For most people buying a property the biggest ongoing cost is the mortgage - simply a loan secured against a property. It is vital that you secure a mortgage with a lender before starting the searching process. This way, when you find the right property, you will avoid being beaten to it by another buyer and you will also be in a much stronger negotiating position.
Get a Mortgage Agreed in Principle
Once you think you've found a mortgage deal you like, the next step is to get a Mortgage in Principle agreement from a lender.
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To do this they'll need to do a full credit check on you. As each check leaves a "footprint" on your credit file, it's best not to do too many as it can hurt your credit rating.
A Mortgage in Principle will show agents and sellers that you are a serious buyer with a mortgage lined up - and put you a step ahead of other buyers.
Your mortgage company will provide a summary of the mortgage agreement, called the Key Facts Illustration showing the total cost of the mortgage, the interest rate, whether there are any penalties for early repayment and any other special conditions.