First Time Buyers Guide
Buying your first home is an exciting yet daunting prospect. You finally can get on the property ladder and have a home to call your own. But first-time buyers face navigating through confusing jargon and a complex process. Thankfully, buying a home for the first time doesn’t have to be challenging. This first-time buyer’s guide will help you through each step of the home-buying process.
Buying a home is the biggest financial commitment you are likely to make. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the processes involved before picking up the keys. This starts with working out your budget, getting the best mortgage and then putting in an offer on your first home. Follow our step-by-step guide on buying your first home:
Determining a Budget
The first step in buying your first home is to know how much you can afford. You must consider your earnings, outgoings, savings and credit report to determine a budget. Typically, you need to save at least 10% of the mortgage offer for a deposit, however, some mortgage lenders do offer a 5% deposit.
Then, you should ensure that you can comfortably afford the monthly mortgage payments. For example, it’s good to consider if you can continue to make payments if interest rates increase or you can’t work because of illness. In addition, having a healthy credit history can help make your mortgage cheaper.
Applying For a Mortgage
The next step is to apply for financing to buy your first home. There are various types of mortgages with different options. Therefore, it’s good to speak to an independent mortgage adviseras they can advise on mortgage fees, interest rates and first-time buyer mortgages to help you find the best deal.
At this time, it’s usually best to obtain an ‘agreement in principle’. This document confirms how much the mortgage lender is willing to lend. Getting this agreement will help with the following steps — finding a property and putting in an offer.
Searching For a Property
Looking for your ideal first home is an exciting time. The first thing to do is write down your requirements — neighbourhoods, number of bedrooms, proximity to amenities and schools and type of property.
Viewing and Making an Offer
In time, you will have a few potential properties to check out. Usually, it’s best to drive by the property to get a feel for the area. Then make an appointment to view the property. During the viewing, it’s vital to make a thorough inspection. You should check for signs of dampness, cracks in walls and that the plumbing and electrical systems work.
Additionally, it’s a good time to check the Home Report and the bills. After all, you need to know how much your monthly outgoings will be and if you can afford the monthly payments. It would be best if you also discussed with the seller what fixtures and fittings are included with the house sale.
If everything is in order and the property meets your requirements, you are ready to make an offer.
If your offer is accepted, the next step is to find a conveyancing solicitor. The conveyancer will conduct searches, prepare contracts, give legal advice, arrange money transactions and deal with Land Registry.
During this time, it’s also a good idea to organise a house survey to ensure there are no underlying structural issues or unseen problems with the property.
Additional Tips to Buying
Remember that buying your first house is the largest purchase you have likely ever made. So, it’s good to ensure you are in the best position to afford the home you have dreamed of. Here are a few more tips for first-time buyers:
- Strengthen your credit score in the months before applying for a mortgage.
- Use a mortgage calculator to see how much you can afford.
- Saving for a larger deposit will help you get a better mortgage deal.
- Ensure you can afford the additional fees when buying a home.
- Find out what government help is available for first-time buyers.
- Avoid becoming ‘house poor’ and only buy a home you can comfortably afford.
- Being a first-time buyer puts you at an advantage because you are not in a chain. So, remember and let the seller know as it can increase the chances of your offer being accepted.
Exchange of Contracts
The exchange of contracts is when your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor swap the signed agreements. When solicitors exchange contracts, the deal becomes legally binding and you pay the deposit.
After many weeks of searching for your first home and dealing with legal complexities and exchanging contracts, it’s the day of completion. It is time to move in. You can plan to pick up the keys and your solicitor will also arrange to transfer the money to the former homeowner.
Are you interested in buying your first home in Sunderland? Peter Heron are here to help guide you through the process. Get in contact with one of our branches today to discuss your options.