Buying a house is complicated enough for those who have done it before.
So, when you’re a first-time buyer, everything you need to do to get on the property ladder can make it seem like a hugely daunting task.
It doesn’t need to be that way, though.
And some proper preparation and planning can certainly help.
Here are five things first-time buyers need to do when buying their first home…
1. Save your deposit
There’s no getting around this one.
If you want to buy your first home, you’ll need a deposit – and the bigger deposit you can save, the better.
It’s not easy, of course, because living life isn’t cheap.
But saving a deposit greater than 20% of your property’s asking price can mean you get access to a mortgage lender’s best rates.
2. Apply for a mortgage
You might be in the enviable position of being able to buy your first property with cash – but the majority of first-time buyers need a mortgage to fund their maiden purchase.
The mortgage application process can seem daunting, as your lender will take a pretty deep dive into your finances to satisfy themselves that you can afford to pay back what they’ll be lending you.
Before you apply for a mortgage, do whatever you can to get your finances in the best possible shape.
- Getting all paperwork up together, including payslips, bank statements and P60 statements
- Checking your credit score
- Paying off any outstanding debts and closing down unused store or credit cards
When looking at mortgages, often the best place to start is a mortgage broker as they often have access to many different lenders.
3. Save your stamp duty
Stamp duty can heavily eat into your deposit if you don’t factor it into your budget.
Fortunately, as a first-time buyer, there’s no stamp duty to pay on the first £300,000 of your property’s purchase price.
So, if your entire purchase price is less than £300,000, you’ll pay nothing at all.
Any part of your purchase price between £300,001 and £500,000 will be subject to 5% stamp duty and factoring this into your deposit saving is crucial.
4. Factor in other costs
As well as your deposit and any stamp duty, you should also factor in other moving costs which will put a dent in your pocket.
You’ll need to pay:
- Solicitor or conveyancing fees
- Removals costs
- Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees
- Survey fees
- Any redecoration or renovation costs
Considering all these costs at the beginning of your property journey will help eliminate any surprise costs that could eat into your deposit.
5. Find a property
So, this one sounds obvious – if you’re a first-time buyer then, of course, you’ll need to find a property.
Before you start searching frantically on the online property portals, which is where most people start their searches, consider what you’ll need from your first property purchase.
First-time buyers can often run head first into their search without properly considering what they want and where.
Draw up a list of areas you could see yourself living in and spend some time researching those areas, including visiting and spending time in each one.
Do the amenities match your requirements? What are the transport links like? Do you need to be in catchment for a good school?
Once you’ve established an area, start thinking about the kind of property you need and see how those needs match up against your budget.
Only then should you start searching for properties – and remember to be strict with your search criteria when it comes to budget.
Looking at properties above your budget will often be a waste of time, not to mention a test of resolve if you find somewhere you love but can’t really afford.