What to do before buying a house: the full checklist

Couple looking to buy a house

Are you ready to take the first step of finding your dream home? If you’ve already got the deposit in the bank and have started thinking about paint samples, gardens, and new furniture, then it’s time to begin your property search.

Buying a house is usually one of the biggest milestones in life, and while it can be exciting, it often brings an overwhelming mix of emotions. There’s no shame in not knowing where to start. That’s what we’re here for.

At Bliss Financial, we help first-time buyers navigate the home-buying process with ease. We are a friendly and understanding team of mortgage brokers with your very best interest at heart. Lucky for you, we have heaps of experience handling the often complex process of purchasing a house, and we want to educate you so you can enjoy the entire process.

Here’s a quick look at the steps you’ll take before buying a new property:

  1. Talk to a broker
  2. Research houses
  3. Check your affordability
  4. Visit houses and get ALL the information
  5. Make an offer
  6. Get a formal mortgage offer
  7. Enlist a solicitor
  8. Conduct a survey
  9. Negotiate price
  10. Set a completion date!

In this blog, our experts cover everything (literally everything) you need to know about buying a house for the first time. From working out how much you can afford to understanding the various types of surveys, we walk you through the step-by-step guide to buying a new house.

Keep reading to discover what to do before buying a house, or get in touch with us today to take the first step together.

1) Talk to a mortgage broker

First things first, let’s talk about money. When it comes to buying a house for the very first time, you’ll likely be using a huge chunk (if not all) of your hard-earned savings.

Working with a good mortgage broker, like the friendly team here at Bliss, can be the key to finding your dream home.

We’ll make sure you have a solid idea of how much you can afford by looking at the whole picture, not just your deposit and income. We’ll also give you a breakdown of additional costs to consider before you even move in, such as Stamp Duty, mortgage valuation fee, solicitor fees, broker fees, and insurance.

From here, we’ll make sure you’re in the very best position moving forward, helping you make sure you can comfortably repay the mortgage. With our own specialist mortgage calculator, we’ll find you the best rates from the most suitable mortgage lenders.

We’ll also explore different solutions that are more convenient for your current situation, such as opting for a 35-year mortgage and making overpayments, placing down a higher deposit or choosing between a 2-year and 5-year fix.

2) Research the type of house you want

For many first-time buyers, house hunting is usually the fun and exciting part – the thrill of not knowing which potential house could soon be yours. So, really take your time and enjoy the process.

You can usually start searching the property market from the comfort of your sofa by using some of the online property portals, including Zoopla, Rightmove, and OnTheMarket. Be sure to use the settings to filter properties by location, property type, price, and number of bedrooms to save time scrolling through endless listings and help you find the properties that meet your needs.

Remember to contact local estate agents to register your interest and receive regular updates when new properties come on the market. Building a report with them can really give you a leg up in a competitive market.

Do as much research as possible before booking a property viewing. Read every detail on the property listings and research the local area. It can even be worth taking a walk to your desired property before viewing it to get an idea of the neighbourhood. It is such a big purchase, after all, and you should have all the information before making a decision.

3) Affordability checks

Before you fall head over heels for the first property you find, it’s really important to know exactly what you can afford.

Understanding your income, outgoings, and potential mortgage payments will give you a good idea of whether your current lifestyle will allow you to purchase the home you’ve got your eyes on. This is where a reliable mortgage broker can help.

At Bliss, we pride ourselves on going deep into your financial situation, taking into account more than just your income and potential mortgage repayments. We will look at your finances as a whole, understanding any regular outgoings you may have and determining areas you could improve your affordability. We’ll look at recent bank statements and pay slips and assess your credit score to find you the best mortgage scenarios.

And don’t worry if your credit isn’t quite up to scratch, we also have experience finding mortgages for individuals with bad credit.

We may ask for quite a bit of information during this step, but the more you can give us, the better your chances are for a successful mortgage application and the more confident you’ll feel repaying the loan.

If you have any questions or concerns about your finances, now is the perfect time to discuss them. Get in touch, and we’d love to help you get on the property ladder.

Do you need a mortgage in principle before buying a house?

