A guide for first time buyers
There’s no doubt about it, buying your first home is an incredibly exciting time! But it can also be daunting, expensive, and stressful if you aren’t fully equipped with an understanding of the steps, costs, and processes involved.
So, if you’re thinking of taking the next step and buying your first home, take a look at our guide for first time buyers to ensure that you’re fully familiar with the process…
What’s your budget?
Before you start looking at properties, it’s important that you sit down and work out how much you can afford to borrow. After all, you don’t want to set your house on a property only to discover that it’s way out of your budget.
Mortgage lenders tend to look at your monthly income, your out goings, and your disposable income when deciding how much to lend you, so this is a great place to start.
Find a property
Once you’ve got a good idea of your budget, it’s time to start looking for a property. Before you start looking thought, it’s important to carefully consider your requirements and priority – what would you like in a property? And which of those criteria are non-negotiable?
Things to think about include:
- Are you looking for a brand new build or an older property?
- Where would you like the property to be located?
- Is the property or the location more important to you?
- How many bedrooms do you need?
- Do you want a garden?
- Are there any specific facilities or features that you really want?
Find a mortgage
When you’re looking for a suitable mortgage, there are a number of options available to you, including mortgage brokers, banks, and searching online. Make sure you do plenty of research to ensure that you’re choosing the best option for you – you can even use more than one source to ensure that you’re getting the very best deal.
Make an offer
Once you’ve found the property you want to buy and you’ve found a suitable mortgage, it’s time to put in an offer. This is usually done through the estate agent who is dealing with the sale of the property. Although you don’t have to have a mortgage in principle (a promise from the bank or mortgage provider that they will lend you a set amount of money) in place to make an offer, your offer is more likely to be accepted if you do.
Once the seller is happy with your offer (you should expect it to go back and forth a number of times before this happens!), the buying process will then begin.
Assign a solicitor or a conveyancer
Once you’re ready to start the buying process, you’ll need to hire the services of a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to take care of the legal side of things.
Arrange a survey
Before committing to the property, your mortgage lender will require you to undertake a survey to asses the property for any potential problems and ensure that it is worth the price you are paying for it.
There are a number of different types of survey to choose from:
- Condition Report – this is the most basic type of survey and, as such, is also the cheapest. Most commonly used on conventional homes and new builds, it doesn’t include a valuation or look at any potential repairs that may be required in the future.
- Homebuyer Report – this type of survey assesses both the interior and the exterior of the property, and also includes a valuation. As a home buyer report is more thorough, it also tends to be more expensive.
- Building or Structural Survey – this type of survey is the most thorough option, making it ideal for older or unusual properties.
Your bank or surveyor will be able to advise you on the best option for you. If the survey highlights any problems, they will usually offer an estimate of how much they will cost to fix, you might then need to renegotiate with the seller to take these costs into account.
Once the survey is complete and your solicitor or conveyancer and surveyor are happy with the results, you can start the final stages of the process!
As well as signing the contract and exchanging it with the seller, you will also usually be asked to pay a 10% deposit. Once you’ve paid this, both you and the seller will be totally committed to the sale – so there’s no going back!
You’ve reached the final stage – hurrah! During completion, you’ll receive the keys and deeds to the property, and your home will finally become yours.
Amidst the excitement (and probable relief!), it’s important to keep in mind that there are some costs involved. Before you can move in, you’ll need to pay…
- The remaining cost of the property
- Solicitor or conveyancer’s fees
- Stamp duty
- Any removal costs