Top house-hunting tips

Picture of a house and piles of money
By Susan Harris, Lecturer

30 July 2018

Lecturer Susan Harris is familiar with the househunting process having done so for her own property, and has gleaned fantastic tips for our students looking to get a foot on the ladder. Here’s where your accruing CA skills will also prove handy!

1. Borrowing amount

First and foremost - find out how much you can borrow before you start looking at properties, so that you select the right budget. There is no point in finding your dream property if it is completely out of your price range. Try and find out the average for how much properties are selling over asking price in your preferred areas - you may have enough for a deposit, but any costs above this amount will need to be paid upfront.

2. Gauge prices

Do some research on Zoopla, Rightmove and similar websites to check what properties have sold for previously – this will give you an indication of whether they are in your budget, particularly if the properties are marketed as ‘offers over’, which is often the case in Scotland.

3. Mortgage research

Do your own research direct with mortgage providers as well as using a financial adviser - sometimes you find a better deal yourself.

4. Safety nets

Don’t forget! You may need life insurance when you take on a mortgage, so don’t start the house missives until you have a guarantee of insurance if required by the mortgage lender.

5. Rent it out!

Have you thought about rent a room relief? If you rent out your spare room and earn less than £7,500 for 2018/19 you will not be required to pay any tax (a tip you will learn in TPS tax).

6. Tot it up

Don’t forget to factor in monthly running costs in addition to your mortgage payments – utilities; home insurance; council tax & water rates; phone/broadband; food and any existing loan/car payments… even that Netflix account!

7. Hidden costs

Factor in legal expenses including stamp duty / LBTT costs (a great PoT fact).

8. Get wallpapering

Consider a DIY project to let you add most value (assuming you can do the work, or know someone who can).

9. Get it cheap

DIY purchases required? Wait for a bank holiday weekend as there are often discounts!

10. Bonuses

Consider using a cashback website to make your purchases, including insurance, to get more money in your pocket.

11. Credit line

Another great money-saving tip is to take out a 0% purchase rate credit card with a lengthy 0% APR, for all those big purchases. Some come with loyalty points such as ‘Nectar’ which all add to your balance.

12. Supermarket sweep

Start saving as many supermarket loyalty points as possible, as these can be used to pay for your first month of food in your new home.

What points would you add to the list? Leave a comment below or email


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