What You Need to Know if You’re Buying Your First London Home

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If you’re thinking about buying your first home, congratulations! You’re about to experience a huge life moment and finally have somewhere to call your own. The first-time buyer journey is exciting, scary, overwhelming… it’s basically all the emotions. So, what can you expect?

In this quick read, we take you through some of the initial steps of buying your first home.

Money matters

Whether you’ve built up savings or you’re borrowing from the Bank of Mum and Dad, the first thing that needs attention is a mortgage in principle. This is how you find out what you can afford per month and how much you can borrow.

Unfortunately, a mortgage is just one cost – there are lots of others you need to account for, including:

  • Stamp duty
  • Valuation costs
  • Survey fees
  • Legal fees
  • Insurance
  • Costs of moving/decorating

Top tip: Use a mortgage broker. They’ll help you understand the financial commitment, organise the documents you’ll need, find a suitable deal and apply on your behalf.

Property search

Once you know how much you can afford, you can start your search. Whilst looking online is useful, there’s nothing as valuable as sitting down with an estate agent and discussing exactly what you’re looking for and what you want to pay. Agents have a huge amount of knowledge about the local market and buying process, so make sure you take advantage of it.


As a first-time buyer, it’s important to work with a team of professionals who you can rely on and who can explain things to you. You’ll need a conveyancer or property solicitor to carry out searches and get the deal done.

Top tip: Try to use a solicitor that has been recommended rather than finding your own.

Property surveys

There are two types of survey you should be aware of: a valuation survey and a homebuyer’s survey – which one you need is largely dependent on your lender. For example, if you’re buying a new property, the lender may be happy with a valuation survey. A homebuyer’s survey may be needed if you buy an older property that requires work.

Once a satisfactory survey has been carried out, the lender will (hopefully) approve your mortgage offer.

Next steps

As the excitement builds, so too will the workload/admin of buying a new property. Be prepared to answer questions from the seller’s solicitor or your lender about your timescales, how quickly you can move to exchange and so on.

While this article gives you a quick overview of the steps involved in buying your first property, it’s not a detailed guide. There may be bumps in the road, but it will be worth it once that completion date arrives.

If you’re planning to buy your first property, get in touch with our team at MyLondonHome today. 

This post was written by:

Steven Herd

Steven's extensive 30 years of estate agency experience in London culminated in launching MyLondonHome, which has enabled him to bring together a hand-picked team to provide the high level of quality advice, market strength and service he is renowned for.

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