Buying your first home is one of life’s most memorable milestones. Unless you’ve somehow lived a life of sheer decadence, it’s likely that this will be your biggest purchase to date.
Many people feel a bit overawed by the whole experience but don’t worry, this feeling is completely natural. The good news is, with the right preparation, buying your first home needn’t be daunting.
To guide you through the process, we’ve put together some essential advice to help you on your way.
BEFORE YOU BUY
What kind of property is right for you?
Your first task is to assess what you require from your first property. Start off by making a list of questions similar to the ones below.
- How many bedrooms do I require?
- Do I need a garden or yard?
- Do I want a flat or house?
- Would I prefer a new build or traditional property?
- Is there a specific area I would like to live in?
Answering these questions will help you decide the kind of property that’s perfect for you.
Should you consider a government scheme?
It’s worth bearing in mind that there are a number of government-backed schemes that give first-time buyers a helping hand onto the property ladder. It may well be worth contacting one of these schemes to see if this is an option that suits your needs.
Before you can even bid on properties, you need to get a deposit together. Most mortgage lenders expect you to have saved at least 10%-20% of the value of the property you’re interested in. The more deposit you put down, the cheaper the monthly repayments will be.
THE BUYING PROCESS
Securing a deposit
The three main types of mortgages are fixed rate, tracker, and standard variable rate.
- Fixed rate mortgages offer stability as you pay the same sum each month for a set period.
- Tracker mortgages see the lender track the interest rate set by the Bank of England base rate and then set the margin you pay back above or below it.
- Standard rate mortgages are similar to a tracker mortgage, except the rate you pay back is set by your mortgage lender, not the Bank of England.
When choosing a mortgage, it’s advisable that you speak to a mortgage advisor. They will talk you through your options in great detail and guide you carefully through the process. If you choose to use a mortgage advisor as a broker between yourself and the bank, be certain that they agree to take compensation from the mortgage provider and no fee from yourself. Mortgage advisors get a finder’s fee from banks; as a result many are happy to waive the charges they ask you for as they receive a far better remuneration package from the banks.
Placing an offer
After you have a mortgage agreed, you are ready to put in an offer on the homes you like. Remember, as first time buyer you are in an advantageous position because the sale is not reliant on you having to sell your current property. Somebody selling a property may very well be tempted by an offer that is under the valuation of the property due to the attraction of a quick sale.
Solicitors and surveys
After your offer has been accepted, you now need a solicitor to look over the legal aspect of the sale. Their job is to check the seller has the right to sell the property and that nobody has right of way over it – this ensures there will be no future land disputes.
Your mortgage lender will also require that a property survey is completed to ensure the building is a sound financial investment.
There are three types of survey to choose from:
Condition report – The cheapest form of survey that simply confirms to the lender that, should you default on payment, they would be able to recoup their money through sale.
Homebuyer report – A more expensive and thorough examination that looks at both the inside and outside of the property.
Structural survey report – A comprehensive option usually reserved to older, unusual properties such as barn conversions.
Exchanging contracts and moving in
This is the point in which the legal paperwork is done, your deposit is paid and both you and the seller are legally committed to the sale. If you pull out at this point, you stand to lose your deposit.
The next step is arranging your moving date, getting the keys and moving in.
AFTER YOU MOVE IN
Perform regular maintenance
As the old saying goes: a stitch in time saves nine. You’ve just made the biggest purchase of your life, so you’ll want to keep it in great condition, not only for your own sense of satisfaction, but also so large repairs don’t creep up on you at great costs.
Carry on saving
Now you have been in the habit of saving up, it’s a great idea to keep it up. Homeownership often leads to unexpected expenses, such as fixing a boiler or an unexpected gas bill. By opening and regularly topping up a savings account, you will always have an emergency fund to ensure you won’t be caught off-guard when these costs arise.
Remember, purchasing a home is a huge step. Hopefully after reading this guide you will have plugged any gaps in your home-buying knowledge and are now prepared to buy your dream home with minimal fuss.
Written on behalf of LPC Living, a subsidiary of the Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust who believe that everyone should have the opportunity to make a house a home.