If you are a first time buyer, it can often be difficult to know where to start. There is a lot to consider when buying your first home, here are ten top tips for first time buyers.
1. Know what you can afford and set your budget
Establishing what you can afford is a good place to start. Buying a property is a big investment, having a clear budget in mind will help you to choose the right property and make sure that the properties you are looking at are within your means. It’s also important to factor in any extra costs such as stamp duty and solicitors fees. A financial advisor can help you to work out exactly what you can afford as well as help you find the best mortgage deals. Improving your credit score will also help you secure a mortgage deal. Closing unused store cards and credit cards, making sure you pay your bills on time, eliminating any debt and getting your name on the electoral register can all help improve your score.
2. Choose the right mortgage
With so many different mortgages available from a variety of different lenders it can be difficult to know where to start. Your mortgage advisor will help you find a product to suit your requirements. A mortgage is a big commitment, your advisor will search the market for the best deals and make sure you are aware of the different options available.
3. Secure your mortgage in principle
Make sure you have a mortgage agreed in principle before putting in an offer on a property. You are not committed to the mortgage at this stage however the agreement in principle shows that you are a serious buyer. It also helps speed up the process once you are ready to proceed. Having a mortgage agreed in principle before you go house hunting will put you in a favourable position if there is another buyer interested in the same property.
4. Have proof of earnings and paperwork ready
Lenders will require proof of your income in order to approve your mortgage. Having your proof of earnings ready will help avoid any delays in the application process. If you are employed, the mortgage provider will likely ask for payslips and bank statements, if you are self employed, accounts information and tax returns will need to be provided.
5. Save a good deposit
Whilst you can get mortgages with a low deposit amount, having a larger deposit can be very beneficial. Quite often a higher deposit will lower the interest rate, meaning that the monthly payments will be less. When buying your first home, the government’s Help to Buy scheme can help you save. For every £200 you save in a Help to Buy ISA, the government will give you an additional £50. You could receive a boost of up to £3000.
6. Remember to budget for decorating and furnishings
Decorating and furnishing your new home is one of the most exciting things about buying your first property. If the property needs any work doing, make sure you include the cost of this in your budget. Remember to include the cost of white goods and appliances if it is your first home.
7. Be proactive during viewings
Viewing a significant number of properties will help you to establish what you like and dislike about a property, what sort of property you are looking for as well as what area you would prefer to live in. The property viewing is your opportunity to get a feel for the property and decide if it is the right one for you. Be proactive and ask questions during the viewing. Have a good look around the property including both the interior and the exterior and take a good look at the street and the local area. You can take someone else with you for an additional opinion and it’s a good idea to have a second viewing at any properties that you are interested in. Viewing the property a second time can help make your decision easier, particularly if you are interested in more than one property.
8. Register your details with estate agents
The local property market is fast moving and properties sell quickly, particularly in popular areas. If there is nothing currently available that you are interested in, registering your details and requirements with Estate Agents is a great way to hear about any new properties as soon as they come on the market.
9. Be patient
Take your time when looking for your first property, don’t rush into offering on the first thing you see. Take the time to research the market and view the properties that are available in your desired area. Once you have placed an offer and it has been accepted, the purchase process can take some time. Your Solicitor and Estate Agent will liaise regularly to make sure the sale goes through smoothly.
10. Organise insurances
Once you’ve purchased your new home, you will need to take out buildings insurance. You will need to have this in place as soon as the contracts exchange as you will be responsible for the property from this point. In addition, it’s advisable to make sure your contents are also covered and you look into life & critical illness insurance to cover every eventuality.