Buying Property in the UK

While the UK property boom of recent years would lead many to believe that buying a home in the UK would be a difficult prospect, the dramatic rise in prices has not been universal and there are still many locations across the country where house prices are viable for new arrivals.

Getting a Mortgage

A mortgage is a special loan from a bank or building society, and is structured so it can be paid back (with interest) over a long period of time (usually 25 years).  Information is freely available from banks and building societies.  Should you encounter any difficulties when paying your mortgage, it is vital that you contact your bank or building society as soon as possible, and they will help find you a solution.  For a list of potential banks and building societies, visit our dedicated banking page.

  • Further Information: is an independent website that compares that compares a wide range of mortgages across the sector and has a number of calculators and other services to help you work out the best UK mortgage option for you.

Using Estate Agents and Making an Offer

Once you have decided upon buying a home in the UK, your first port of call should be an estate agent (although migrants to Scotland should be aware that the process is different and requires the consulting of a solicitor prior to speaking to an estate agent).

Estate agents act as the link between home buyers and sellers, being the representative for the seller.  They arrange viewings for potential buyers and advertise the homes for sale in their offices and also in newspapers and on websites. 

When you feel ready to buy a home you have viewed, you are required to make an offer to the seller (except in Scotland, where the seller sets a price and buyers make offers over that amount).  The offer is made through an estate agent or solicitor, and many people begin by offering a lower price than the seller is asking.  The first offer must also be 'subject to contract' so it can be withdrawn should there any reasons arrive to hinder your completion of the purchase.

  • Further Information: The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) can be found at and endeavour to guarantee that their 10,000 plus members adhere to the strict codes of conduct and provide integrity and service to all clients.

Using a Solicitor and a Surveyor

Once you have made your offer, a solicitor will take you through the important process of purchasing the house or flat.  They will perform a number of legal checks on the property, the seller and the local area.  Additionally, they will also provide you with the necessary legal agreements to allow you to buy the property.

The bank or building society that is managing your mortgage will provide you with access to a surveyor who will carry out checks on the house or flat you wish to buy.  The buyer will not usually see the result of this survey, so they will often recruit a second surveyor to check the house as well (except for in Scotland, where any survey is carried out before an offer is made to help people decide how much they want to bid for the property).

  • Further Information: The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors are the professional body representing surveyors, and their website at provides a tool to allow new home-buyers to search for registered surveyors in their area. 

    To find a solicitor, the Law Society have a similar online function that lets web-users find a suitable local solicitor for their needs at