While it’s not mandatory, getting a mortgage in principle (MIP) can significantly help you when making an offer on a house. The MIP is like a stamp of approval from a lender, essentially saying that they would be willing to give you a mortgage. It looks attractive to sellers, as it shows you will likely be able to borrow the funds and are serious about your offer.

4) Obtain information from the estate agent

When it comes to viewing properties, take your time. You’ll likely have a small timeframe for walking around the property, so having a list of questions to hand can be helpful. You may even benefit from bringing along a trusted friend or family member for their input.

Take pictures of everything and remember to get as much information as possible about the property, including the boiler, window frames, planning permission for any significant works, neighbourhood, transport links and local schools.

Take a look at our house checklist for a full breakdown of what to look for when buying a house.

5) Make an offer on the house you want

Once you’ve found “the one,” it’s time to make your move and place an offer. What you decide to offer is entirely up to you, but you should always go with what you can afford and what you think the house is worth. The asking price is usually a good indication.

Researching recent sales in the area and considering the property’s condition, location and time on the market can help you make the most sensible offer.

The number of houses available and consumer demand may impact your negotiation power. In situations where there are more houses than buyers, you may have more power to negotiate under the asking price. On the flip side, where there are more buyers than houses, the competition becomes tighter, and you may even notice that houses are quickly snapped up for well over the guide price.

Be prepared to act fast, especially when competition is high.

6) Get a formal mortgage offer from your mortgage lender

Once your offer is accepted, it is time to apply for the formal mortgage. This can feel like a scary step, even with a mortgage in principle in place.

Mortgage brokers can take care of this on your behalf, so all you have to do is sit and wait. We’ll submit the relevant information, finalise the details, and let you know once your formal mortgage has been accepted.

7) Engage with a solicitor

If your mortgage has been accepted, congratulations – you’re nearly there. However, the following steps are equally necessary to ensure that the home you’re soon to move into is free of issues.

The next step in your house purchase is finding a solicitor. The solicitor’s role is essentially to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. They will take care of the legal and administrative work, from contracts to conveyancing searches. They will also help you pay Stamp Duty if the property requires it.

8) Conveyancing searches

Conveyancing searches (also known as property searches) are in-depth checks into the home you plan to buy. They help you avoid any nasty surprises before the house is officially yours.

Many lenders require these checks to be carried out before lending the funds to ensure the property’s value is accurate and there aren’t any concerning risks. Lenders may even carry out their own searches separate from the ones your solicitor will facilitate, and you may not be required to do all of the searches.

Your solicitor will be able to give you a much better idea of what conveyancing searches are required for the home you plan to buy.

What are the 3 main searches when buying a house?

  • Local authority search: This checks for planning permissions, building regulations, or nearby issues that may affect the property.
  • Environmental search: This looks for flooding issues (great if you live near a river or at the bottom of a hill), subsidence and other potential problems relating to the land nearby.
  • Water and drainage search: This checks the water supply and drainage system and can help you identify any drains that may affect extension plans.

9) Negotiate the purchase price

The best time to negotiate the purchase price is often before you make an offer. However, if the conveyancing searches flag any issues with the property, you may even be able to negotiate the price further. Talk to your solicitor about negotiating the purchase price; they can advise and guide you through the process.

Looking to purchase a property? Get in touch with Bliss

And there you have it – your complete checklist of what to do before buying a house. But remember, you’re not in this alone. At Bliss Financial, we take pride in making the home-buying process a stress-free and enjoyable experience for our clients.

As your dedicated mortgage broker, we’ll ensure you’re in the best position possible before you even consider putting an offer down. Contact us today to start the exciting journey of buying your first home.

What’s next? Take a look at our handy guide describing what you should do when first moving into your new property.

Picture of Amanda Marsden
Amanda Marsden

Amanda is the founder and owner of Bliss Financial. She has been helping clients with their mortgage and insurance needs for over 15 years. Her passion is to fully explore the options open to them and ensures the process is easy with no stress. She also specialises in helping clients invest in buy to let property and landlords.

