First Time Buyers - Quick Guide
What’s out there for you?
Buying your first home can be a hugely exciting yet daunting prospect. The whole process may seem at first glance very complex and expensive, however it can be made far more manageable if you arm yourself with the relevant knowledge and know your budget.
There is a wealth of information out there and it’s easy to get swamped, I have tried to create a concise FTB guide and have hopefully answered some of the more common questions as well as cover some of the more unexpected aspects of buying.
Firstly you need to give consideration to all angles of home owning, are you financially able? Are you in a situation where the financial commitment is one you can manage long term? You will need to know the upfront costs and any associated costs of buying besides the cost of the property itself. A lot to consider...
The first step in your journey, raising the deposit is the first key milestone. As a FTB you will need to save a bigger deposit to secure a mortgage. You need to try and save a minimum of 5 per cent to 20 per cent of the cost of the property to obtain a mortgage, generally the more you save the better the deals you will be presented with. There is a government ‘help to buy ISA’ which bonuses £50 for every £200 you save,The initiative will only be available on properties valued up to £250,000 this is limited to £3000 on £12000 of savings. Well worth looking into but bear in mind interest rates will vary so shop around.
As a rule most FTB need a mortgage, to increase your chances of being accepted we have a few recommendations:
Most importantly make sure you have all your finances and necessary paperwork in order. Any lender will want proof you can meet all repayments, they will require evidence such as household bills, any out goings and of course proof of income. This shows your financial position and how safe an investment you are.
You can help your position even more by paying off any debts. Clearing any outstanding loans/ credit cards will definitely help. As well as organising your finances you may find it helpful to look into your credit rating. There are a few reputable sites that can give you your credit score for free. This way you can perhaps improve your score prior to a mortgage meeting or just for your own peace of mind knowing your score is good.
Another thing to consider would be a mortgage in principle. This is not a guarantee of a mortgage but does make you more desirable to agents and sellers as it shows you’re serious about making a purchase and have the finances in place.
Lender charges: The reserving of your mortgage as the offer is drawn up; the arranging of your mortgage and the assessment of the property’s value are additional costs. Cheap mortgages can be a false economy; they are often offset by additional costs and higher fees.
Asides from the mortgage you will need to factor in the cost of a surveyor, the conveyancer, any stamp duty to be paid and of course the removals company.
Essential when buying any new home but especially your first one. It’s hard to truly gauge a property from photos and write up alone. Some advice for when you do go looking:
Visit the property as soon as possible, set up notifications on the property sites for example rightmove.co.uk, that way you are always informed of any new properties listed.Consider the time of day you visit and if you view more than once ensure you go at a different time.
Why are they selling their home and how long have they been marketing it for? If you are interested then it is prudent to find out what their plans moving forward are, do they have an alternative property secured to move into, are they part of a chain?
What is included in the sale? Have any renovations been carried out on the property? And if so, what and are they signed off correctly?Keep an eye out for damp patches: mould, damage to walls and musty smells, check for any cracks, stains or drips. Ensure you check the exterior walls too, look out for cracks, damage and rot, slipped tiles on the roof and gutter leaks.
Familiarise yourself with the area, if you get a chance and it’s not too out of the way take a drive down a day before your viewing and explore. See if you can picture yourself living there. Find out about local amenities, schools, transport links and anything else you’re looking for in your new neighbourhood.
Once you decide upon your first home, you will need to put forward an offer to the vendor via the estate agent. You may need to provide proof that, as a first-time home buyer, you can secure a mortgage. This is where an agreement in principle comes in handy. As a first-time home buyer you have an extra advantage, you're in a good position to negotiate because you are not part of a chain.When your offer has been accepted, you will need to apply for your mortgage formally. This is also the point to get surveys carried out on the home you'd like to buy. Now you are on the final stretch of the home buying journey - and it is largely managed by solicitors so make sure you choose yours carefully, estate agents can often recommend solicitors they work well with or other people you know who’ve recently purchased.
Exchange & Completion
The final stage: Your solicitor will start all the legal and administrative work associated with transferring the property, known as conveyancing. This includes arranging Stamp Duty, contacting Land Registry, transferring money during the sale, and acting as a general intermediary between you, the lender and the seller. Your agent will liaise regularly with them to keep track of your sale and will keep you posted at various milestones.
You will agree the terms of the sale – including who you are, how much the property is being sold for, and a completion date, when you can move into your new home. Your mortgage will now be approved. It is not unusual for the lender to ask you to insure the property as part of the approval process. Bear this in mind when working out your costings and as with everything, shop around.
The contracts will then be exchanged and you are locked into a legally binding deal to buy the property. At this point, you will need to put down your deposit.
On completion day, you will be able to pick up the keys from the estate agent. The agent will call you once they have been given permission to release the keys and you will then be in possession of the keys to your first home.
If you have any questions regarding the buying or selling of your home, be it your first one or not we are more than happy to help. Located in Hailsham High street, we have recently won several awards for our customer service, feel free to pop in for a chat or alternatively call 01323 845213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org