Home-buying-timeline-checklist

How to buy a home [home buying timeline checklist]

So, you’re a first time buyer. You dream of getting onto the property ladder, but you need a breakdown of exactly how to buy a home so you can take it step by step. Sound familiar?

We speak to first time buyers every day at Pocket Living, so we know how daunting it can be to figure out where to begin in your home buying journey. But, it doesn’t have to be – we’ve created a home buying timeline checklist to get you on your way.

Read on to find out what to do as a first time buyer – whether you’re buying a Pocket home or otherwise. We’ve been helping middle earning Londoners become homeowners since 2005, so you can always get in touch with our helpful Sales Team at sales@pocketliving.com if you’d like even more guidance.

If you’re ready to learn how to buy a home, keep reading!

Home buying timeline checklist

This is a one-stop checklist for buying a home. It has all the relevant information you need to get your foot onto that first rung of the property ladder.

Preparing to buy

First-time-buyer-checklist

1. Know your budget

The first step in our home buying checklist is to speak to a qualified Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) or the mortgage broker from your bank to find out what you can afford.

If you’re interested in buying a Pocket home, we recommend speaking with Censeo Financial for free independent financial advice, as they specialise in mortgages for Pocket homes.

2. Understand your options

Next, explore what’s on the market by using websites like Rightmove and Zoopla. You can also check out alternative options like shared ownership and Help to Buy.

If discounted Pocket homes seem like a good choice for you, learn more about Pocket Living and create an account so we can let you know if any developments launch that you’re eligible for.

3. Explore different areas

Consider where you’d like to buy a home, taking into account things like commute, proximity to friends and family and what different areas have to offer. Don’t forget to think about what you can afford, including the cost of the commute.

4. Make enquiries

It’s time to pick your favourite homes, make some enquiries and book some viewings. You will need to register your interest with the individual agents and/or developers to arrange a viewing.

In the case of Pocket, you will need to create a My Pocket account and register with Censeo to complete an affordability assessment for the specific development you’re interested in. You will be able to book a viewing via your My Pocket dashboard if your assessment is approved and you’re eligible.

Register with Pocket Living

The buying process

Home-buying-timeline

You now understand the preparation for buying a home, but what happens next? The buying process is the really exciting bit, so read on to find out what to do as a first time buyer.

1. Proceed after a viewing

After an open market viewing, you can make an offer to the agent or developer. Bear in mind that the offer may not be accepted, and you will have to negotiate with the seller or developer in order to agree a price.

Pocket homes are independently valued at 20% below the local market value, which means prices are fixed. After viewing, you’ll have the chance to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI), which is how you let us know you’re interested in buying a Pocket home.

2. Agree your purchase

If your offer has been accepted, you will receive a Memorandum of Sale (MOS) from the agent, which confirms the terms of the sale. If you’re purchasing a new home, you will most likely need to pay a reservation fee.

Once you’ve received the MOS, you will need to make sure your chosen solicitor and IFA are instructed to work on your behalf.

On the other hand, if you’re allocated a Pocket home, you will find an Offer Letter and an Offer Letter Information Sheet in your My Pocket dashboard. It will contain a clear timescale of what is expected and all the T’s & C’s you should know about.

Once everything has been uploaded, a reservation form will be created for you. We will both instruct our solicitors, and they will start the legal process of home buying, called ‘conveyancing’.

3. Submit a mortgage application

Checklist-for-buying-a-home

The next step in the home buying timeline is to submit your mortgage application with the help of your chosen IFA or bank.

The MOS or reservation form will include specific information about the property that the mortgage lender will need as part of your application.

4. The conveyancing process

The conveyancing process can seem daunting, so make sure you instruct a firm that you’re happy with. Your solicitor will initially send you the draft contracts, which you will need to read, sign and send back. They will also apply for searches and raise enquires with the seller’s solicitor.

Whilst the conveyancing process is underway, you should expect to receive your mortgage offer.

They will also send your mortgage deed and the lease (if you are buying a leasehold home) for you to sign and send back to your them, and then request for you to transfer the exchange deposit – typically 10% of the purchase price.

Once you’re happy with everything, you will provide authority to exchange to your solicitor. Then, you will exchange contracts – this means the sale is legally binding and neither side can withdraw from the process.

5. Completion

How-to-buy-a-home

If you’re buying a home that is already built, you will have agreed a set completion date when you exchanged contracts. On the day of completion, your solicitor will call you when your completion funds have been received by the seller’s solicitor and you can collect the keys!

For Pocket homes, as soon as the building you are buying a home in has completed, the solicitors will set a date for you to get your keys and move in. Our Customer Care Team will provide you with a home induction tour so that you know where to find everything and how it all works when you move in.

On the day of completion, we will call you when your completion funds have reached Pocket’s solicitor so that we can give you the keys to your new home!

How to buy a Pocket home

A video all about Pocket

Pocket homes are unique because they’re discounted by 20% to the current open market price of comparable homes in the area. We build these homes for middle earning Londoners who may not otherwise be able to afford to get onto the property ladder.

Wondering if you’re eligible? Generally, if you don’t currently own a home, live or work in London and earn under £90k, you are.

Eligibility requirements set out for each development ensure that local first time buyers who need help getting onto the property ladder are the occupiers of Pocket homes.

There you have it – a home buying timeline checklist to help you understand how to buy your first home.

When you break down what to do as a first time buyer step by step, you’ll understand how to tackle the home buying journey head on and make your way towards becoming a homeowner.


We have plenty more posts about the home buying process, including the ultimate guide to mortgage deposits and an explanation of stamp duty exemption.

Follow Pocket Living on Instagram to join our Q&As and see real stories of middle earners in London who got onto the property ladder with the help of Pocket.

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