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Steps to buying your first home

7 steps to buying your first home

Buying your first home is probably the biggest decision you will make, but it’s never clear what happens and when! Even for the experienced house purchaser, it can be overwhelming.

Use our step-by-step guide to buying your first home below to change you from confused and cautious to confident and knowledgeable.

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  • Save for a mortgage:

    You’ll need to build up a deposit of at least 5% of the price of the property you want to buy. However, it’s often worth saving more if you can bear to wait longer, as a bigger deposit usually means you will have access to mortgage deals with lower interest rates. 


    For first time buyers, there are so many options available to help you buy your first home. There’s also lots to consider, such as Shared Ownership. 

    Research the area:

    Once you know which area you want to live in, make sure you research the area and look into things that could affect your choice of house and also affect the type of home insurance available to you.

    Once you have figured out your needs and you are house hunting, it’s time to get a mortgage agreement in principle. The first step is to secure an agreement in principle (AIP), also known as decision in principle (DIP). This confirms that a lender has checked your finances and is willing to lend you a certain amount subject to certain conditions, including a valuation of your property.

  • Now it’s time to get out there viewing some houses! It’s easy to spend lots and lots of time scrolling through endless lists of houses on Rightmove and Zoopla but it’s really important to view properties in person. It’s the best way to get a real feel for the place.

    At Countrywide, we can help you make appointments so you can view properties in person also so that we can help find your perfect home.

  • We’ve done it! We’ve helped you find your perfect home!

    So, what next?

    Make an offer – with our advice and expertise, we can help you make a suitable offer for the house you want to buy. Whilst you wait to hear back on this, you should be looking to arrange a mortgage and considering the protection arrangements for your chosen house. Talk to our Mortgage and Protection Consultants so that we can help you find the right deal for you based on how much you can afford to pay each month.

    • To understand more about mortgages, read our Mortgages explained section
    • To find out about protection, read through our insurance page 
    • At this stage, fees will be payable. To find out about various house purchase fees, read our Top Tips
  • Once you've arranged your mortgage, it's time to think about the legal side of things. A conveyancer will take charge of conducting searches, liaising with the seller’s conveyancer, inspecting the seller’s documents, dealing with the Land Registry and any other legal requirements you may have to help you to buy your home.

    Countrywide Conveyancing Services happen to be one of the largest transactional conveyancing companies in the UK, so you know you’re in good hands. They have a large panel of law firms who can assist you with your purchase from start to end.

  • Your mortgage lender will need to conduct a simple survey of your selected property before they can offer you a mortgage to assess the risk of lending money against the property. It is not a full survey and is carried out by your chosen surveying team. Surveys can differ depending on what level of detail you want.

    Countrywide Surveying Services is one of the UK’s largest RICS regulated residential surveyors and valuers.

  • Once the lender has issued a mortgage offer and your conveyancer has completed their work, you can exchange contracts. This is where you and the seller swap signed contracts drawn up by your legal representatives and are now legally bound to go ahead with the move.

    You will also pay the deposit to your legal team to hold onto until completion.

  • Completion often takes place around 2 weeks after exchange however, this is flexible. On completion day, all monies will be transferred to the seller and you will receive the keys to move into your new home!

    Congratulations – you’re officially a homeowner!

Top tips for First Time Buyers

Buying your first home is a daunting process. We've pulled together 10 top tips to help you through the buying process

Read more

Mortgages explained

Mortgages can throw even the most seasoned buyers

Read more

Under one roof

Everything under one roof

Read more

A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

Countrywide Mortgage Services and Countrywide Insurance Services are trading names of Countrywide Principal Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Registration Number 301684). Registered Office: Countrywide House, 6 Caldecotte Lake Business Park, Caldecotte Lake Drive, Milton Keynes, MK7 8JT. Registered in England no. 01707341. 777FTB WEB 02/20

Please note: 0800 118 2825 is a freephone number; some mobile providers may charge.

Get in touch

Our team of Mortgage & Protection Consultants are available to help you find the best mortgage for you - get in touch to book an appointment.

Opening hours

Monday – Thursday 09:00 – 19:00
Friday 09:00 – 17:30