These are the steps you'll take with us when you buy a private sale home. As well as looking at this list you can take a look at our specific information about finding a home, getting a mortgage and conveyancing.

1. Decide how much you can afford to spend on a new home

We can help you with this by putting you in touch with a specialist to work out your financial position.

Don't forget other one-off costs such as solicitor fees and stamp duty land tax.

2. Do you need to sell your current home first?

If you are already a homeowner, decide whether you want to sell your house or flat before you buy.

In fast-moving markets, you will need to be able to pounce quickly when you do find the home of your dreams, so make sure you're up-to-speed with your housing chain.

Please note: If you need to sell your property to fund the purchase of your new property, we cannot agree a sale until you find a buyer.

3. Decide where you want to live

Do your research thoroughly – get it wrong and you will either be unhappy with where you live, or face the costs of moving again.

4. Arrange a mortgage

You should ideally have your finances in place and arrange to get an 'agreement in principle' (AIP).

Your bank, building society or Financial Advisor will be able to give you more information about much you can borrow based on your earnings.

You will need to get the lender to make you a formal mortgage offer before you can exchange contracts (step 8).

Find out more about the process of applying for a mortgage. You should send us the details of your mortgage once you've applied.

5. Choose your home

Browse the selection of homes we have for sale and choose the one that suits you the best. Find out more about buying a home with us.

6. Pay a deposit and sign a reservation agreement

For private sale homes, this will typically be around £2000. For shared ownership homes, this will be around £500.

7. Appoint your solicitor

Your solicitor will take care of the legal side of the transaction on your behalf. Let your solicitor know the reservation period, which is usually 20 working days. If you're selling a property your solicitor will need to apply for title deeds, which could take up to three weeks.

8. Apply for your mortgage

You will need to submit your mortgage application and your lender will carry out a valuation to ensure that the property is good enough to lend against. Once the lender is satisfied, they will issue you a mortgage offer.  You should send us details of your mortgage once you've applied.

9. We will send your solicitor the draft contract, conveyance plan and other relevant documentation

These documents are specific to the property you are buying and detail the legal requirements of the purchase.

10. Your mortgage offer is confirmed

Once the lender is satisfied, they will issue you a mortgage offer. Tell us and your solicitor once you have accepted your mortgage offer terms.

11. Talk to your solicitor about the contract

You need to agree how to pay the deposit on exchange, which will be 10% of the purchase price. You then need to sign the contract and agree how to pay the balance of the money once you've completed.

12. Your solicitor exchanges contracts with us and pays your deposit

This is the point where the buyer and the seller are legally bound by the terms of the contract. Your Sales Agent will keep you updated and talk you through everything you need to know about your new home.

Find out more about conveyancing, exchanging contracts and completion.

13. We will keep you informed of when your house or flat is ready to move into

This is called sales completion. We will keep you updated on the progress of your new property and give you notice in advance (usually 10-14 working days) of completion.

14. Organise your move

You've got two choices– do it yourself or hire a moving company. Don't forget the hidden costs when going DIY, such as packing boxes and materials, hiring a van and the time and effort involved. If you're using a company, confirm with them exactly what's included in their fee.

15. Consider storage for your possessions

Storage is useful for both long and short-term storage. There are often deals if you pay in advance at most storage facilities.

16. Change your address

You'll need to spend some time informing a wide range of people and organisations that you are moving. Household utilities such as gas, electricity, phone, cable TV, broadband suppliers will all need to be notified. And don’t forget your doctor, bank, insurance company, DVLA, and TV licence provider.

17. The final stretch

Confirm your removal day and time if you are using a removal service and arrange parking for a van. It's a good idea to let your neighbours know and inform the local authority if you need more space.

Cancel milk and paper deliveries, arrange for a plumber or electrician to disconnect appliances and start packing. Leave the things you still need like the kettle and mobile phone chargers to the very last minute.

Take a look at our homes for sale or find out more about getting a mortgage.

NEXT: how do you get a mortgage?