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Whether this is the first time you're buying a property, or you simply haven't been through the process recently, we hope you'll find the information and tips within this guide useful.

If you're buying a property with Gatekeeper, you'll always know who to contact back at the office, so however big or small your question, just get in touch.
Budget and Mortgages

Budget and Mortgages

To work out your budget, you'll need a clear view about your income, savings you want to use and any equity you've built up in existing property. Mortgage rules have changed recently and your regular expenditure is important too. Sit down with either a mortgage advisor or your bank who will be able to take everything into account and tell you how much you're likely to be able to borrow. It's worthwhile checking to see whether you would be eligible for any government schemes, such as 'Help to Buy'.

Gatekeeper is partnered with independent mortgage advisors covering Aylesbury, Banbury, Swindon and Witney. They help hundreds of customers each year with budget setting, financial guidance and secure mortgages. Ask the team for details.
Searching for 'The One'

Searching for 'The One'

If you're reading this you've probably already started looking for a property, In which case you may already know the type of property you're looking for.

To save time and reduce the number of viewings you need, consider the following points - and remember to pass this information on to your agent!
- Which area is right for you?
- What transport links do you need? Realistically, how much time are you prepared to spend commuting each day?
- Which facilities do you need nearby?
- How many bedrooms do you need? Do you need a separate study?
- What storage do you need for clothes, books and bikes? Do you need a garage?
- What's your monthly budget for bills?

We suggest prioritising these lists, to help you work out which factors are most important. Knowing in advance what you might be prepared to compromise on is difficult, but it will help you find 'The One' more quickly.

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At our buyers' request, we've made sure our viewings diary is never closed. You can view availability and book your own viewing slots online. If you're busy during office hours, it's no problem because our team is ready to show you properties in evenings and at weekends too.

There's no need to search for information or take screenshots when you book a viewing with Gatekeeper. We'll send you confirmation of your viewing and the property address by email and text message.

We know viewings can be overwhelming, and you can easily forget to ask important questions and look for the details that really matter. Here are our recommendations to make the most of your time at the property:

- Take a notepad and write down your thoughts as you walk around.
- Take lots of photographs to remind you about key features (but always ask first!).
- Ask the agent to tell you about the heating and look at the EPC to check energy efficiency.
- Walk around the outside of the property and note the condition of the roof, windows and guttering.
- Ask about broadband access, especially in village locations.
- If the property is near a road or parking is on the road, visit the property at different times of day to check you're happy with noise and parking availability.
Offers and Sales

Offers and Sales

Once you've found 'The One', it's important that you take a moment to check that it matches up against your original check list of requirements. Give consideration to other properties you've seen to establish what makes this one stand out.

If you're sure you're ready, the next part is both nerve-wracking and exciting! If you're unsure of the process, please don't be stressed. Your Sales Manager will have extensive experience and will walk you through.

Don't assume that the vendor will take an offer lower than the asking price. You may have competition from other buyers, so be realistic with your offer and consider how you might feel if it isn't accepted. If the property has been valued correctly, it's likely to sell close to, or at the asking price. Equally, don't offer more than you're happy to pay as this may lead you to push your budget too far and have second thoughts further along the line. Finally, make sure you're clear about what is included within the price.

One in three property sales in the UK fails to complete, so you'll have a dedicated Move Manager at Gatekeeper whose job is to ensure that everything stays on track and work through any potential issues which might otherwise stop or delay the process. You'll be updated throughout, so you'll be free to focus on packing!