Deciding to buy your first home is exciting – but it can also be a daunting prospect. Make sure that you are fully informed before entering the home buying process with our top tips.
Check your budget
It’s time to think about your spending habits and how you could reduce your outgoings. Consider switching to a cheaper energy provider, be a savvy spender when it comes to buying groceries and putting meals together, and try to cut down on the shopping trips!
Figure out exactly how day to day life with a mortgage would pan out – would you have enough for the deposit, then to pay the mortgage repayments every month on top of bills and other expenditures?
Get saving as soon as possible
The more money you save for a deposit, the less your monthly mortgage repayments will be – so start saving as soon as you are earning enough money to be saving some of your income.
Remember that it isn’t just the deposit that you need to be saving up for. Legal fees also cost a fair amount, as well as any home insurance you take out, stamp duty, and furnishings. (Note: as of November 2017, first time buyers won’t have to pay stamp duty on houses under £300,000!)
Check your credit score
You can do this on online sites, such as Clearscore or Experian – before you think about applying for a mortgage, you should ensure that your score will make you more likely to be accepted rather than less likely. You should aim for at least 750.
Try to avoid having any outstanding loans, as this won’t work in your favour with lenders.
Make sure you’re registered to vote
As protection against fraud, lenders will check if you’re on the electoral roll at your given address – so make sure you’re on there!
Do your research
Don’t just settle with the first mortgage rate that you’re offered – there are plenty of offers available from different providers to suite your budget and personal circumstances.
Make sure that you know and understand the different types of mortgages, such as fixed rate mortgages and tracker mortgages. It’s also wise to keep up-to-date with the current housing market, especially in the area you’re looking to buy in.
Talk to estate agents
Everything is online now – but those who rely completely on the internet are missing a trick. Letting local estate agents know what you’re looking for and communicating with them frequently and clearly can mean finding out about new developments and properties coming onto the market before other buyers.
Don’t be afraid to be picky
When you’re viewing properties, it isn’t the time to be polite and quiet – ask the seller plenty of questions and find out absolutely everything you need to know. But, on the other hand, you should be willing to compromise – prioritise your list of what you want in a new home, and make sure you know what you can sacrifice if necessary.
Check out these articles for a bit of help with what to look for when viewing a property:
- 10 Things to Look Out for in the Garden when House-Hunting
- Questions to Ask the Seller When Viewing a Property
Invest in getting an independent survey
Even if the property looks like brand new, inside and out, there’s still a danger that there is structural damage or other hidden defects. You shouldn’t rely on your estate agent or mortgage advisor to make sure that the property you’re buying is in good order – commission a surveyor who will work on your behalf.
Yes, it’ll cost a bit of extra money, but it could help you save a whole lot more when you come to renegotiate on the price of the property, or if the survey finds any serious defects.
For more about getting a survey, check out these articles or give us a call:
- Why Get a Survey?
- Why Home Surveys Pay for Themselves
- How Homebuyer Reports Can be Used as Renegotiation Tools
- A Mortgage Valuation is Not a Survey
- Which Survey Should I Get?