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Selected from a number online because they stated that they have experience working with people from the military. This was essential given how moving on assignment often can be a negative for many banks when it comes to lending. Amanda was excellent and the process was swift and easy. We had planned to visit face to face but the process was just as high quality over zoom and phone.
Richard S.
Amanda is great, everything was explained clearly and always responsive to queries, would highly recommend.
Pavitar P.
This is my second time remortgaging through Bliss and Amanda. The service provided has made my life stress free and Amanda was thorough with her research into what deal and term would be best for me based on economic uncertainty and where I am atthis point of my life.I'd not use any other mortgage broker ✨
Harriet L.
Amanda was extremely knowledgeable and helpful from minute one. I am very grateful to her for diligently working within a fairly tight timeframe to identify and provide me with the right product.Her communication throughout was prompt and well-received. I look forward to using her services again.
James D.
Excellent service. Fully deserving of 5 stars. Nothing to fault. Great communication and everything went through in time with no issues. Would highly recommend Amanda Marsden.
Luke H.
Amanda was absolutely brilliant from start to finish. She helped us secure our forever home mortgageWould 100% recommend for anyone needing financial services of any kind!
James B.
Absolutely perfect service from start to finish, no stress, no hassle can’t recommend enough. Thankyou
sarah W.
We have used Amanda for many years. She knows exactly what she is talking about and offers the best advice. I cant recommend Amanda enough if you're thinking of getting a mortgage or going through a Re-Mortgage. She reassured us throughout the whole process and was in touch every step of the way. Thank you Amanda, here's to many more years.
David J.
Amanda was amazingly helpful and made the whole process hassle free. Even when I changed my mind a few times nothing was a problem and the end result was exactly what I was looking for. I would highly recommend Amanda and the team
Atha D.
We used Amanda a few years ago for our first mortgage. She was an absolute hero for us. She sat us down and explained everything thoroughly putting all out worries at ease as first time buyers. We had issues with our chain which meant our mortgage offer lapsed and Amanda was there every step of the way right through to the day we moved in. Due to remortgage in the next year or so and I will always go back to Amanda.
Anya K.
Once again very helpful and prompt in helping us with remortgaging our property, highly recommended
Natasha G.
Bliss WILL get you the best mortgage solution possible. The best mortgage broker around!!
michaela M.
Amanda was absolutely brilliant from start to finish. She helped me secure my first mortgage and also helped with organising the best deals on life and home insurance for my house. Would 100% recommend for anyone needing financial services of any kind!
Nathan C.
We specifically selected Bliss as financial advisors for our mortgage, as we'd read great reviews from other first time buyers. Amanda was so welcoming and helpful, introducing us to the whole process. We actually went to her thinking we were fish out of water, and wanting to but not expecting to but for a few years, just wanting to get our heads around it. However everything felt easy, quick and well explained and we were accepted for a within approx 2 months of starting our search. Amanda has been amazing throughout the entire process - even personalising the way she presented documents to us to suit our styles (me, needing to talk everything out and my partner more graphs and charts!). Evening appointments were organised to work around our work schedules. She was in constant communication with all stakeholders, chasing things up for us and since moving, also supporting with insurances. I'd highly recommend Bliss, and specifically Amanda for any financial advisory services however particularly first time buyers, as no question feels like a silly question. For future purchases, selling, and any other financial services - we will definitely return to Bliss.
Amber B.
Great service. Professional, friendly and efficient. Amanda did a great job in advising me and then finding and securing the best mortgage to suit my situation
Ed T.
Absolutely amazing service, couldn't have received any better. Very friendly and quick at replying to all enquiries. Very understanding of our circumstances which were difficult but still got us everything we needed for our new house. Thank you again Amanda, will be recommended you to everyone who needs a mortgage broker ☺️
Stacey G.
Amanda helped us to secure our first mortgage. She was on hand for support all the way through the process and very helpful in explaining things in a more simple way to help us to understand. She kept in contact with us regularly throughout the process and really made us feel at ease. We cannot thank Amanda enough for her support and help.
Annise M.
