I want to start out by saying I'm no expert when it comes to buying a house, I've only ever bought one. I'm a trainee lawyer in property law so I know somewhat about the legal side but that's it.
I bought my first home about 4 years ago and it was probably one of the most stressful times of my life. I don't want to put you off because it's the best decision I've ever made and your experience could be totally different to mine but it's no walk in the park.
It took me about 4 months from putting my offer in to completing and moving in. I bought a two bed flat which I live in with just my bunnies haha.
Before you even look at properties make sure you see a mortgage advisor to ascertain how much you can borrow and work out what monthly payments you can afford. Look at all your outgoings and how much household bills are going to come to. Bills to consider:
Energy (gas and electric)
Sky, NetFlix etc
Internet and phoneline
Before I put my offer in I looked at quite a few other properties before making my decision. This is very important. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions; to the seller, the estate agent or your solicitor. At the end of the day you're putting a lot of money into this so you want to know you're getting your money's worth.
Speaking of costs here's a breakdown of all fees you'll need to pay:
Legal fees (between £500 and £1,000)
Surveyor (between £250 and £500)
Search fees (around £100)
Land Registry fees (around £100)
Mortgage fee (between £500 and £1000)
Basically whatever figure you've got in your head, double it because you never know what might come up and what else you need to fork out for and the last thing you want is for the sale to fall through because you couldn't raise the funds.
Once you've had your offer accepted make sure to read through all contracts and leases thoroughly. Your solicitor should do this for you but make sure you know what you're signing. It's a big commitment after all. Then once you have your completion date you can start ordering furniture and sometimes it can be a good idea to visit the property again to take measurements.
Then you get the keys and move in!
The most stressful part for me was the constantly chasing people to find out the state of play but you'll get there in the end and it is so SO worth it.
I hope you find this helpful, feel free to ask me any other questions or drop me an email: email@example.com