How to buy a home: Your step-by-step guide


After you have completed, you can move into your new home, or begin any work on the property you are hoping to complete before taking up residence. 

Despite all of the organising and admin you’ve already done, this part of the process calls for a lengthy to-do list.

First things first, once you know your completion date, you should inform your moving company (assuming you’re using one), so you can book them for the date you want to make the move. 

Before you go, it is worth contacting the utility providers of your current residence to let them know you will be leaving – some may transfer their service to your new property, while others may need notice before closing your account.

If you need to set up a new broadband service, you may want to get the process going early, as it can take several weeks to complete.

Other things to think about include getting your post forwarded, and visiting your new property again to measure for any new furniture you might need to order. 

Also, if your seller is part of a further chain, be prepared for some delays – any delays or difficulties further up that chain could impact your timeline. 

Once you’re moved in, remember to notify your local council to update your new council tax records, and take meter readings to pass on to the utilities companies. 

Buying a home is a huge decision, and – in addition to the nuts and bolts of how to make the move happen – you’ll need to find out things like whether the property you’re interested in comes with a leasehold contract, and what that means for you. 

Separately, what is your plan if you’re unable to buy the property you want, but you’ve already sold your own home? And what will you do if you move in somewhere, only to find the property isn’t up to scratch?

Luckily, we have some advice on all of these eventualities.

Leasehold properties have hit the headlines in recent years, due to possible instances of properties being sold with unfair terms, as well as ongoing concerns around cladding following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, with many flat owners having to pick up the cost of having flammable cladding removed. 

Buying a leasehold property means you own the property – usually a flat – for a definite period of time. Ownership is shared with the freeholder, known as the landlord, who will usually own the wider building the flat is part of. Your lease will detail the length of our term and the rights you have regarding the property, such as what changes you can make. 

These properties are also likely to come with fees paid by the leaseholder to the outright owner. Recent reforms to the leasehold have changed how these fees operate and more alterations to the system are expected under the current Government. 

If you purchase a freehold property, you’ll own both the property itself and the land it’s on. You’ll therefore be free to make any changes you like (subject to other rules, such as planning laws), but it also means you’ll be responsible for the upkeep of the property and land. 



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