Weighing up the Cost
The first thing to do when preparing to buy your first home, is to decide exactly how much money you’re able to put towards the overall cost of your potential new property. This, of course, will be dependent on a number of variables that we all have to contend with – income, location, the size of your family and more.
Luckily for you, there are sure-fire ways to effectively weigh up the potential cost of buying your first home without putting yourself in an undesirable financial situation. The general rule of thumb is the higher your deposit, the better mortgage rates you will be offered, as well as the potential for lower monthly repayments.
A deposit of around 25% should introduce you to the best mortgage offerings, so aim for this if you can. If that’s not viable, however, there are other options. You could aim for a 10% deposit, which is the recommended minimum. Some lenders will even do 5% deals.
The key here is to shop around and assess your options. Saving for a first home can be a tougher (and longer) process than ever, but you have options and it can be done.
Calculate Your Mortgage
Unless you’re very lucky, the chances are you’ll need a mortgage like most other homeowners across the UK. This is essentially one big loan that a bank (or building society) puts against your property. The word ‘loan’ can be frightening and off-putting for some, but it is really the best and most effective way of owning your first home and remains the most viable option for the majority.
Make the most of your contacts when seeking a good mortgage offer; that means friends, family and any other people in your social circle who may have experience or expertise with houses or mortgages. We all have connections who have been through this process before, so use them.
You can even use a professional mortgage broker if you are looking for the most expert advice. A mortgage broker is also best placed to take you through the different types of mortgage, although there are many online resources for this as well. A broker may also be able to find you the most competitive deals out there, due to their know-how in this area.
Once again, it is a case of finding out as much information as possible, gathering all of your options and taking stock of what is best for you. As with anything else involving money, some deals are better than others.
Find the Right Property
This is perhaps the most individual step. Now that you have a finite budget set, it should make things easier when looking for that perfect first home. There are many, many factors to consider, including but not limited to; location, number of bedrooms, age of the property, type of property, garden space, parking and many more.
The main factor, of course, is price – and this is also largely affected by all of the aforementioned features. Use one of the many great property search tools available online, specify your criteria, and get looking at the homes made for you. It may also be worth making an estate agent aware of your interest, as well as keeping an eye on printed publications that might include local property listings.
A Perfect Viewing
Now is the time to go and see the property you’re interested in. It’s very easy to get swept up in the moment, particularly if you’re viewing a place that you think might be ‘the one.’ For this reason, it’s a good idea to have friends or family along for the ride. They will keep you grounded, and allow you to make more sensible decisions – whilst reminding you to ask all the right questions. Important questions include:
- How long has the property been for sale?
- Why is the current owner looking to sell?
- Has the seller found another property? (If the answer is no, this could delay the process)
- Have any other offers been received for this property?
Ask as many questions as you want, and make sure you don’t leave with any still in mind. If there was a time to make a completely informed decision, this is it.
Make Your Offer
It’s time to talk about money. With the seller via an estate agent, that is. You may need to provide proof that you can secure a mortgage, hence why an agreement-in-principle from your mortgage-hunting would be ideal.
As you are a first-time buyer, you benefit from having no need to sell anything yourself. You are therefore not part of what is called ‘a chain.’
Another question that may be worth asking during the viewing stage is whether other offers have already been received, as this may affect your own offer at this point.
Once your offer is (hopefully) accepted, you will need to officially apply for the mortgage. You will now be on the home straight in the race for your first home, with many of the remaining details to be ironed out by solicitors. It’s hugely beneficial to work through a law firm with vast experience in all residential property matters, such as Tinsdills Solicitors.
Then it’s time to sit back, relax and…pack like your life depends on it.
The Big Move
The most physically exerting yet exciting step of all – the move itself.
Once further details are agreed between yourself and the solicitor, you will officially exchange contracts, at which point you formally put down the deposit you saved for the home.
Then comes completion day – at which point you can pick up the keys and step into your first home. It’s up to you when to initiate the official ‘moving in’ process from that point, as you may have other details to sort – but most people prefer to get settled straight away. Just don’t forget to inform friends, family, work and other places of note that you have changed address.
The only step left to take is to settle in and make your house a home, which comes with a lot less stress and more pleasure than everything else in this process. Enjoy.