The Buying Process



Buying your first home is one of the biggest financial commitments you will make in your life. Whilst it is a very exciting time, it can be daunting with the volume of information available and hard to know where to start. It’s no wonder it’s ranked at one of the most stressful experiences you can go through.

At Willowgate Finance we will help you through every stage of the process, always providing valuable and useful information that will make the whole experience far less overwhelming.

Step 1 – Establish your affordability

Contact us to arrange a free, no obligation, appointment in order to establish how much you could potentially borrow in order to buy your home. The appointment can be face to face, at a time and location which suits you, or by phone anywhere in the UK.

In this meeting we will:

  • complete a detailed review to get to know you so that we can ensure our advice is tailored to your unique circumstances
  • explain the different mortgage schemes available; including rate types, Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, Shared Equity, and establish which is the most suitable for you
  • explain all the costs involved in purchasing your home; including conveyancing, surveys, arrangement fees, stamp duty & deposits – and when these become due

You will now have a good idea of your borrowing potential and can now start looking at homes.

Step 2 – Obtain a mortgage in principle

Also known as a ‘Decision in Principle’ (DIP), or an ‘Agreement in Principle’ (AIP), a mortgage in principle is a certificate or statement from a lender to say that ‘in principle’ (based on the information they’ve been given – including income and expenditure – and after conducting a credit check) they would lend you a certain amount.

The estate agent will often want to ensure that when you are making your offer that you will be able to obtain a mortgage and for the amount you require, on top of your deposit, in order to proceed to completion. In many cases they won’t confirm the sale, and take the property off the market, without site of a mortgage in principle.

Having established your circumstances in our first appointment, we can help you obtain a mortgage in principle after searching the whole of the mortgage market to establish the most suitable lender and mortgage product for you.

Step 3 – Apply for a mortgage and instruct solicitors

Now you’ve found your perfect home, it’s time to submit the mortgage application. We will complete all the paperwork:

  • check that the mortgage recommended is still most suitable mortgage scheme as rates change often
  • recommend appropriate protection arrangements
  • upfront fees/costs paid, such as valuation/survey fee and arrangement fee

It is time to instruct a solicitor to handle the legal arrangements to purchase the property. We can help you find one if you haven’t already.

Step 4 – Mortgage valuation & searches applied for

A valuation is carried out by the lender to make sure the property is worth the purchase price agreed before they approve the mortgage. You may opt to have a more in depth Homebuyers Report or structural survey done, either via the lender or by arranging it independently, which will incur a higher charge. Local searches will be undertaken by your conveyancing solicitor. In the meantime the mortgage lender will assess the application, and supporting documents provided – ensuring the information supplied at the mortgage in principle stage is correct and still accurate.

Step 5 – Mortgage offer

As long as the valuation has come back satisfactory and the lender is happy with the supporting documents submitted with the application, the lender will issue the mortgage offer.

Step 6 – Making sure you have all your protection arrangements in place

We ensure all arrangements are in place before the exchange of contracts. We will:

  • review mortgage offer
  • review protection arrangements
  • explain what happens next

Step 7 – Exchange of contracts

Once all the conveyancing work has been completed – searches returned, replies to enquiries received and contracts signed – you are now ready to Exchange Contracts. Your solicitor will require you to have sent them the deposit monies and the balance of their fees and other costs, such as Stamp Duty Land Tax, prior to Exchange of Contracts.

Step 8 – Move in

Completion! You’re all ready to move in to your new home!


There may be a fee for arranging your mortgage, however the precise amount will depend on your circumstances. Typically the fee is £395.

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