How to protect yourself when you’re buying a house

It’s easy to forget to protect yourself from losing money during the rollercoaster that is the house buying process, but there’s so much unpredictability that more often than not you’ll find yourself spending more than you bargained for. If you want to make sure you’re doing all you can to save money when buying a new home, you can follow these steps.

Don’t trust everything you hear from estate agents

It’s the job of estate agents to create buzz around a property and a symptom of that buzz can be panic buying. You may hear there them say there is lots of interest in the property or lots of offers on the table but if you’re not sure if you want the house or if they’re wanting more money than you can afford, don’t rush into making an offer.

It’s also a good idea to avoid telling estate agents your maximum price straight off the bat, because they may feed that information back to their client and push you towards the top end of your budget if you make an offer.

Additionally, estate agents may try to pressure you into using their mortgage brokers. Not only is it illegal for them to do this but their brokers may also have a smaller selection of mortgages for you to choose from, which means you could miss out on getting the best value mortgage for you. There could also be an upfront charge for mortgage advice from mortgage brokers too, while banks will offer this for free.

Get house buyer protection insurance

During the house buying process you’ll have to spend money on things like conveyancing and surveys, which can cost thousands of pounds. However, these investments can be in vain if your chain collapses and the sale falls through. This is where house buyer protection insurance comes in, as it allows you to claim back some of your fees should anything happen.

Choose a solicitor that only charges if you complete

Choose a solicitor who doesn’t charge you unless you’ve completed the process. This goes back to what we said earlier about the unpredictability of the house buying process: if you get a solicitor who doesn’t charge unless you complete, it will give you peace of mind and save you money if you need to start over for any reason.

You should also choose a solicitor whose office you’re prepared to visit, because solicitors often insist on seeing their clients in person. If you choose a solicitor that is miles away from where you work or live, you could end up spending extra money on travel costs.

Limit the upfront and ongoing costs of moving home

The beginning of your new home journey is a perfect time to evaluate the upcoming upfront and ongoing costs of moving. Ask yourself, what future expenses will you have that can be reduced?

When you change home you may also be changing your council tax band, but if you feel it’s too high, you could always challenge it with your council. A good way to check if your council tax band is fair is to check the bands of your neighbours and the surrounding neighbourhoods by visiting websites like Zoopla.

You can also reduce the cost of moving by hiring a van and moving your belongings yourself, instead of hiring a removal company. The average cost of using a removing company can total up to £1,192[1] – think of the extra furniture you can buy with that money!

Make sure you have a good credit score

Having a good credit score could increase your chances of qualifying for the best mortgage rates. Getting a decent mortgage rate could work out cheaper for you in the long run, because of the long-term commitment you’re making with the lender and the overall expense to you over time.

Not everyone has a good credit score, so if you want to work on improving your credit score before you apply for a mortgage there’s plenty of ways to do it[2]. Some of these tips include reducing how much of your available credit you use, and paying your bills on time.

Don’t apply for the largest mortgage you can afford

If you’re applying for your mortgage before house hunting, always stay within your budget and don’t just borrow the maximum amount the lender is happy to give you. If you’re careful, you could benefit from smaller mortgage repayments, which means you’ll be able to save extra cash.

While you’re improving your score, you’ll need to keep track of changes. We provide a free-for-life credit report and score, as well as other useful premium products that can support you on your house buying journey. Just visit to sign up.

[1] Compare My Move, Removal Company Costs

[2] How long will it take me to improve my score and how hard will it be?