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How to buy a house

Avoid nightmares

How to buy a house

Becoming an adult is hard work. Holding down a job, paying taxes, getting frowned at for jumping on the sometimes seems as if growing up is just a long stream of rubbishness.

This is never highlighted any better than in the soul-destroying process of buying a house. As usual we're looking out for you and we've been speaking to property expert Laurence Hall over at Zoopla who's been giving us his top tips on what to do.

1. The Finance - work out what you can afford

You need to have an idea of your budget so that you can start a realistic property search. Start by speaking to your bank or an independent mortgage or financial adviser who will be able to talk you through the process and give you an idea of what price range you can afford. There are many types of mortgage deals, so it's important that you chose a deal that suits your lifestyle.

2. The Research - do all the research possible

Get to know the areas you're looking at like the back of your hand. Visit them at different times of the day and week. Set up email alerts for your areas, use our community tool AskMe! to research an area and gain insight from professionals and locals who live and work in the area and download our iPhone or Android property apps. Make sure you look at previous sold house prices in the area or on a specific street on Zoopla. All this information gathering, which is free, will help narrow down your search.

3. The Property - do you know what you're looking for?

If you have a good idea of what you're looking for from the start you can save time on pointless viewings. This will help an estate agent narrow down your search by location and type as well as help you when searching online. Perhaps you're looking for somewhere that needs work, or maybe you want to move in and carry on or perhaps you'll consider all types of property? The more specific you can be, the easier you make it for the agent. Bear in mind though, that finding the right property often involves compromise at some point, so be prepared to be flexible...unless you have very deep pockets!

4. The Viewings - arranging viewings

It's likely that you'll start your property search online and sending an enquiry for a property to an agent through is easy. Once you have found properties you like online you will be able to ring or email the agent via the contact button to arrange a viewing.

5. The Offer - making an offer

If you have done your research and planning, you should have a good idea of what has sold in the area recently. You know the asking price of the property and you know what you can afford, so you'll be in a good position to make an offer based on all these factors.

(Image: Rex Features)