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7 things to know when buying your first home

There are many things to consider when buying a house and we want to pass on our tips for first time buyers so that when you do decide to enter the housing market, you can be well-prepared for what to expect.

4 min read

When it comes to the house-buying process, we think every first time buyer would agree that it’s one big learning curve, from beginning to end.

There are many things to consider when buying a house and we want to pass on our tips for first time buyers so that when you do decide to enter the housing market, you can be well-prepared for what to expect.

Don’t always listen to the headlines

If you listen to the media headlines, you’ll soon come to think that getting your foot on the property ladder is virtually impossible for young people now. However, this simply isn’t the case. Perhaps if you’re trying to buy a house in an expensive part of the UK - such as London or Brighton - you might struggle to get together enough money for the deposit. However, this isn’t true for the rest of the UK.

A lot of first time buyers believe that buying a first home means needing a big deposit - but this is a bit of a myth. So it’s always worth looking into things for yourself, rather than listening to the media headlines.

Learn more: busting the myth of the big deposit

Do your own research

It’s important to take your time to do your own research, as well as listening to advice from friends and family. To start with, take a look at how much money you could potentially borrow while you start looking at properties in the area you might want to buy. If properties in your chosen area are over your budget, is there anything you can buy in surrounding areas that are a bit cheaper?

Remember, chances are this probably isn’t going to be your forever home. Also, consider your deposit and how much you would like to put down, without leaving yourself short to decorate and furnish the house.

Speak to a mortgage broker

There’s no denying it: finding the right mortgage deal for you can feel a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack. With a mortgage broker, you can easily find qualified mortgage advisers in your local area that can guide you through the whole mortgage process. It makes finding the right mortgage deal for your needs easier, and far less stressful.

A mortgage broker can have access to various different mortgage lenders, meaning they are not tied to one particular product and can help you find the product that best suits your needs.

Discover the right mortgage rates with Resi Finance

Be patient

There’s no denying that unfortunately, the house-buying process isn’t a quick one. Even if everything goes ahead smoothly, it can still take roughly three months to complete. Certain things can hold this process up that are out of your control, so it’s important to focus on what you can control, such as making sure you’ve filled out all your paperwork. However, sometimes you just have to wait and be patient - as frustrating as it is!

Know what you’re buying

There’s more to getting to know a property than just the initial house viewing. Once you’ve had an offer accepted on your property, there will be various surveys you’ll need to commission. Some of these will be handled by your solicitor, but others will be left to you. Homebuyer reports, along with plumbing and electrical surveys, can seem like an unwanted expense but they can help you spot big problems before your purchase is completed.

Should a major fault be found, such as structural damage or bad wiring, then you can either decide to pull out of the purchase or ask for the cost of this repair work to be removed from the asking price - ultimately saving you money in the long run and removing unwanted surprises.

Check the lease!

If you’re purchasing a leasehold property, it’s important that you pay attention to how much time is left on your lease. The magic number you need to look out for is 80 years. Once a property has less than 80 years on the lease, the cost of extending it goes up massively and it’ll be very difficult for you to sell this property in the future. What’s more, you're unable to extend your lease until you’ve lived in the property for at least 2 years.

So, what to do if you find a home with a short lease?

  • If the property has 83 years or more on the lease, you can still go ahead with the purchase. Just make sure you extend the lease as soon as you’re able.
  • A short lease can be a great negotiation tool, as you can use this as justification for going below the asking price.
  • You can also have the current owner extend the lease during the buying process. However, bear in mind this will cause costs to go up and the homeowner may either refuse to go through these extra steps or ask for a bigger asking price.

Try not to stress

Although this one is easier said than done, it’s important to try and remain as calm as possible throughout the process. Getting stressed over buying your first house can put a lot of strain on your relationship, but remember to just focus on what is in your control and the rest will happen when it happens.

Got any questions, or just want to set your mind at ease about the whole mortgage buying process? Get in touch with us and one of our friendly advisers will be happy to help and set your mind at ease.

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