As mentioned, it’s a good idea to apply for a mortgage before you start house hunt. This may seem odd but there are good reasons. Applying and getting a mortgage in principle means you know how much you can afford before you start looking, and you’ll be at less risk of losing your dream home because you couldn’t borrow as much as you had thought.
Secondly, applying in advance makes it less likely that you will lose the house you’ve put an offer on or reserved due to a delay in your application slowing things down. Such delays could cause a seller to become impatient and accept somebody else’s offer instead.
Finally, having a mortgage in principle shows a seller you’re serious and that they can therefore take your offer seriously. Sometimes they will accept a lower offer from a buyer with a mortgage already lined up rather than risk accepting a higher offer from someone who hasn’t yet applied.
If you are buying a new build home, often the developer will be able to put you in touch with an expert mortgage broker or adviser who are often familiar with the new development already. This can be a great help in speeding up the buying process.