The first time
From budgets to signing on
Try out mortgage calculators
the dotted line
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage
Royal Bank mortgages are available for over 18s.
Icon expand 1. Check how much you can borrow
Before you start looking at properties, it’s a good idea to talk to a mortgage lender or take a look at our how much could I borrow tool to get an idea of how much you may be able to borrow. You’ll also need to work out how much your monthly mortgage repayments may be. Remember, the larger your deposit, the more likely it is that you’ll pay a lower rate of interest or maybe less fees.
Don’t forget you’ll also need to set aside some savings to pay for other costs like legal fees, home insurance and LBTT (or Stamp Duty in England & Wales). It’s a good idea to ask your lender for a ‘Agreement in Principle’ now too. Even though it’s not a guaranteed offer, it shows agents that you could be serious about getting a mortgage.
Icon expand 2. Decide what you're looking for and where
Buying a home is likely to be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make so think about what you really want and need. It's important to define your criteria from the outset - is a garden a necessity or is off-street parking more important? How many bedrooms will you need? And if buying a flat, would you like it to be freehold or leasehold? Is there access to a garden?
Location is important too. How good are the nearby transport links and local schools? How far will you need to travel to work or to the shops? Draw up your own checklist and work out what are must-haves and what you could live without.
Remember take a good look at the interior and exterior of the house and ask lots of questions.
Ideas of some important questions to ask the agent or owner:
- Do the chimneys work?
- When was the fuse box last checked?
- Has any work been done on the property?
- Are there smoke alarms?
- How old is the boiler and when was it last tested?
- Does the property have full central heating and when
was it last tested?
- What is the mobile phone and broadband coverage like?
-If there is a loft, is it insulated?
-Are the windows double-glazed?
Icon expand 3. Start house hunting
Start looking on websites like Zoopla. Sign up for email alerts so you’ll know as soon as a property that meets your criteria is listed online. And when you find something that you like, call the selling solicitor and arrange a viewing. You can also ask to see the Home Report of the property. Don’t expect to fall in love with the first place you look at, you might need to see a dozen places before you even consider making an offer.
When you’ve found the right place, ask your solicitor to formally note your interest with the selling solicitor. This means that you have to be told if an offer has been made by someone else or if there has been a closing date arranged.
Icon expand 4. Make your offer
If there are no other notes of interest in the property, you do not have to wait for a closing date and can instruct your solicitor to make an offer on your behalf at any time.
If there has been more than one formal note of interest, is likely that a closing date will be arranged. Your solicitor will be told of the date and time of the closing date and you can then decide whether to instruct them to make a formal offer on your behalf
You should also give your proposed date of entry with the offer.
If you wish to make a conditional offer because you would like to have a further survey done or are waiting for your mortgage to be finalised, you can do so. Otherwise, your offer should be unconditional.
Icon expand 5. Offer accepted? Finalise your mortgage
Your mortgage will need to be finalised now so speak to your lender about what you need to do. They’ll need to see paperwork that proves your income and expenses, and they’ll ask about any other personal circumstances that may affect your ability to pay.
Once your offer has been accepted, your solicitor and the selling solicitor will deal with the formal process of transferring title and firming up the deal, in Scotland, this is known as concluding missives. Once missives have concluded, you will be formally bound to purchasing the property.
Icon expand 6. Start packing
As soon as you know your moving date you can start getting organised. You might want to book a removal firm to help with your move – it’s a good idea to book early to get a good price. When packing, remember to label everything clearly and know where you’ve packed your everyday essentials – like your toothbrush, bed sheets, mugs and tea bags.
If you have contents insurance, it’s a good idea to check if you’re covered during moving – just in case anything gets damaged during the move. And let your insurers know when you’ll be moving to your new address.
Icon expand 7. Completion
It’s time to pick up the keys from the selling solicitor to your new home. This is when the property becomes legally yours. All the forms will have been signed, LBTT has been paid and the money has been transferred to the seller’s solicitor. Time to pop the champagne and pick up your new keys.
Don’t forget to:
- Arrange for buildings and contents insurance
- Tell your old gas, electricity, water and phone suppliers that you’re moving out and take final meter readings
- Let the council know you’re moving so you can stop paying council tax at your old address
- Ring your new utility suppliers to let them know that you’ve moved in and give them meter readings
- Get in touch with the Royal Mail to redirect your post from your old address