Guide to Buying Your First London Home 

London is the perfect place to live if you’re seeking a dynamic, historic city with plenty of job opportunities and facilities. However, it can be overwhelming to be a first time home-buyer, especially when moving to a pricier city such as London. You’ll want to ensure you’re getting the best for your money and making the most of your investment. So, to start your new London life on the right foot, make sure you consider the following key things when buying a property in London.

how to buy a house in london

Cost of Buying in London 

London is renowned for being one of the most expensive cities in the world, and while houses are well above the national average, house prices in this city have actually decreased steadily over the past few years. According to ONS (Office for National Statistics), London house prices have been slowly falling since March of 2018, and according to Nationwide, dropped by 1.9% over the year 2019. This makes it prime time to purchase a London home, especially if you are thinking of selling it on in the future, as house prices are predicted to start rising again post-Brexit. 

Obviously, there will be a deviation in price depending on which area you choose to live in. According to last year’s stats, the most affordable areas to purchase property in London were Bexley, Barking and Dagenham, and Croydon, with Kensington and Chelsea frequently topping the more expensive end of the scale.

You should also watch out for additional charges, which can contribute towards the total cost to move and set up home. Things you need to consider include the cost of council tax, stamp tax and whether you will need to pay any congestion or pollution charges – in some cases, it may be cheaper to ditch the car and invest in an Oyster card for public transport. Also factor in the cost of paying for furnishings, removal vehicles, surveys, mortgages, repairs or any legal fees. 

One last thing worth knowing: there is a scheme to help home buyers in London, called the London Help to Buy scheme. It applies to newly built properties valued up to 600K, which qualifies you for a government equity loan of up to 40% the price of the property when you place a 5% deposit or more. 


Everybody wants something different from their neighbourhood, and no amount of Googling can replace actually visiting a potential area. By having a wander around, you can get a sense of a neighbourhood’s character, along with the sort of facilities they have on offer. Obviously, you will need to conduct online research too, to establish if an area is in your price range, what its crime reports are like, and if it has the amenities (e.g. schools, gyms, supermarkets) that are essential to you. Ultimately, though, it is a highly personal choice. 

Guard Your Back With a Home Survey

Independent surveys are not required by law, but are highly recommended when buying a new property in London – and make sure you schedule one before the contracts are signed. There are two types of survey: a Homebuyer Report, whereby any urgent repair work should be identified, and a Building Survey, which is performed on older houses or homes with non-conventional builds. 

However, these surveys are very visual-based and one area they don’t cover, at least not thoroughly, is what goes on in your home drainage system. Therefore, we strongly recommend you get a specialist drainage contractor to conduct a thorough home drainage survey of the property to ensure all drainage systems are healthy and fully functional. The professionals will feed specialist CCTV cameras into your drains, whereby even the most hard-to-reach areas of your drain system can be assessed for cracks, collapses, blockages, tree roots, and damage – this may save you many headaches further down the line.

buying a home in london

Roof quality

Not everybody thinks to look upwards, but your roof is an important feature of your new home. When you visit the property, have a quick glance at the roof and see if there are any visible cracks, missing tiles or other striking issues. See if these are easy to fix, or if you can get the asking price reduced on the property.

Electric & gas 

You may wish to ask the estate agent to see the electrical and gas installation reports, along with the gas safety record, to ensure everything was installed by accredited and safe companies. You should also find out when the last checks were performed. Ask questions about the boiler, too, including how old it is and when it was inspected last – ask to see the installation certificate, as well. Also, unless it contractually states otherwise, there’s no reason to remain with the energy supplier that comes with the house – shop around, and consider alternatives to see if switching providers can save you money. 

Plumbing & drainage

When you pay for a new home, you need to ensure it’s a fully functional place to live. First check the plumbing, and ensure that all the taps and showers work, and that all the toilets flush. Check for signs of dampness, as this can indicate plumbing or roofing issues. 

As we mentioned before, comprehensive drain surveys are essential for identifying hidden threats to your drainage systems – allowing you to correct them before you move in. Express Drainage Surveys deliver pre-purchase surveys for home buyers across London, in which a camera CCTV drain survey will be conducted, which includes footage of the findings, a face-to-face discussion, a thorough report and recommendations for repairs, if needed.


If you’re moving to London, ensure your new home has a full bill of health, thanks to a professional home buyers drain survey. Here at Express Drainage Surveys, we use state-of-the-art cameras to conduct thorough drain surveys, pinpointing the precise nature and location of issues – this way, we can swiftly diagnose and solve any problems. To discover about more London drainage facilities and drain surveys, please visit our
CCTV drainage surveys page or contact our professionals today. 


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