Helpful Guide For A First Time Buyer

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Monday, November 20, 2017

I am going to try and make this post as detailed as possible, because I know how truly stressful buying a house can be I also know that people find these posts particularly helpful, especially if it's not an easy transaction. 

1. The first thing I would absolutely recommend is ensure you have a decent deposit before you begin looking for properties. This means putting away a set amount of money from your paycheck each month until you reach your target. There's no point house hunting when you have £1000 in the bank, because if you find your dream home, by the time you save the rest of the money it will be sold to someone else. 

There are many schemes out there now that are available to make the process easier for a First Time Buyer, so definitely do your research. For example, the Help To Buy ISA's. It is free money from the government, why would you not do it?

2. Get your mortgage sorted. Yes you can do it online and compare what all the banks are doing, but it's time consuming. My best advice would be to visit a mortgage broker. You can walk into any estate agents and ask to book an appointment to do this. They will talk you through a lot of lenders across the market who are offering the best rates, they will tell you what you can afford to look up to and they will do all the work for you. The downside to this is you have to pay a fee if you decide to proceed with them, but I personally think it lifts the stress.

3. Prepare for the upcoming expenses. So not only will you have the upfront expenses regarding the purchase such as solicitors fees, searches, survey fees, moving costs and deposit monies. But you have to prepare for the lifestyle you are getting yourself into. This means paying all your bills - that's gas, water and electricity. You'll need to account for food shops, furnishings, updating any decor or works and ensuring you have savings in place at all times in case any emergency repairs or replacements need to made. 

4. Now you can get on Rightmove and start house hunting. I would recommend downloading the apps for Rightmove and Zoopla to get notifications as soon as properties go on the market as they can sometimes sell within 24 hours of them being on. So you do need to be quick. 

When you have some free time try to pop into the estate agents in your local area and register with them for email updates. Be very specific with what you are after, and be nice to them too! They're much more likely to remember you and want to sell you a house. A lot of the time, if a property is due to come to the market, agents will call whoever they remember were after something like that before it goes live. So it is especially key to build a rapport and remain friendly.  

5. Prepare, prepare, prepare. When on viewings, you need to ask the right questions, because you don't want to go in unprepared and miss your opportunity. Ask the questions you want to know the answers to, whether it's if it is a nice area, regarding parking or whatever else! Just make sure it is what you are looking for and if it doesn't tick all the boxes you can cross it off your list. 

6. Offering. This might sound like common sense, but negotiate your offer. Never go in full asking price, because more often than not, there is flexibility on price. Don't be stubborn about it, and try to reach mutual ground. If you can't agree, you can always bargain with some of the appliances and fixtures. 

7. Budget for fees. As I mentioned previously, there's lots of fee's involved with purchasing a house, and even more if you are selling too. You need to account for these, of course if you see a mortgage adviser they will be able to work all the budgeting out for you and tell you exactly what you need to spend where. 

8. When instructing solicitors, the estate agent you are looking to buy through will always, always try to get you to use their own. Of course they will, they get a teeny amount of commission for it. I would recommend you don't do this, and use someone who is big and well known - usually someone you know will be able to give you a positive recommendation. The issue with small, local solicitors is that many of them are quite old school and don't do things online. You want to avoid this as things tend to be a lot slower when they are involved with a chain.  

9. Try to avoid shopping. I know buying a house is one of the most exciting things a person can do, and all you want to do is go out and buy everything you see - but don't! There is nothing definitive by having your offer accepted and your sale agreed. I wouldn't even begin to think about looking until you have at least received your mortgage offer and had your survey come back to say that the property is fine. So many things can go wrong, you don't even realise. So if your sale were to fall through, you don't want the added stress of trying to return stuff you might've bought. 

10. The only time when you are really safe and at the home stretch is when you officially exchange contracts. This is the legally binding contract for the ownership of the property. Now you just have to set your completion date.  

11. Completion. Please please be efficient. When the solicitors ask you to transfer your deposit and funds, do it asap. Completion will usually happen mid-day so you need to ensure you have done what they have asked so they receive everything in time to process it. Once you get the call to say the property is officially yours, pop down to the estate agent, pick up your keys and move in.

12. Don't forget to change your address on everything!

I hope you found these tips helpful and if you have any other questions let me know!
2 comments on "Helpful Guide For A First Time Buyer"
  1. I want to move badly!! But I always have question on what to do first!! This helps a lot! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. No problem at all Jan! Buying a property for the first time can be an exciting yet incredibly daunting experience. When the time comes and should you have any questions I am more than happy to help!


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