First Time Buyer Guide

Our quick step by step guide to buying your first property

1. Where do I start?

The best starting point would be to see how much you can afford to borrow and how much deposit you will need. The mortgage market can change quickly and it’s a good idea to find a mortgage broker that can keep you informed with the current developments and availability. Brokers, like ourselves, are able to source mortgages from a wide range of lenders thus enabling us to find the best option for you. We will be able to tell you how much you can borrow, what costs you can expect and how much deposit you will need to have saved.

2. How do I know if a mortgage company is likely to lend me the money I need?

If you are happy with the initial information and costs we can move ahead and arrange an agreement in principle, often abbreviated to AIP or decision in principle (DIP), these are both the same thing and essentially a check with the lender that subject to underwriting and valuation you are able to borrow the amount you would like.

3. Once I have a mortgage agreed in principle should I go and find a property?

Armed with your AIP or DIP you are in a great position to now go and shop for a property. Register with agents and use the property sites to find what you are looking for, arrange viewings and make offers.

4. Making an offer and choosing the right property;

When you come to making an offer on a property there are lots of factors that could determine how much you should offer such as, how long has the property been on the market, does it seem a fair price in comparison to other local properties, does the property need any work and many other considerations. If the area you are looking at is somewhere you aren’t particularly familiar with it’s a good idea to look up the transport links, local schools and crime rates before you make your decision. Whatever you decide to offer, the agent that is advertising the property has a legal obligation to submit this to the seller for their consideration. If you get your offer accepted, you can move on to the next stage.

5. Now I have chosen a property what do I do next?

Now you can apply for a mortgage, if some time has passed while looking for a property we may check again to make sure you have the best deal at the time, you then supply us with documentation and we submit the application to the lender who will need to underwrite your case and arrange a valuation. You will also need to instruct a solicitor; we are able to help you arrange quotes if you need them or you can provide us the details of whoever you wish to use.

6. What valuation or survey should I choose?

Usually, valuations are instructed by the lender at the cost of the applicant, but these are for the lenders benefit to ensure that the purchase price is accurate. It is advisable to obtain your own survey on the property separately to make sure there are no defects you are not aware of, but this is not a legal requirement. There are several options commonly available, condition report, homebuyers report and structural surveys. You can find more information via

7. What happens once after my valuation is done?

Once your valuation is successful and your underwriting complete, you will be issued with a mortgage offer, a copy will be sent to you and to your solicitor detailing the mortgage arranged. Timescales for each lender will vary, each lender will usually publish their timescales and are available by searching your lenders name and SLA which stands for service level agreements.

8. After you have your mortgage offer;

Your solicitor will have been working concurrently and arranging to check or draw up contracts, arrange searches, they will also deal with land registry and stamp duty. They will be able to advise you on all aspects of the property purchase and whether there are any issues you should be aware of.

9. Insuring the property and the potential risks

You require insurance for your new purchase, we will be able to advise you and provide quotes for the required insurances at any point but as a minimum building insurance must be in place at the point you exchange contracts. You may also at this point want to consider what will happen if you cannot pay your mortgage for any reason, whether you become ill or lose your job, we will be able to provide details of how we can help protect you in these type of events.

10. Exchanging contracts

Once all the legal work has been carried out, you can arrange to sign contracts and pay your deposit, you may need to consider other parties in the chain if there is one. You will then arrange to exchange contracts; this is when the transaction becomes legally binding and you will have a date to complete. You will need to consider now your arrangements for the moving date, it will always be a weekday that completion takes place so you may need to book time off, arrange removals and organise any help you may need on moving day.

11. Completing your purchase

Completion – moving day! This is the day that the transaction is finalised, and you can move into your new home and relax (after the hard work of unpacking is done).

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Company Details

The Mortgage Company is a trading style of The Mortgage Company (London & Essex) Ltd and is an Appointed Representative of Mortgage Intelligence which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under number 305330 in respect of mortgage, insurance and consumer credit mediation activities only.

The Mortgage Company (London & Essex) Registered Address: 40 Orford rd., Walthamstow, London E17 9NJ Registered in England & Wales No 11946321

“We always aim to provide a high quality service to our customers. However, if you encounter any problems and we are unable to resolve them you can take your complaint to an independent Ombudsman. Our advice is covered under the Financial Ombudsman Service ( 

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