I came across Bliss financial solutions by google search when desperately trying to find a mortgage advisor who could do the impossible (secure a DiP quickly, that met my difficult short term self employment circumstances).Amanda from Bliss has been a pleasure to work with. The perfect balance of professional and friendly, incredibly organised and certainly not deterred by a challenge. I’m really grateful for the time and effort she put into my case to allow me to secure the house I wanted within the mandated timeframe. Thank you so much Amanda and Bliss for allowing us to get our new home 💜
heather U.
I just want to say how amazing Amanda at Bliss financial is!!. My partner and I were looking at buying a shared ownership prooerty and everything started happening very quickly ... but Amanda just took over from the start and literally kept me at ease the whole way . Herprofessionalism throughout was second to none and helped with every aspect of the process. Thanks to Amanda we now have the most beautiful home and we will be forever grateful for everything she has done for us. I would 100% recommend Bliss Financial.
charlotte C.
Excellent service. Amanda really took the stress out of remortgaging for us. Highly recommended
Amy G.
Switching mortgages has always been a frustrating and time consuming experience but using Bliss made the process seamless and most importantly stress free! They were excellent and I would highly recommend their services.
Neil G.
Amanda has been totally invaluable through our first home buying journey. Always on hand to answer the hundreds of questions with her excellent knowledge and guidance.I would absolutely recommend Bliss Financial Services.
Matt D.
We have been in our new house for nearly 2 months now all thanks to Bliss Financial Solutions, Amy was amazing sorting our new mortgage out and talking us through everything we needed to know. Very smooth process with good communications. Thank you very much. 🙂
Donna G.
Exceptional customer service, professionalism and market knowledge.
George R.
Really excellent & supportive service from start to finish throughout mortgage process, from initial enquiry through to successful completion, friendly, knowledgeable and always happy to take time to answer any questions - great organisation.
Nella F.
Brilliant lady Amanda, always positive knowledgeable and helpful. Have no doubts in recommending her and Bliss Financial Solutions
Jeff W.
Very prompt and professional team. Helped us out no end! Highly recommended
Wayne C.
I would like to thank Bliss Financial Solutions for amazing, professional and swift responses during the process of my first home purchase.It has been an absolute pleasure each time I have met you and will 100% have no hesitation for contacting you again for future requirements and highly recommending you.
Paul K.
We have recently used Amy at Bliss to help us get a mortgage. After having a stressful time at high street banks and other mortgage brokers, we contacted Amy for help. Amy was absolutely excellent and the work she does is outstanding. Amy went above and beyond and managed to find us a mortgage in a matter of days. Throughout the whole process Amy kept us up to date and managed the mortgage application seamlessly despite a stressful time with other companies. I would like to express my many thanks to Amy and the team at Bliss for being so excellent and thanks to them we now have the keys to our new home.
My experience with Bliss Financial was excellent, everyone went above and beyond. Provided the best advice and more. Our mortgage was sort with out any stress. I will continue recommending to friends a family looking for mortgage advice.
emma W.
First class customer service, highly recommend Bliss Financial Solutions LTD to anyone that values a professional, efficient and personal approach. Being first time buyer my partner and I had very limited knowledge around mortgages and all things connected. Amanda and her team went above and beyond to ensure we understood everything and provided advice when we had any questions with immediate response. Bliss financial limited we thank-you kindly for making the whole mortgage process so easy, you took all the strain off us especially need due to the birth of our daughter 3 weeks ago you made the mortgage process easy and hassle free. I will definitely be a customer for life and if there is anyway I can share your company’s profile on social media please let me know as I would love to recommend your service to others.Many thanks Melissa Hodgson, Andrew and Eloise - three very happy customers 😊
Melissa H.
Amy and the team were absolutely amazing! Nothing was too big. We didn't really know much about the process and Amy explained everything so we fully understood! We couldn't have done it without the team 100% would recommend to anyone! Thank you all so much ❤️
Rebekah F.
We used Bliss to re morgage our property. Amy was absolutely fantastic, made everything feel really easy, she was clear in all her explanations, open and honest with setting expectations, and really knowledgeable. The whole process was really smooth. We also discussed life insurance which was something of a priority giving we had just had a little boy recently. Amazing service. Would highly recommend. We will definitely be using again for any future mortgage or insurance needs.
Lauren A.
