On the hunt for your first home and got that ‘arrggghhh’ feeling? We understand — there’s so much to think about and sometimes you just don’t know where to start.
In this blog, we take you through our essential advice for first time buyers — the things we tell all of our clients who are hoping to get on the property ladder:
1. Start saving a deposit
This is perhaps the most important component of buying a home. The more you save, the more competitive the repayments will become. However, government schemes such as Help to Buy also increase the choice of mortgages for people with a 5% deposit. This is a great way to put away a regular amount of money per month, with a monetary incentive at the end of it.
2. Use a credit card little and often
If you’re concerned about having no credit history, then using a credit card little and often will provide evidence that you’re able to borrow money and pay it back. For example, you could use your credit card for your petrol purchases and set up a standing order to settle this monthly.
3. Create a budget planner
Create a simple spreadsheet of your income and expected expenses once you eventually move in. Check your local council’s website for council tax bands and ask friends/family about an idea for other outgoings such as gas and electricity bills, a TV licence, and so on. This should also give you an idea of what your disposal income could be.
4. Book an appointment with a mortgage broker
A mortgage-in-principle — which can be arranged by a mortgage broker like ourselves — will put you in a strong position when you find the home you want to buy. It gives both you and the seller a good indication that you can afford to purchase it, and might mean that estate agents/house developers take you more seriously.
An advisor can provide you with lots of helpful hints and tips that you might not have previously thought about, and can scan a full range of mortgage options.
We can also help you work out your affordability. It’s not always about how much you can borrow on paper; it’s more important to figure out what is comfortable for you. We can help you analyse your outgoings and explain the house buying process in full, including any costs that you should expect.
5. Find the area you want to live in
Everyone is different, and some people prefer plush interiors to location, but we think this is a really important consideration. After all, you can renovate a shabby home, but you can’t pick it up and move it to a new area. Visit the village/town/city you like, go for lunch, take a walk around the neighbourhood, do some online research — this gives you a good feel for a place.
6. Start your search
Trawl online property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, visit local estate agents and go for a walk in the area to find and shortlist some properties you might be interested in.
Book as many viewings as you can so that you can start to discount what you hate and make a list of the things you love.
One of our favourite tips is to set up Rightmove alerts so that you’re one of the first to know when a new property comes on the market.
7. Tell the seller you’re a first time buyer
Being a first time buyer, you have no chain associated with your purchase, making you an attractive proposition. This could even help you negotiate on the price of the property.
8. Consider which survey to commission
Once you have agreed a purchase price, your chosen mortgage lender will conduct a valuation survey to ensure that the property is in good condition and worth the value you’re buying it for.
You can also decide to have a more in-depth survey which may give you peace of mind that you’re not going to find any hidden surprises once you move in to the property. There are different options available, such as a HomeBuyers Report, or for an older home, you can also undertake an extensive structural survey.
9. Listen to the experts
It’s really important that you listen to the people who you pay for advice. Everyone has different circumstances, and things change over time, so don’t just listen to your parents who bought 20+ years ago, or Google which often gives generic information.
We hope our blog has helped to ease some of your stress if you’re looking for your first home! And if you’re based in West Yorkshire, then get in touch for a no-obligation consultation, to work out your affordability and put a mortgage-in-principle in place:
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
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