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What can you afford?

Simply put, its best to know your budget before stepping inside an estate agent's office. This means reviewing your finances. And unless you are in a position to buy a property with cash you will also need to seek advice on getting a mortgage.

This mortgage calculator is a great first step: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/mortgage-rate-calculator

Firstly work where and what type of property you want, then you can research areas and property listings online – Property Wishes provides tailored choices specific to your needs as well as lots of local information, for example transport links, schools, ameneties and so on.

Choosing a mortgage

You can learn a lot about first time buyer mortgages by speaking to friends and family, or searching the web for the best mortgage deals. Also contact banks and building societies about current deals they have on offer. You can also speak to a mortgage adviser, who will be able to help you to fill out your mortgage application.

Also look into government schemes that you may be eligible for here: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-people-to-buy-a-home/supporting-pages/help-for-first-time-buyers

Buyers checklist

On viewing properties within your price range, there are several questions worth bearing in mind to make sure the property is right for you. For example, has the vendor found another property? Otherwise you may find yourself unable to move in for several months, which causes unwanted stress plus extra costs.

Other questions include finding out if any other offers have been made on the property, to help determine your offer if you want to proceed with a purchase - as well as finding out what is included in the sale. For example, is the washing machine included? Dishwasher? Or will you need to budget to buy your own when you move in and so on.

As a first time buyer, you are far more attractive to vendors as you don't have another place to sell, so you will be able to move more quickly.

Found your dream home?

Once you've found the home you want to buy, you’ll want to make an offer. You should discuss this with your estate agent first, who will negotiate with the vendor on your behalf.

You will then need to organise a chartered surveyor to check that the building is structurally sound. A property solicitor - known as a conveyancer, will manage the legal side of the purchase.

Stamp duty charges: https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates

The final hurdle

Once all the checks are complete you exchange contracts and move into your new home on completion day or moving in day.