1. Saving for a deposit is one of the biggest challenges facing first-time buyers. You will generally require at least 5% of the purchase price of any property you look at buying plus legal expenses and hopefully a little money left over for decorating and moving. If you’re under 40 and are saving for a deposit you could open a lifetime Isa. A lifetime Isa allows you to save up to £4,000 each year until you’re 50. For every £4 you save, the government will add a £1 bonus to your savings. This means you could get an extra £1,000 each year.
2. Have a look at first home schemes such as Help to Buy and shared ownership which are two of the most common options for first-time buyers who may be struggling to save a house deposit. Help to Buy allows you to purchase a new-build home with a 5% deposit, by taking out a 20% loan from the government and getting a mortgage for the remaining 75%. Shared ownership allows you to buy a share of 25% to 75% in a property and pay rent on the remainder. It can be a good way of getting on the housing ladder.
3. Get a mortgage agreement in principle certificate - it clarifies your budget, and it can prove that you’re a serious buyer. Speak to your friendly mortgage broker at the earliest opportunity who will look at your individual circumstances and check for mortgage affordability i.e. wages, loans, credit cards and credit file to see how much you can borrow and from which lenders. This certificate can then be shown to estate agents and vendors to show that you can afford any property you may be viewing or putting in an offer for. Your broker can also answer any questions you may have about the home buying process and explain your next steps in as much detail as you need.
4. Get your solicitor ready once you have your agreement in principle and begin to look for houses – Many people do not think about this, but it can show you are a serious buyer and willing to move quickly. Other buyers may not have a solicitor ready to go so this can give you an edge over them when there are several of you making an offer for the same house. It will also save time once you have an offer accepted and you can get straight onto the mortgage application.
5. Look for properties within your price range and book a viewing! This is the exciting bit and, because you have prepared in advance, when you find a property you love you will be able to make an offer knowing that it is affordable to you. Don’t be pressured into making offers above your budget or way more than the value of the house as you may be disappointed later. Remember as a first-time buyer you have no chain and are therefore in a strong position. Always ask your broker for further advice if you need it – this may be your first time, but your adviser is an expert and is there to help.
Book an appointment with an adviser today to find out about all of the above and more!