Find out more about every stage of your move with our step by step guide to buying a property.

Step 1: Decide on the basics

Step 2: Get your finances in order

Step 3: Find the right property

Step 4: Make an offer

Step 5: Sale agreed

Step 6: Finalise your mortgage

Step 7: Exchange contracts

Step 8: Move in!

Step 1: Decide on the basics

We’ve got a mix of apartments and houses right now, so before you start your search, it helps to put some thought into exactly what you’re looking for.

Make a list of what’s important to you, noting the essentials. If you’re buying to let, think about students need somewhere central with easy access to university cater for in the Epsom area we cover - while for a young family open space and good schools might be more important which you’ll find from our Surrey offices.


If you’re buying a property, it’s likely you’ll own it for a while, so location is doubly important. Do you want to be near work? In a leafy neighbourhood or nearer to London? Do you want local shops and restaurants? Are good schools important to you?

Make a list of the postcodes or even streets that appeal to you and take time at a weekend to have a good look round the areas with flats and houses for sale.

Transport links

Getting around in your chosen area can be just as important as the area itself. Are you happy to travel some distance to work or do you want to walk? Do you need easy access to a tube or mainline station? If you travel out of London, do you need to be near a main road?

Size and type

A few things to consider

  • Flat or house?
  • New home or an older property?
  • How many bedrooms? Do you need a spare room?
  • Do you want outside space like a balcony or garden?
  • How important is a garage or off street parking?
  • Do you need room to grow as a family?

Step 2: Get your finances in order

When the right property comes along, you’ll want to be able to act immediately, so get your finances sorted out as soon as possible.

Mortgage advisors can help you work out how much you can afford and go through your options for managing your money, including choosing a mortgage  and sorting out protection plans.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Below are Potential You Need to be Aware which can be Incurred

  • Agent’s fees
  • Solicitor’s fees
  • Valuation
  • Stamp duty
  • Land registry
  • Local authority searches
  • Bank transfers
  • Mortgage fees
  • Insurance
  • Removal fees
  • Disconnection and reconnection of services
  • Essential rebuilding or redecorating

A contingency fund to cover any unexpected costs is a good idea too.

Step 3: Find the right property

Once you’ve sorted out your mortgage and you know the kind of flat or house in you’re looking for, it’s time to get out there and find it. We’ve gotoffices in surrey and a property database that’s updated every two hours to help you do just that.

Use our online search to set up your own search by area, street, transport links, and by branch. Once we know what you’re after, we’ll keep you updated by email.

If you’d rather talk to one of our local experts, contact one of our offices, by phone or by dropping into the local branch. We’ll get you registered and start looking for your place straight away.

When we've found you a suitable property, we’ll set up a viewing appointment as soon as possible. A quick tip: make two visits, one during the day and one at night.

Step 4: Make an offer

Once you’ve found a place that ticks all the boxes, you're ready to make an offer.  Let the estate agent know as soon as possible so the seller can be contacted with details of your offer.

When you make your offer, the seller will consider your position, for example

  • Have you found a buyer for your home?
  • Can you prove that you can afford to buy the property? It's a good idea to have a written agreement in principle from your mortgage lender. Speak to your mortgage advisor to get yourself started.
  • Can you move in time to suit the seller's own plans?

Once you’ve had an offer accepted, we’ll confirm it to you in writing, it is then subject to certain terms and conditions.

Step 5: Sale agreed

So, you’ve made your offer and it’s been accepted. This stage is known as sale agreed. This is where your solicitor gets involved to check out all the legal aspects of the sale.

This is also when you (or your mortgage advisor) will go ahead with your formal mortgage application, to check that your lender is willing to lend on that specific property.


The property needs to be legally transferred from its current owners to you conveyancing. Here are just The seller’s solicitor will

  • Get copies of the property’s title deeds and other relevant documentation e.g. lease
  • Prepare a draft contract of sale

Your solicitor will

  • Check the title documentation and lease for any problems or inconsistencies
  • Check the contracts
  • Assuming there are no problems and your solicitor has your mortgage offer, deposit and a signed contract, they can exchange contracts and set a completion date.

Step 6: Finalise your mortgage

Before your mortgage lender makes you an offer, they’ll need a mortgage valuation Once your mortgage lender is happy, they’ll send your mortgage offer, including details of the terms, to you and to your solicitor.

Step 7: Exchange contracts

You’re on the home straight now. The formal exchange of contracts agrees the terms of the sale and makes them legally binding on both you and the seller. Before the formal exchange, you’ll need to

  • Finalize and sign your mortgage documents
  • Send your deposit to the seller’s solicitor
  • Sign your contract This is also the time to sort out the practicalities of your move. Have you organized a removals company and storage? Do you need to sort out building and contents insurance? Utilities? Will your pets need looking after during the move?

Once the exchange has happened, you can look forward to the completion date when the money gets transferred, and the property legally changes hands. This is normally two weeks later, but you can choose to exchange and complete on the same day if you need to.

The terms of the sale are now legally binding which means that your deposit is non-refundable if you change your mind. Equally, the seller is obliged to sell to you at the price you’ve agreed.

Step 8: Move in!This is the point when you know it was all worth it. On or just before the day of completion, your solicitor will pay what you owe to the seller’s solicitor.

Once you’ve had the call to confirm that the money has been transferred, the transfer document  and title deeds will be yours. You can pick up the keys.

Welcome to your new home!