me and my partner have just bought our first house - we moved in 3 months ago. You need to go to a mortgage lender first to get a 'mortgage in principal' this means theu issue you with a certificate saying how much they are willing to lend you, but no footprint will be left on your credit rating. You then can look at houses within your price range and when u put an offer in you can go back to a mortgage advisor with the house value, value of your deposit and amount needed to borrow. This will then affect the cost of lots of things - interest rate will depend on if its a 100% mortgage or lower, you may have to pay higher lending fee's also if you borrow 100%. Fees are not usually included in the morgtgage, you can get the arangement fee (anything from nil to £1000) included, but solicitor fees (approx £800), searches, telegraphic tramsfer etc will all need to be paid separately and up front. It sounds alot of hassle but its well worth it!!!