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First time buyers
Buying your first home is one of life's major milestones and is hugely exciting. It can also be really daunting as everything about it will be unfamiliar. We really understand the process and will help you every step of the way to understand how the process works, what all the jargon means, and to make the right decisions at the right time. As part of our process, we can help determine if you are in a position to take this momentous step, as well as advising on a suitable mortgage.
Ensuring you are ready financially is really important when taking your first step on the property ladder. Make sure you have considered, and budgeted for, the following costs.
- Deposit - you'll need at least 5% of the purchase price, but interest rates are more competitive if you can provide 10%. Your close family can gift you the money; it must be a true gift with no requirement to pay it back for a lender to accept it.
- Stamp duty - with recent concessions for first time buyers, you may not have to pay any stamp duty but you can use our handy calculator to check.
- Legal fees - you'll need to instruct a solicitor to act for you. The legal fee is usually based on the purchase price of the property and there will be additional costs known as disbursements which includes searches and fees to the Land Registry. We're happy to provide quotes if required.
- Removal costs - you may already have some of your own things for your new home so remember to budget for any costs moving them.
- Furnishings - it's great you can afford your new home, but less fun if you can't then furnish it and have to live on beans! Remember to budget for essential furniture and plan to accessorize and make it perfect over time.
- Running costs - if you've never had your own property before then you may not have had much cause to consider all the costs involved with running one. There's insurance, council tax, utility bills, broadband and telephone, not to mention potential renovations and repairs. We'll help you understand the costs involved and assess your budget to cope with them.
The big search
Remember, the agent is there to sell the property so they are not an impartial advisor for you!
- Think carefully about what you want, in fact make a list! Then go through the list and decide which things are essential and which you're prepared to compromise on. It is unlikely you will find that dream property that provides absolutely everything you want, so you will need to compromise on something.
- If you want to buy a flat then it is very likely to be leasehold which means you will have to budget for the ground rent and service charge costs. In city centre locations these can be significant so find out about them early. Some houses are also leasehold so be sure to check. If you don't want these additional costs then you should consider looking for freehold houses.
- If you have the opportunity then visit the area before booking your viewing. You may find you simply don't like the neighbourhood, parking may be a nightmare, it may be noisy, there may be no public transport links. There's no point viewing a property if you don't want to live in the neighbourhood!
- Be prepared to see beyond decor and focus on structure and layout. Is there storage, or space for it, in bedrooms; will that gorgeous sofa you want fit in the lounge; are there radiators everywhere; are windows draughty? It's a lot to take in on a first viewing so if you like a property, book a second viewing to go back and focus on how you would live there. Carpets and wall colours are easily changed in time so don't let them put you off!
- If you have or are planning children, then you'll probably want to check out the quality of the schools and their catchment areas.
You found the one
When you finally find that one property you love, do some research before jumping in. Zoopla and Rightmove are helpful for this.
- How long has it been on the market?
- Has the price been reduced since it went on the market?
- Ask the agent what interest there has been and if there have been any offers (they may not always tell you).
- Use your research to inform the offer you put forward. It doesn't have to be for the asking price, but likewise if a property is very popular, then it may need to be higher than the asking price. Be sure to sell your position when negotiating. As a first time buyer you will have no chain so will hopefully be in a position to complete quickly. This is where engaging Maxwell Moore early really helps as we can vouch for your ability to get a mortgage.
Once you've had an offer accepted then be organised. Respond to enquiries from, and provide information to us and your solicitor promptly. This will help to ensure that things progress as smoothly and as quickly as possible. A seller isn't going to wait around forever if you promised a quick completion!
Protecting you and your home
We don't just love helping you find the right mortgage, we're passionate about ensuring you can stay in your home. That's why we'll discuss how to protect you and your family in the event of unpleasant things happening; unfortunately the mortgage and bills don't go away even if your income does, and your family won't want to move if you die. Find out more on our insurance page.