Buying a home is a big decision - so you may want to do a bit of research before you make any commitments. We've put together a list of contacts that might help.
Books - there are many useful books such as the Which? Essential Guide Buy, Sell and Move House: Navigate the Property Market without Getting Lost.
Mortgage information - the Council of Mortgage Lenders is the trade association for the mortgage-lending industry. Its website also provides consumer information. The government website has detailed step-by-step information and advice on applying for a mortgage.
Conveyancers - the Council for Licensed Conveyancers has a searchable database of qualified conveyancers.
Estate agents - use a directory of reputable estate agents, tips for buyers, and download property - buying guides. Visit the National Association of Estate Agents website to find out more.
Planning - your solicitor will look into this for you but you can also look into if there are future building developments in an area.
Solicitors - the Law Society's website has a searchable database of solicitors. You could also ask family and friends for recommendations.
Surveyors - search for a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors qualified surveyor.
Stamp Duty Land Tax - get the basics and find out about thresholds and rates.
Council tax - understand the different property bands and charges.
Transport - the government website provides information and advice on travelling by taxi, bus, train, plane or boat within the UK.
Art and leisure - find out about events and facilities in the area.
Childcare - search for a local Sure Start Children's Centre.
Doctors and dentists - find NHS services in the area.
Crime rates - find out about local crime rates.
Environment - consult interactive maps showing information on water, pollution and landfills.
House prices - for average house prices in England and Wales, use the Land Registry's independent house price index.
Neighbourhood summaries - type in a postcode to get information on crime, living environments and people from the Office of Statistics.
Parks and recreation areas - find where the green spaces are.
Schools and education - research primary and secondary schools in an area and access Ofsted reports. Various national newspapers have school guides online for a small subscription.
Sports facilities - visit your local council's website to find leisure centres and sports activities in the area.
Street view - you can view street-level images of neighbourhoods you're considering by using Google Street View.
Removal companies - you can compare quotes from removal companies by using online comparison sites.
Tradesmen - search for trusted heating engineers, electricians and builders at TrustATrader.
Energy saving improvements - find out more about The Green Deal government scheme that could help you make energy-saving improvements, like adding insulation to your property.
Links to external websites are not reflective of first direct's ability to offer a mortgage, nor do we accept any liability for the accuracy of the information provided by these websites.