10 tips to help you buy your first home!Back to all blog posts
10 tips to help you buy your first home...
Buying your first home can be an incredibly stressful and very exciting time in your life. There are a lot of unknowns, possible complications and complex decisions. Buying a home is no easy feat, but when you do, it’s incredibly rewarding.
We want to make the road to that amazing accomplishment a bit smoother, so we put together a list of 10 things everyone looking to buy their first home should consider.
1) Save up for a deposit
How much you should save depends on the price range of the properties you’re looking at. Typically though you’ll want to save up at least 5% of the property’s price to be in a good place to pay the deposit. How much you save can also determine what mortgages are available to you, for example, if you save more than 5%, you may be able to get a mortgage with a lower interest rate.
If you’re looking for property in England, you may also be eligible for the First Homes scheme which is a government-run programme designed to make first-time homeownership more accessible by reducing the prices of properties by 30-50% if you’ve saved a 5% deposit.
2) Work out what you can afford
This is the stage to take absolutely everything into account. Sit down with a pen and paper or a spreadsheet and work out the approximate cost of everything that you’ll need to buy for your home (like conveyancing costs and insurance) and also your monthly expenses. This will allow you to properly analyse how much you can afford upfront and how much you can pay each month towards your mortgage.
This process can get quite complex but our team is here to help – if you need to know what your budget looks like, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do!
3) Check your credit score
This is one of the first things lenders check to determine if you’re eligible for their money-lending programmes. It’s affected by credit cards, debts and overdrafts so ensuring you stay on top of repayments for them improves your credit score immensely.
You can check your credit score online for free. Some banks are offering it as a free service too, so make sure to check if that’s available to you.
4) Find the right mortgage
With so many options available, you can often feel overwhelmed with choices. Where do you even begin?!
This is the perfect time to take a step back and allow someone else to do the heavy lifting. At JWD Mortgages, we take your situation, goals and dreams into account to find the perfect mortgage solution for you. This is also a great time to consider what you want from a mortgage, your ideal interest rate, and if the company providing it is important to you.
5) Get an Agreement in Principle (AiP)
Also known as a ‘Decision in Principle’ or a ‘Mortgage in Principle’, an AiP allows you to shop around in confidence. An AiP isn’t a guarantee of a mortgage but it is an informal agreement between you and the lender. This is also a great thing to show to sellers who can rest assured that you’re able to pay should they choose to sell to you.
This helps take a lot of the guesswork out of buying a house, but it is usually time-limited, with most AiPs lasting a max of 90 days.
6) Work out where you want to live
This might sound obvious but it’s super important to get familiar with the area you want to buy a house in before you do. Knowing what other properties and amenities are in the area helps you better understand the value of a home and whether it works for you.
There’s only so much looking at the area on Google Maps can tell you. Go and walk the streets of the area, you never know what you could find.
7) View the property
Again, this one might sound obvious but we cannot stress enough how important this step is. Get a feel for the property. Being there allows you to properly visualise what you can do with the space. Even if you aren’t planning to live in the property, you should still know it well if any problems arise.
Viewing the property also allows the chance for a more candid conversation than communicating via calls, emails or texts would allow for.
8) Make an offer
Once you’re sure about a place, get in contact with the seller – this will usually be available via an agent. First-time buyers with an AiP have a good chance of securing properties from sellers as they aren’t part of the chain, which sellers prefer.
To ensure you get the house, form a friendly bond with the seller – don’t make it all about the property, that can get exhausting after a while, especially with how much you’ll be communicating. Show that you’re serious, and aren’t rushing into this, by asking plenty of questions. This gives the seller the confidence that you’re not taking this process lightly and they can trust you to be professional and amicable.
9) Arrange a survey
Surveys help you better understand a newly bought property. It’s impossible to know all the questions you should ask so a survey will help uncover everything you need to know about the house.
Conducting a survey on your new home increases your responsibility as a homeowner and means you’re more likely to spot problems when they arise. If the surveyor notices problems, you can always ask the seller about them or try to fix them as soon as possible. Having the house properly checked over also makes it easier to rent out if that’s what you’re planning to do.
10) Get a property solicitor
There are a lot of legalities involved in this process. Legal jargon and understanding can be hard to grasp as a layman, which is what a property solicitor is for. They’re also known as conveyancers.
Their job is to sort out any of the legal stuff that might need doing before or after you purchase the property. They can also prevent you from getting stuck in undesirable legal situations which is always a worry for first-time homeowners.
We hope these 10 tips have been useful in your house hunting journey. We wish you the best of luck and if you need advice, we’re always available and happy to help! Get in touch and we’ll see how we can help you secure your first home and mortgage.