Top 7 tips for first time buyers

Published on 6 October, 2014

Writing from experience getting on the property ladder can be a tough and daunting task. In this article we aim to give you honest impartial advice to help you purchase your first home.

1. Saving for a deposit

Before you start to look at properties you need to start saving. I know this may be the most obvious point; although if you are anything like me cutting back on the "essential" lad's holiday, and surprisingly expensive nights out with friends could be hard-hitting at first, as you will need to save every penny you can for a deposit.

Generally speaking you need to save anything from 5% to 20% (for example: £7,500 to £30,000 when buying a home for £150,000) of the overall cost of the property you would like to one day call home. 

2. Sorting out your mortgage

So you have saved a deposit and are ready to purchase your new home; well as a first time buyer it is important to consider your monthly repayments.

When applying for a mortgage there are stringent checks which take place. Any potential lenders will check that you can afford the monthly repayments.

You will also need to consider factors that can directly impact your monthly repayments, for example if interest rates rise, and what if you were made redundant, you can rest assured that lenders will also be considering such factors before offering you a mortgage.

The mortgage affordability calculator provided the independent Money Advice Service is a handy tool which will help you estimate how much you can afford to borrow.

For further tips on saving money for an all-important mortgage visit  

3. Other costs to consider

Yes if you are still reading and have not been put off by the first two points there are more costs to consider, starting to see a theme here?

Other costs to consider when buying a new home can include:

  • Stamp duty
  • Solicitors/legal fees
  • Removal costs
  • Potential furnishing and decorating costs
  • Buildings insurance
  • Council tax
  • Utility bills
  • Survey

4. Arrange conveyancing

As we have established that buying your first property can be an overwhelming experience, it is essential to enlist the help of an experienced property lawyer.

Conveyancing is essentially the legal transfer of a property from one owner to another. Remember that a house move is not legally binding until the contracts are exchanged between you the buyer and the seller.

An experienced conveyancing solicitor will also liaise with the seller's solicitor to receive the contract, arrange completion dates, swap signed contracts, transfer the deposit, and prepare the completion statement, transfer deeds and much more.

When you start to take into account the amount of legal work involved you can start to see how important conveyancing really is.

5. Searching for a property

Once that you have calculated you can afford the deposit, mortgage, and all other costs, then it's time to start your search. Yes this is the fun bit, at last.

One of the first factors to consider for searching for your next home is location. Do you need or want to be close to work, or family for instance, or close to transport links for commuting are all points to consider.

Other points to ponder is the age of the building for instance do you want a new or old build, how many bedrooms you need, is off street parking available, detached or semi-detached. Remember to be realistic with your requirements and identify what is really essential to you within your price range.

Remember to be prepared to compromise, and remain realistic when property hunting.

6. Negotiate

Remember the estate agent is acting for the vendor (the seller), where possible always seek independent advice when negotiating. Although at the same time don't lose sight of the fact that you do want to buy the property.

Before making your first bid take into account house prices of surrounding properties, however at the same time take consider that no property has a fixed price tag and will only be worth what a potential buyer is willing to pay.

The response on your opening bid will purely depend on how urgently the seller need to sell their home, this decision may be shaped by how many other parties have shown an interest, and how long the property has been on the market for.

7. Enjoy your new home

Moving to a new a home could also be seen as an opportunity to break bad habits, such as smoking, and start new habits such as walking and exploring your new area.

Lastly, many people today buy a property to make money on it. Remember you have just purchased a new home don't focus so much on making a profit, live and enjoy your new home, you deserve it.

Craig Gibson
Digital Marketing Executive 

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