Buying a House Checklist

When you’re buying a house, you want to ensure you’re making the right decisions so you can avoid stress, hassle and unexpected expenses and focus on enjoying your dream home and lifestyle instead.

To help, our trusted team at Cobb Farr have created a Buying a House Checklist that walks you through the key stages of buying a house, from deciding what you are looking for, finding a property, making an offer and closing the sale.

Preparing to buy a house checklist

Before you start searching for your new home, you need to first take time to consider what you’re looking for. The house-buying process can take anywhere between 2-6 months on average so it’s important to get it right. Here’s our preparing to buy a house checklist.

What are you looking for?

Start by thinking about where you want to live.

  • Do you want to stay in Bath, Bradford-on-Avon or Somerset or relocate to the area?
  • Do you have any specific requirements when it comes to the location of the property such as proximity to local schools, amenities, sports facilities or local job opportunities? Which of these is essential and which is simply ‘nice to have’?
  • What kind of house or flat would you prefer- detached, semi-detached, terraced or even a historical building?
  • How many rooms do you want and how large would you like them to be, ideally?

What is your budget?

Next consider how much you can afford to spend on buying a house.

Remember that you will need to cover the cost of the purchase, deposit, stamp duty, solicitor’s fees and moving costs.

Once you’ve moved, you’ll also need to budget for mortgage repayments, rates and utilities that can vary according to which mortgage lender you choose, the local rates of the area and which utility providers you select.

Additionally, you need to consider how much you can borrow if you need a mortgage. If you’re unsure, you can approach a mortgage lender and obtain a DIP (Decision in Principle) that tells you how much you could potentially borrow.

What to look for when buying a house checklist

Now you’re clear on what you want and what you can afford, it’s time for the most exciting part- finding your beautiful new home. Here’s our ‘what to look for when buying a house checklist’.

Find a property

Contact our team of trusted, friendly estate agents at Cobb Farr and we can select the properties that best match your requirements from our extensive portfolio. If you prefer, you can also browse our online listings to see what is currently available. 

With our extensive local knowledge, we can give you insider tips on up-and-coming neighbourhoods you could consider that offer everything you are looking for as well as other advantages such as price, proximity to schools and so on.

View the property

Have you found a property that you’re interested in? It’s time to book your property viewing at a time that is most convenient for you.

Before you go, create a list of questions you’d like to ask about the property to ensure that you don’t forget. Also, take someone else with you to the viewing such as your partner, a friend or a family member. This gives you two different perspectives on the same property and with two pairs of eyes, you’re more likely to spot any potential issues.

When you visit, be thorough and check for signs of damp, ask about average utility bills and rates, check the plumbing and ask what is included in the purchase price.

Make an offer

Have you found your dream property? Then go ahead and make an offer to buy.

You’ll need to have a solicitor ready so they can conduct the legal work and deal directly with the seller’s solicitor.

Don’t be deterred if the seller rejects your first offer. Both you and the seller are looking for the best price so negotiation is completely normal. Once both parties are happy, the seller’s estate agent will confirm that the sale is agreed (subject to contact).

Buying a house checklist

Once you’ve made an offer on a house and it has been accepted, the paperwork and legal side need to be completed. Here’s our buying a house checklist.

Begin the conveyancing process

After your offer is accepted, the conveyancing process starts. This is simply the legal transfer of the property from the seller to the buyer and involves your solicitor conducting searches on the property you want to buy. They’ll search whether there are any potential problems with the property or in the local area and, through checking the Land Registry, will seek to prove whether the current owner is the legal owner.

Apply for a mortgage

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to apply for your mortgage. Your lender will often conduct a mortgage valuation to confirm that the property is worth the amount you seek to borrow before they come to a decision. You’ll need to wait for around 4 weeks before you receive their decision.

Get a house survey

It’s also a good idea to get a house survey conducted before you move in. This is an optional part of buying a house but can help uncover any defects with the property or the need for costly work to be done. If the house survey uncovers any problems, you can raise them with the seller and negotiate for a better deal.

Wait for news from your solicitor

Meanwhile, your solicitor will confirm what is included in the property sale, and enquire about boundaries, disputes and alterations. At the same time, the seller’s solicitor will receive the property deeds, draw up the contract and send it to your solicitor. You will be informed when it’s time to sign these contracts that will complete the sale.

Exchange contracts

When everything is in place, you can sign the Contract of Sale. These confirm that you agree to the terms of sale and to buy the property whilst also listing what is included in the sale. Bear in mind that the documents are legally binding.

You’ll also need to pay a deposit at this time, usually between 5-10% and prove that your mortgage has been confirmed and that you have home insurance in place. Take these documents with you when you sign to avoid any hiccups along the way.

Celebrate your new home!

Now that the legal paperwork is completed, your solicitor will arrange for the mortgage company to pay the remaining money to the seller’s solicitor. This part is called ‘completion’ and the house is finally yours.

You can get your keys, decide on a move-in date and enjoy your brand-new home. If you’d like help with what to do next, read our Moving House Checklist here.

Summary- Buying a house checklist UK

Buying a new home can be a daunting process, especially if you’re a first-time buyer and don’t know what to expect. However, if you read through our buying a house checklist and follow our advice, finding your dream property and moving home will be much more straightforward, stress-free and enjoyable.

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