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14 Top Tips For First Time Buyers

by Jessica Amey

Buying your first home is an incredible milestone, but to get there usually means some hard work. Saving for a deposit, finding the right agent and then finding your dream home aren’t easy. Here are some top tips to get you on the property ladder. 

  1. Start saving as early as possible. The English Housing Survey says that a typical housing deposit is nearly £45,000. Get started early on saving to make the going easier. Whether to plan to buy in the near future or not, having a savings account on the go will make it much easier when you decide it’s time to buy. Get in the habit of paying into your savings every month to get you started. 
  2. Look into schemes you first time buyers. In the UK, you can get a Help To Buy ISA which the government will pay a 25% bonus into. 
  3. Speak to a mortgage advisor. An advisor can take a look at your finances and help you work out your budget. They can help you get your finances in good order ready to apply for a mortgage and to save for a deposit. You might be able to get a mortgage offer in principle, to show a seller that you’re serious and have the money ready. 
  4. Research. Make sure you’ve set your sights on an area that you can afford. Check out the area that you think you might like first, to see if it will actually suit you. Try and see it at a couple of times of day to avoid any surprises. 
  5. Be prepared with your paperwork. When you have an offer accepted, you’ll need a few bits of paperwork to get you started. Have it ready to go to speed the process up. You’ll need copies of your ID and utility bills with your name on to be shared with the estate agent. For your mortgage, you may need to resubmit paperwork such as payslips or bank statements. 
  6. Work with a professional agent. A good estate agent can guide you through the complicated process of buying your first house and make sure it all goes smoothly.
  7. Consider a new build. A homes developer like Prospect Homes could be the answer to finding the best first home. New housing developments often have a few smaller homes built with first time buyers in mind, and you get the advantage of no chain on either side. 
  8. Remember to factor in costs other than house price when you’re saving.You’ll also need survey costs, solicitor’s fees, removal costs, building insurance, home insurance, mortgage arrangement and valuation fees and may need to pay stamp duty, depending on the price of your home. 
  9. Make sure you can afford the mortgage every month. What would happen if you lost your job or decided to start a family? Be sure you could pay even if there was a problem with your finances. 
  10. Give your finances a health check. Cutting out unnecessary spending will not only help you save for your deposit, but could improve your chances of getting a mortgage. Cut back on nights out and things like buying lunch or take away coffees. Look at spending like television packages or magazine subscriptions, and see what you could live without. Do you have a gym membership for a gym you never use? Check your credit report and make sure you get any errors corrected. Stay up to date with any payments, such as utility bills and your mobile phone bill. Try and clear any debt you might have. Try and pay off your credit card, and cancel it. 
  11. Register to vote. Being on the electoral register is an easy way to improve your credit rating, and mortgage lenders will check to see if you’re registered. 
  12. There are some schemes available to help people in particular careers, such as teachers, nurses or police officers, to buy their homes. If you’re in one of those careers, make sure to check if you are eligible for any extra help. 
  13. Don’t apply for multiple mortgages at once. Each mortgage application goes onto your credit report, and multiple applications can make your credit rating drop. Applying for lots makes you look a bit desperate for money, which isn’t very appealing to a mortgage lender. It can also appear to be a fraud attempt, so be careful, and only apply when you’re certain you’ll be approved at a reasonable rate. 
  14. Keep an open mind and view lots of different properties. You might be surprised by which you fall in love with when you see it in real life. Remember to ask lots of questions at each viewing too. 

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