Buying a house can be expensive & time consuming. To avoid wasting money or time unnecessarily, it’s important to hire the right professionals. However, it’s also important to personally plan your purchase from the very start.
It’s easy to start looking at potential properties but before you do, your initial concern should be finance. You can either search for a mortgage yourself or you can use a broker. Given it’s your first time, I would probably do the latter because broker’s often get special broker only deals, and they will also be able to advise in regards to the Help to Buy scheme as an option.
Get an offer in principle & a clear grasp on the maximum mortgage amount you can borrow (LTV – Loan to Value), how much deposit you will put in and the cost per month/affordability of both your mortgage & associated ownership costs. The latter is critical because you will need to factor in regular outgoings that you currently pay plus predicted ones that are linked to home ownership – council tax, utilities etc. It is also crucial because as of last month, significantly more stringent checks will be done by the mortgage lender on you – Mortgage Market Review (MMR).
Once you have your offer in principle, you can start the exciting part of looking for your dream home. I would suggest creating an ideal property criteria such as area, size, type, price ect. You can register with some agents local to the areas but also search online.