10 Tips for Buying a Home in London

Apr 27, 2022
10 Tips For Buying A Home In London
Hunting for a home in a city as vast, varied and cosmopolitan as London can be an exciting challenge. So we’ve drawn together 10 tips to help you find the right place and avoid getting lost along the way.

1. Do your research

Before you even start looking at any homes, you’ll want to thoroughly research and explore to find the areas that might suit you best. Walthamstow, Richmond, Acton, Tooting – it’s often said that London is a collection of villages. Each one has its own unique character and vibe, so ask yourself if you want to live somewhere energetic, or a bit more laid-back.


Look at the average property prices, transport links and local features like schools, leisure centres green spaces, hospitals, cinemas, restaurants and more.


Considering areas beyond zones 1 and 2 could save you money on the price of a property and your mortgage repayments, but don’t forget to factor in the extra time and cost of commuting.


Barratt London has a wide range of brand-new homes and developments in exciting and up-and- coming areas.



Illustration of London location guide

2. Visit your favourite locations

Researching online is a good way to narrow down your options, but you can only get a real sense of an area by visiting it.


Where you choose to live needs to feel right. So if you like the look of somewhere, make a point of visiting it at different times of the day and night, grab a bite to eat in a café, take a stroll around a park, do a spot of shopping – all the things you might do if it was your local neighbourhood.


3. Stay organised

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re hunting for a new home. But dashing around and trying to see 16 places in a day can make all the viewings blur into one. It’s exhausting too, and most people are more likely to make poor decisions when tired.


So map out a reasonable plan of attack, take pictures if possible and jot down some notes – they’ll be useful when you want to remind yourself about the pros and cons of a place.


Illustration of London apartment buildings


4. Work out your must-haves

In addition to narrowing down the areas you’d like to live in, make a list of what you want in a property. For instance, some people can’t imagine living without a bit of private outdoor space. Others might put energy-efficiency at the top of their list.


Decide what are must-haves, and what you could potentially live without.


5. Start early and work out your budget

Start your research well in advance and work out what you can realistically afford to buy within your budget. Whether you’re a first time buyer or a current homeowner, calculate what sort of deposit you can draw together and what level of monthly mortgage repayments you’d be comfortable with.


Well-known websites such as comparethemarket, MoneySupermarket and MoneySavingExpert all have handy calculators to help you figure out what level of mortgage would be right for you.


Illustration of housing checklist

6. Be prepared to compromise

According to the Government’s UK House Price Index, the average property price in London for January 2022 was £510,102. The reality of the London housing market is that almost everyone needs to compromise. This could be on the areas you focus on, or by revisiting some of the property features you’d like to have.


7. Don't miss out any offers

There are a number of schemes, some backed the Government, specifically designed to give a helping hand to people looking to buy a home in the city. For example, with London Help to Buy you could purchase a brand-new home up to £600,000 with just a 5% deposit. Subject to eligibility, terms and conditions.


That’s just one of the schemes available. Barratt London has a wide range of offers to help first time buyers and existing homeowners make their move.



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8. Don’t be afraid to move quickly

The London property market moves fast. So if you find a property that ticks your boxes on first viewing, don’t be afraid to act quickly. Whether that’s to arrange a second viewing or even make an offer, if it feels right it might be best to go for it.


9. Keep calm

There’s a bewildering amount of choice in London. If you don’t find what you want in the areas you’ve pinpointed try not to get despondent. There are always new properties coming onto the market and the great thing about London is that areas living side-by-side with each other can offer something completely different.


Simply widening your search slightly could reveal unexpected treasures – and just what you’re looking for. There are also areas of the city that are being transformed and re-energised to create vibrant and good value communities with superb infrastructure.



Illustration of different types of London properties


10. Be financially prepared

When you find the right place, chances are you’ll want to move quickly. So make sure you’re financially ready to push the button by sorting certain things out in advance. This can include making sure your credit score is as strong as it can be. You can improve it by:


  • Not missing any debt repayments
  • Getting on the electoral roll


Securing a mortgage in principle can also be a very good idea. As the name suggests, it’s an agreement from a lender confirming that they would, in principle, be willing to lend you a certain amount of money.  It’s really useful as it proves you can afford to buy a property, so you’ll be taken seriously by both sellers and estate agents.


When it comes to applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to provide paperwork like bank statements, recent utility bills, payslips and more, so it might be worth getting this together in advance.


As you can tell, there’s a lot to think about when you’re buying a home. So we’ve put together some useful information to help you along.



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Find your place in the city

London is a one of the greatest places in the world. We can help you make the most if it, in a brand-new, stylish, energy-efficient home designed and built for modern living.