Not sure how to buy a property in London? Please read our step by step guide to the process of buying a property and find out all you need to know.

Step 1: Arranging your mortgage

Deciding to buy a home is exciting. Before you get carried away with property searches, it's best to know just how much you can afford to spend and what you truly require. An independent financial advisor or personal bank is the perfect start.

When your circumstances have been evaluated, you'll be able to obtain a mortgage in principle and this puts you in a strong buying position, sending the right signal to sellers that your finances are in order.

Keatons offers mortgage advice with an independent mortgage company which has access to some of the most competitive mortgage deals on the market. Please ask at your local Keatons office for further details.

Step 2: Register for instant property alerts

Once we have a clear understanding of your requirements we will keep you updated with suitable properties via email and SMS alerts, so you can browse at any time via a smartphone.

Register with Keatons by clicking here, that way we can inform you in advance of properties coming onto the market or contact your local Keatons office. Keatons also uploads all of its properties for sale to the leading portals such as Rightmove.co.uk and Onthemarket.com.

Step 3: Let the viewings begin

The buying market is always competitive so Keatons encourages an early viewing to secure that dream home. We'll do everything possible to ensure you see a property within the quickest time frame and we'll even accompany you throughout. Keatons likes to be on hand during viewings to answer any questions and ensure you have all the information you require about the process of buying a house. We know you lead a busy life, so we're open during the evenings and at weekends to make sure property viewing is a pleasure, not a pain.

Opening hours: 9am-7pm Monday to Thursday, 9-6pm on Fridays and 9-5pm on Saturdays.

Step 4: Make an offer

The next step is to secure the property! Contact Keatons to put your interest forward on your chosen property and we’ll advise you on how to proceed. An offer will be put forward both verbally and in writing, stating any special conditions. There are no legal obligations on either side until the contracts are signed.

A good solicitor can be instrumental to a smooth move. Keatons advises choosing a company that specialises in conveyancing but, if you’re in any doubt, ask to see our list of recommended solicitors who have been given glowing references by our clients.

Step 5: Offer agreed

Even when an offer is agreed, Keatons will still be working hard to progress the purchase. We will:

  • Prepare a memorandum of sale
  • Write to all parties to confirm the agreed price
  • Ask you to confirm your solicitor's and mortgage details

Now is the time to instruct your chosen solicitor as they will need to oversee all the legal aspects of your purchase. You’ll also need to contact your mortgage provider and give them the full details of your purchase in order for your loan to proceed.

Step 6: And now for the legal bit – conveyancing

A solicitor will ensure that you legally own the property you are buying and will oversee the transfer of funds from buyer to seller. Your solicitor will also become a key mediator, along with your estate agent. They will:

  • Raise any enquiries on receipt of the draft contract from the seller's solicitor
  • Request their own local searches
  • Refer to the information already provided in the seller's pack
  • Advise on all matters through to completion

Keatons has cultivated strong relationships with all of our recommended solicitors because we believe that an open dialogue will help your house purchase move along with speed.

Step 7: Survey and mortgage offer

Most buyers instruct a survey and if you are obtaining a mortgage then this will be essential. A surveyor will visit the home you want to purchase to fully evaluate the building condition and price. The surveyor will file a report that goes to the mortgage lender and to you, the buyer.

Once your mortgage lender has received its copy of the report, they will issue a formal mortgage offer – a copy will be sent to you and to your solicitor. Make sure you sign this and return it as soon as possible. There are no legal obligations until contracts are signed.

Step 8: Exchange of contracts

Once all enquiries have been answered and a formal mortgage offer received by your solicitor, exchange of contracts can take place. The next step involves your deposit. Upon receipt of a contract signed by both parties, your deposit (normally a minimum of 10%) will be telegraphically transferred to the seller’s solicitor. This is a real milestone in your property purchase and you can agree a completion date with the sellers – the date on which you hope to move in – once the money has cleared.

Step 9: Completion at last

Completion is probably the most nail biting part of buying a new home as you’ll be waiting to hear that your mortgage lender has transferred the balance of the property purchase to the sellers, signalling you have paid in full for the property. Once the funds have cleared in the sellers account, we can hand over the keys to you – the new home owners. Completion and moving usually happens on the same day.