insurance
  • Pay Stamp Duty, Land Registry and solicitor's fees
  • Check your insurer covers you for any damage while moving
  • Tell the removals company about narrow roads or unusual directions
  • Pack, ensuring fragile items are well wrapped
  • Label each box with a number or letter corresponding to the room where it will go
  • Pack a ‘moving box' with essentials including tea, cleaning materials and a bottle of bubbly
  • Keep passports and other vital items with you
  • Pack a bag for each person with a toothbrush and change of clothing
  • Get someone to mind your pets (or make sure they're secure)
  • Get the keys to the property
  • Enjoy living in your new home

While every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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