Buying your first home is an important milestone. In fact, it’s probably one of the biggest purchases you’ve made to date and that can be a scary thing.

But if you’re dreaming of domestic bliss, but not too sure where to start, then here are some top tips on buying your first home.

Save for a deposit. Mortgage lenders require a deposit that’s anywhere from 10% and the larger your deposit the better deal you’ll get when it comes to finding a mortgage that suits you.

To help you raise as much as possible think about the small changes you can make in your daily routine such as forgoing that morning Starbucks or taking your own lunch. Think about it, saving £5 a day during the week will mean an extra £100 at the end of the working month.

Find the right mortgage for you. At Nicol & Co we have mortgage advice bureau that we recommend to all our customers. This will give you independent advice and take all the hard work out of it by searching over 8,000 mortgage deals from 80 different lenders. It’s important that you choose the right mortgage as it’s going to be a commitment that you need to be comfortable taking on.

Check out any government schemes. The government want more people to own their own homes so it’s worth checking out any schemes they are running to help you make the leap. The current help to buy scheme requires you to provide 5% deposit whilst the government will give you a loan of up to 20% to cover the rest. You can find out more about the Help To Buy Scheme here.

Know your budget. It’s time to sit down and realistically work out what you can afford to pay out. Whilst your wages may determine that your mortgage offer, there’s no point in over stretching yourself and finding that you have difficulty meeting the monthly repayments.

Don’t forget the fees. Remember to make a note of any fees that are included in your mortgage offer as some lenders can charge as much as £2,500 for arranging the loan. Also stamp duty will need to be paid on properties worth £125,000 or more.

How far is your ideal property from work. If you fall in love with a property or area then you may not pay too much attention to the commute, but just think about doing that commute twice a day, day in, day out – does it still seem sensible?

Buy within your means. We’re not just talking about the monetary value here but also the work load. So you’ve seen a few episodes of DIY SOS or Homes Under The Hammer and you fancy something you can do up, but before you put pen to paper, think about whether you have the skills or the money to invest in something that needs work.

Make an offer. Making an offer is one of the most nerve wracking aspects of buying a property. To make sure that you go in at the right level, seek counsel from your estate agent who’ll be able to give you advice based on how long the property has been on the market and whether the seller wants a quick sale or not.

Hire a solicitor. Once your offer has been accepted you’ll then need to hire a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to handle the legal aspect of the deal. Be sure to factor in the costs for this service as it can cost anywhere from £500 to £1000.

Get a survey. Your mortgage company will arrange a surveyor to value the property once they’ve agreed the mortgage in principle but it’s always a good idea to get your own survey done so that you’re clear on any problems that there may be within the property. Not only will it forward you but it’ll also give you some room to negotiate further.

Buying your first home is both an exciting and daunting time. But with a little bit of preplanning and the advice on an excellent agent, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.