Get your mortgage agreed ‘in principle'
This means that a lender has assessed your personal details – things like occupation, credit history, income and your other financial responsibilities, amongst others – and is happy to lend you ‘x' amount, subject to the valuation on the property being ok, and the info given being correct and supported by the proof they require (pay slips etc).
You will also have an idea at this stage of your product, rate, fees, and monthly repayments via a document called the Key facts illustration (KFI).
Find a property
Then its down to you to find a house and put an offer to purchase in.
Instruct the Valuer
When you've had an offer accepted, the lender will need to instruct a valuation of the property to check its worth what you're paying for it.
They can also, at your request, perform home-buyers reports and full structural surveys (additional cost), and this is your decision based on whether you think the property requires more in depth analysis.
Formal mortgage offer
Once the lender is happy with the valuation and all your documents, they will formally offer the mortgage and send copies of the paperwork out to you and to the solicitor to get ready for completion.
The mortgage at this point is sorted.
Most lenders and brokers will be able to issue an offer within 10 days (max) of your valuation request (depending on time taken to get the val booked in), but usually much quicker than this.
It can be offered at any point after receiving a successful valuation and all documents.
Instruct a solicitor
This can be done at any point once an offer has been accepted, and if time is of the essence then some purchasers like to get the solicitors moving straight away.
However, it is advisable to wait until the valuation has been done, because spending money on legal work when you don't know the house you're buying is suitable, is a costly mistake if something on the valuation puts you off.
Solicitors can be found locally or online, usually online are cheaper.
They will then instruct searches on the property such as local authority searches (to make sure they aren't going to build a motorway through the back garden anytime soon!), mining area searches, chancel searches to see if the house is part of a parish area, and others.
Once all searches have been done, and both the buyer and seller's solicitors have drawn up the appropriate contracts, you are ready to exchange the contracts and set a date for completion (this can happen on the same day).
Think carefully before securing debt against your home, your home
may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.