Journeying into the world of property for the first time can be as equally exciting as it can be daunting. Here we highlight some of the situations and tips our experience has taught us. This is likely to be the biggest investment a person can make so we wanted to list a few things that can hopefully help make the process as smooth as possible. No two purchases are the same but our hints guide below should provide some general guidance about getting ready to make that leap onto the property ladder and maybe assist with ensuring a quicker route to that first glass of something in your new home.
First Time Buyer Budget
Let’s start with this, save what you can! And as soon as you can! Generally, throughout history, prices will always rise and this is mostly true of property too, so getting onto the property ladder quickly should always be beneficial. It is potentially worth exploring government schemes like ISA’s, help to buy and shared ownership as you can obtain help with a deposit or may need less deposit than you initially thought. There can be pitfalls with any scheme so please research these and remember, smaller deposits of say 5% could result in negative equity if the market contracts.
Work Our Your Finances
Secondly, establish costs associated with buying, set a realistic budget and ensure monthly payments moving forward are affordable. Maybe you are moving out of a parents property and have not had such a large responsibility from a financial perspective before? Can you pay for a mortgage and live the life you currently have or want to have? Maybe you are buying somewhere larger than where you currently live, this could incur higher utilities costs or council tax charges. Maybe transport costs will increase and you will have to pay for buildings insurance and potentially other elements of insurance cover too. Please see our guide on this in more detail and potential costs involved via our blog titled ‘When to start looking for a home’.
Check your Credit File
Get yourself into the best position by getting a decision in principle via your bank or mortgage lender. Check your credit file (most lenders use Equifax and Experian), can you clear any small remaining loan, credit card or hire purchase balances to boost affordability? (Please always take advice from a mortgage advisor on this subject before spending, you can call us here at Your Conveyancing Solution for help on 01536 238660).
Focus on the Location of Your First Home
Focus on your preferred areas by listing features that are key to you – these could be; proximity to family, friends, place of work, schools, shopping and or leisure facilities, (hence why location is often so crucial). In relation to the property itself, perhaps you need or want; parking, a garden, two bathrooms, an eat in kitchen or to be situated on the top floor if buying an apartment for example. As we mention later, it’s good to have a clear idea on which elements are important to you at this stage.
Research the area you want in detail, again this is a large purchase so taking extra time to ensure this is right for you is well worth undertaking now. Walk around the actual streets at various times of the day to get a real feel for the surroundings. What investment have the schools, the local high street, parks and entertainment amenities received in recent years? You can even search crime statistics online for many areas now too. You may even know people living in that area which is a great reference if you are indeed moving to an area where you do not currently reside.
Prepare the Legal Documents
Have documents ready for mortgage advisors, property solicitors and estate agents, this will certainly help avoid delays. You are likely to need to provide the following but not limited to; three months bank statements, proof of deposit, identification, proof of address, pay slips if employed, SA302’s or limited company accounts and tax year overviews if self employed, potentially an employers and landlords reference and employment contract.
Not All Properties are the Same
Focus on the right type of property for you and search online property portals to whittle down shortlists to potential homes that tick boxes for the criteria you desire. Viewing for viewings sake can cloud the aim of your search and that is to find the best home that suits your needs and will provide most enjoyment. If you set clear goals and keep an eye on the list of features most important to you, house hunting can be fun! Remember, the perfect home may not always exist and being flexible on some aspects might help and may need to become reality.
Emphasise your strengths when making an offer to an estate agent in writing – first time buyers will be chain free, finance ready, conveyancers ready to instruct and potentially flexible with timings.
Hire a Good Conveyancer
Please use our conveyancing calculator on the home page of our website to generate a competitive quote. Remember, a conveyancer from our large panel of property solicitors will be suggested that best suits your needs and or location and has capacity to work for you quickly.
Finally, try to be patient as this can be a long process – happy hunting!