House buyers guide

If you are thinking of buying a property, our House Buyers Guide is designed to walk you through key parts of the process to help ensure it runs as smoothly as possible.

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Financial preparation

Before you begin your property search, getting your finances in order is essential if you want to be in the best position to secure your dream home.


What budget do you have in mind for your home? There are various ways to work out how much you can afford to spend on your mortgage and insurances. You can start online by completing our budget planner and if you book an appointment with a mortgage adviser from our partner Embrace Financial Service they can help you work through the planner.

They could also help you in understanding what government support you may be eligible for too which may help you in buying.

For example, there are two government backed Help to Buy Equity Loan schemes available in England which offer loans of 20% towards the purchase of a new build home, provided you pay 5% deposit and raise the remaining funds via a mortgage. 

The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme comes to an end on 28th February 2021 – and is available to all homebuyers. The deadline was originally in 2020. 

The Help to Buy Equity Loan (2021-2023) scheme is available for purchases from April 2021, and will run until 2023. This is only available to first time buyers.


Do you have enough money saved for your deposit? You are likely to need at least 5% of the purchase price of the house as a deposit. However, if you can save more for a deposit you can often get a cheaper mortgage.


How much you could borrow? Have a look at our latest mortgage deals to find out likely fees and interest rates. You can calculate online how much your repayments would be based on different interest rates with our mortgage repayment calculator. Or you can talk to an Embrace Financial Services mortgage adviser who will be able to discuss the different criteria lenders may have for how they calculate the amount they would be willing to lend you.

Credit score

Do you know about your credit score? Your credit score could affect your mortgage borrowing ability. You can check your credit score on the internet at sites such as the Credit Expert from Experian, and you can improve it by doing such things as registering to vote.

Searching for your property

With branches across the UK, we could already have your new home on our online property database. Here are a few considerations to help you find the right home and understand what happens next.

Property type

Do you know what type of property you want? Think about whether you want a new build property or "second-hand". Are you happy to be attached to another or keen to be detached? How many bedrooms do you want, do you need a garden or garden?


Do you know the difference between freehold and leasehold properties? You can use our Glossary to find a brief description.


Do you want to live near work, your friends, the gym? Think about the future, will you have a family and need to think about schools? What about proximity to transport routes and other amenities?


Do you know how mortgages work? This guide gives a quick overview, however there is no substitute for first-hand information.

Mortgage process

When you have an initial appointment with an Embrace Financial Services mortgage adviser, they will review your needs, current circumstances, and look for a suitable mortgage deal for you from a lender.

Agreement in principle

They will help you apply for an agreement or mortgage decision in principle from the lender. This is confirmation in writing of a lender's expression of intent to provide funding subject to certain conditions being met but it is not a formal mortgage offer.

Mortgage application

When you find a property and make an offer then you will need to make a full mortgage application to the lender. You can find out more in our guide to mortgages.

For mortgage advice, talk to our partners Embrace Financial Services by booking an appointment

You can also use our free online mortgage matching service, provided by our partners Embrace Financial Services, to find the best potential mortgage deals for you. Find your mortgage matches in 60 seconds.

Viewing properties

Make sure you know what to look for when viewing a property to be certain that it not only meets your own search criteria but also that you won’t get any nasty surprises if you decide to proceed and make an offer. Here are some things to consider.

State of repair

Does the property require updating? If so, is it just minor cosmetic work, or more major structural improvements? If you really like a property, it may be worth asking a builder to view it with you on a second viewing. They can help identify and damp, mould, cracks, or damage and estimate a repair cost which might be useful for negotiating on price when you make an offer.

Property size

Are the rooms big enough – for now and years to come? Do you need one or two bathrooms? Is there sufficient storage? If not, could extra space and storage facilities be added?

Running costs

Ask to see the current bills - council tax, utilities, to help get an idea of actual costs to live there.


This should be easy if you’ve done your research and identified what you’re looking for so should just be a case of checking against your criteria. Could you see yourself living there?

Making an offer

Do you know about making an offer on a property?

Initial offer

This is where you put forward a price that you would like to buy the property for, to the estate agent acting on behalf of the seller. Their estate agent will put your offer to the seller and the property becomes ‘Under offer’.

Revised offer

If your offer is rejected you could make another, higher offer if your budget allows.

Offer accepted

Once your offer is accepted then you can proceed with the purchase and application for a mortgage. The property is usually taken off the market at this point and the property becomes ‘Sold subject to contract.