Buying Process

1What Can You Afford?

The thought of buying a house is thrilling for most of us, which means we can get carried away once we've made the decision to start our search. Before you head out and start viewing, you need to check what you can truly afford. Finding the right mortgage to suit your own circumstances can be daunting. With so many lenders, schemes and rates available, where do you start? Speaking to a local independent mortgage broker and arranging an agreement in principle (AIP) should be your first step. Remember to consider all costs associated with buying a home including solicitors, stamp duty and removal firms. Once you have your AIP you can go out viewing with confidence.

Take a look at our blog for more information about where to start: Looking To Buy Your First Home?

2What Are You Looking For?

Make yourself comfortable with a cuppa and a few biscuits. Think about your ideal property and write a list of the ‘Must Haves’, the ‘Nice to Haves’ and most importantly the ‘Definitely Don’t Wants’. This can help you with deciding which properties to view and tallying up scores for each of the properties you visit can give you a good list of deal breakers so nobody’s time is wasted viewing unsuitable properties. Although it is easy to get carried away thinking of your dream home you should keep realistic with what is possible within your budget otherwise you are just setting yourself up for a bumpy ride.

3Start Your Search

You should look up estate agents in and around the area you wish to move to. Register your requirements and budget with them and get on their mailing lists. The more information that you give about what property you are searching for the better they can match you to your ideal home. Once you’re registered, they should then send out details of relevant properties to you. You can also keep an eye on the local market by browsing property portals like Rightmove or following estate agents on Social media.

4Making An Offer

Once you've found your ideal property you need to advance to making an offer. Whilst we're on hand to ensure it's put forward in the best possible light, it's helpful to have an agreement in principle and proof of deposit, all of which adds weight, particularly if there is more than one interested party. You must carefully consider how much you can realistically afford. Add up the mortgage offer plus any equity you have in another property. Don’t forget to allow for Stamp Duty and Solicitors fees. While there is no legal obligation at this stage it makes sense to list any special conditions or items you would like included in conjunction with the offer.

5Offer Agreed

Once the vendor has accepted your offer you should instruct a solicitor to start the buying process. Choosing the right solicitor is crucial to enabling a smooth transaction. We have a couple of recommendations if you don't have one that comes with a glowing reference. Once you have chosen your solicitor we will write to you and them to confirm the sale, therefore allowing the solicitors to start the conveyancing process. Unless you are a cash buyer this is the time to formally apply for a mortgage on this property with your financial advisor or lender.


This is the legal term for the transfer of ownership of a property from one party to another. The wheels are put into motion to lead up to the final exchange of contracts which, from beginning to end, takes between 12 to 16 weeks on average (times can vary and be faster or slower depending on the individual circumstances). Your solicitor will liaise with the vendor’s solicitor while carrying out Land Registry and Local Authority searches to establish the boundaries of the property, any restrictive covenants or potential developments in the area that may affect your enjoyment of your new home. We will liaise between your solicitor and the vendor’s solicitor, working up and down any chain, to ensure that your purchase goes through as smoothly as possible. Open and honest communication is important throughout the conveyancing stage. Your solicitor should give you regular updates about the process but we will also keep you updated and be on hand to answer any questions.

7Survey And Mortgage Offer

Your lender will require a survey for mortgage purposes, but this is merely to establish a valuation. You may also choose to undertake a full structural survey although this is usually advisable on a period property or a property of non-standard construction. Any issues highlighted may either affect the lenders ability to offer a mortgage in its entirety or impose special conditions on the mortgage offer. The survey may also highlight any expensive problems to you before you purchase the property. Any problems raised in a survey that you are concerned about can be discussed and a plan of what happens next should be considered before making any snap decisions.


Up until this point, either party can withdraw from the sale without financial loss. When your solicitor has received; satisfactory replies to all their searches and enquiries, a copy of a mortgage offer, a signed contract and the deposit has been paid (usually 5-10%), they can then proceed to an exchange of contracts. You cannot exchange without a completion date, so this needs to be agreed with everyone in the chain and is quite often mediated by ourselves. Once exchange has taken place it becomes legal and binding, neither party can withdraw without facing the possibility of severe financial consequences.

You can now go ahead and book your removal company as your moving date is set!

Take a look at our Tips for Moving House with Kids


The morning of completion, your solicitor transfers the full amount to the vendor’s solicitor. This process will be dependent on your circumstances and any other parties involved in the buying chain. Once received, the vendor’s solicitor will contact ourselves to say completion has taken place and we can release the keys. At this point we will phone you and arrange for you to pop into the office or meet you at the property allowing you to get on with moving everything in.

10Moving In

Congratulations! You are now the proud owners of a lovely new home. Remember to get your mail re-directed and don’t forget to tell your bank, your employer, HMRC, DVLA, insurance, council tax, doctor, dentist and any schools that you have changed your address. Take meter readings, transfer the phone lines and other utilities. Tell your friends and organise the party!

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a guide only and may not reflect your individual circumstances. You should obtain professional advice when buying or selling a property and Indigo Greens accept no liability if you rely on the content of this guide and do not obtain professional advice.

Take a look at our Guide to Changing Your Address