Getting started

Planning to buy

Finding the right mortgage

Getting a Decision in Principle

What's in this section?

Getting a Decision in Principle

 Make sure we'd be willing to lend to you.

Making an offer on a property

A reminder of how it works and what to expect.

Getting a Decision in Principle

Just like when you got your current mortgage, you’ll need to get a Decision in Principle (DIP) before completing a full mortgage application. The DIP allows us to confirm, in principle, that we’d be prepared to lend to you. You can apply for a DIP online, over the phone or in branch.

Just as a reminder, when you get a DIP we'll run a credit check, and if you have lots of credit checks this can have a negative impact on your credit score. A DIP is valid for 90 days.

Porting your mortgage?

You'll still need to get a Decision in Principle. This is so we can understand if your circumstances have changed since you applied for your current mortgage. 

What you'll need to apply for a DIP

  • Three years of address history
  • Proof of your income and outgoings

Upon completing your DIP application, we should be able to tell you immediately whether we can, in principle, lend you the amount you need. If you’re applying online, we may need to call you for some extra information.

Making an offer in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Once you have a Decision in Principle you can make an offer on a property. You can make an offer before you have a DIP, but your Decision in Principle will show the seller or estate agent that we'd be prepared to lend to you, subject to your full mortgage application and underwriting. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

All sellers across the UK are required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate, which shows how much energy a building uses. It can help you reduce your energy bills and live more sustainably by making your home more energy efficient. You'd need a Predicted Energy Assessment (PEA) for a new build home.

The deposit for the seller

Sometimes you'll be asked to pay a deposit to the seller or estate agent to show your intention or commitment to buy the property. This deposit normally applies to New Build Schemes and ranges from £500 to £1,000. It's usually repayable should the sale fail. Remember, this is not the same as your mortgage deposit.

Making an offer in Scotland

The role of the solicitor

In Scotland your solicitor plays a greater part in buying homes than in the rest of the UK. If you want to buy a house in Scotland, you'll need to use a Scottish solicitor. 

Your solicitor will submit your offer to the seller’s solicitor or estate agent and should include the price you want to pay and when you'd like to move in. 

This is followed by written negotiation, conducted by the solicitors. When all conditions are agreed by both parties, the concluded missive is then a binding contract. Neither side can withdraw without having to pay compensation.

Builder's deposit and reservation fee

If you're buying a new build property, you'll usually be asked to pay the builder a reservation fee of £500-£1,000 to show your intention or commitment to buy. Once this is agreed, you'll need to pay a (usually non-refundable) deposit of 5%-10% of the purchase price. Remember, this is not the same as your mortgage deposit.

The Home Report

In Scotland a seller must have a Home Report pack prepared. This consists of three documents:

  • a Property Questionnaire
  • an Energy Report
  • a Single Survey

The Property Questionnaire is completed by the seller of the home. It contains information about the home, such as Council Tax banding, financial arrangements and any changes made to the home. The Energy Report shows the home’s energy efficiency rating, assesses its environmental impact and recommends improvements. The Single Survey contains an assessment by a surveyor, a valuation and an accessibility audit.

Surveys

The Single Survey may be sufficient to secure a mortgage. However, if the property is older or the survey raises concerns, you might want to get a Structural Survey as well.

Applying for a mortgage

Completion and moving in