Excellent service, they really came to the rescue after being messed about by our current lender, amazing absolutely amazing. Just wish we went to them sooner would have saved a big headache 😃
Michael C.
Efficient and friendly. The team helped source the most appropriate mortgage for us at a very busy and pressured time for interest rates and timeframes. They were very helpful in expediting the completion when our solicitors were holding up proceedings. The little gift afterwards was much appreciated also. Would recommend.
Kirsty T.
Bliss Financials was a vital part of my journey to home ownership in the UK. They always gave personalized yet professional advice and were always accessible and responsive all through the process. They were very thorough, transparent and client centered; offered and discussed all the available options to enable me make an informed choice. I would totally and wholeheartedly recommend their services and I am very grateful to Amy who handled most of the process as well as Amanda and Sophie. Great team/firm!
Nwosa C.
I would like to praise the excellent service of the Bliss Financial Solutions LTD.I have a brilliant experience with this company. I was buying a house for the first time and Bliss Financial advised me on every step of the process (mortgage, insurance), offering me suitable options that I could choose from. I always got great offers and still was in control.All members of the team (Amy, Sophie, Amanda) are brilliant, very professional, friendly and responsive.I am very grateful to Amy (my consultant) as she did help me very much throughout the process, nothing was a problem,I received responses straight away and she also prompted other parties to act swiftly (lender, insurance companies, solicitor, etc.).If I need mortgage or insurance in future, I will definitely ask Bliss Financial for help again.
Michal P.
I am now on my second mortgage which was arranged using Bliss. What an outstanding service. From start to finish the Bliss team were great in answering queries that I had. They even pushed to get me an extension to my offer seeing me secure a great rate before the recent rises. This certainly helped me secure my dream home. I would recommend Bliss to anyone who is after a professional and personable mortgage advisor.
Amanda worked extremely hard and was really efficient is securing a fixed deal for me at a time when rates were being removed across the board. I would recommend them to anyone.
Andrew M.
Excellent from start to finish. Every decision and option were made clear to us about the implications and any questions we had were answered in a timely manner, making remortgaging easier than I imagined it would be. Thank you to Bliss Financial Solutions for excellent service and attention to personal details that really made us feel like our priorities were put first. We will use again at our next remortgage and would recommend to anyone.
Melissa B.
Excellent company, fast and responsive and a professional outfitI appreciate Amy’s swift advice on a deal to secure a good rate 12hrs before the rate changed
Adam L.
What a fantastic service. I contacted Amanda via a friend recommendation. She was friendly and helpful. She passed me to Amy who was my advisor for the whole process.As a first time buyer, I was like a rabbit in the headlights. But Amy reassured me and made the whole thing a breeze, with regular contact and updates along the way.Thank you to you all.Highly recommend 😁See you when it's time to remortgage 😉
Steven R.
We have used Bliss/Amanda for a number of mortgages now and the service has always been second to none!We have had complicated financial situations that the Bliss team have used their extensive knowledge to support and ensure we receive the best product for us.We always recommend Bliss to all our friends and family!Thank you to Amanda, Amy and Sophie
Samantha B.
The staff are amazing and very helpful throughout the whole process, the rates are very competitive and the after sales service is second to none, I would highly recommend Bliss Financial to anyone.MarkAspire Property Rentals
Mark L.
Any Lyons found us an excellent mortgage deal and then helped us through a long complex legal process regarding the house. She was there for us all the way through keeping us informed and chasing up when there were delays, Thank you Amy and her team.
Ken W.
Amy has been amazing from the start of our process as first time buyers until completion. We had a few delays along the way due to waiting on a new build but Any was there to guide us through every step of the way to help us rearrange another mortgage and kept us regularly updated on the process. I have already recommended her to friends and family and wouldn’t hesitate to use her again when we remortgage.
Melissa N.
Really happy with the service from Amy and Bliss Financial Solutions - Amy made sure everything was as straight forward as possible, was super communicative and really easy to deal with. Would not hesitate to recommend them.
Rachael G.
Amanda was very helpful. Gave advice over a number of options for my situation. Many other companies didn't even bother calling me back. Will definitely go back to Bliss again in the future.
Lesley C.
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