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Top tips for First Time Buyers

Buying your first home is a daunting process. We've pulled together 10 top tips to help you through the buying process

Whether you’re buying a house for the first time or the fifteenth, it can be a long and complicated process. The reality is, the more you know about this journey, the more of your time, effort and hard-earned cash you can save. That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a list of 10 top tips for First Time Buyers. Armed with this, you’ll be ready to tackle anything – even the lime green tiles in your new kitchen!

  • Buying a house is a huge financial commitment. It’s important therefore to work out how much you can afford to borrow on a mortgage. It may not be the most exciting step but it gives you a realistic idea of what’s affordable and avoids disappointment later down the line. When you apply for a mortgage, all lenders will check your credit history, so it’s a good idea to ensure yours is healthy. If you’ve never borrowed before, consider taking out a credit card and paying off the balance in full each month to prove to lenders you can pay debts successfully.

  • After working out how much you can realistically afford, it is important to have some savings set aside for buying your house. Generally, you should try to save at least 5% to 20% of the cost of the home you would like to purchase. How long it takes to save will depend on how much you can afford to set aside each month. Setting up a direct debit of a certain amount into a savings account will help you work towards your savings goal. If you believe that you will find saving for a deposit difficult, don’t worry as there are lots of incentives/housing schemes for First Time Buyers which are all there to help you if you need it. Our experienced mortgage and protection consultants will be able to help you find a solution that works for you.

  • Buying a house is much less daunting if you know what to expect. There is information available to First Time Buyers everywhere, such as here. Or, if you prefer face to face, then visit our nearest branch with any questions and one of our consultants will be happy to help.

    To make a smarter decision when purchasing property, you need to do some important leg-work first. There is nothing worse than not being prepared; researching is the best thing you can do if you are overwhelmed. Researching the area you wish to live in is a good start; whilst you can find out a lot about a place online, it’s a good idea to visit the area a few times before deciding you want to live there – ideally at different times of the day. 

    There is nothing worse than falling in love with a property or area that is out of your budget and also not suited to your own preferences. It’s also a good idea to do some research on prices to work out whether you can afford to buy in a particular area or whether you need to widen your search. Researching current mortgage rates and using a mortgage calculator to help you work out how much you can afford is also a good step. 

  • Being a First Time Buyer means there are lots of options available to help you buy a house, including Shared Ownership and more. You could take out an ISA to help pay for a deposit, consider taking out a guarantor mortgage or perhaps buy with friends or family if you don’t think you can afford it on your own.

  • When you look for a property, look for your ‘must-haves’ and your ‘deal-breakers’. House viewing can become a chore if you are just browsing aimlessly. Making a list of what you definitely need from a house, and what you really couldn’t live with, will help not only you but also your estate agent in knowing what you want. There will be some aspects to your first house that may not be ideal but, if you are willing to compromise, it will be easier for you to get on the property ladder.

  • It may seem an odd thing to do when you are looking for your first house but it’s worth thinking about how long you see yourself living there.

    Can you see yourself being in your first house for 5 or 10 years?

    Can you see yourself having a family there? Are there good schools in the area? It’s never too early to plan ahead.

  • Buying a house involves a lot of paperwork. It’s important to keep track of the dates your mortgage consultant and legal team give you. Organisation is key; being on top of any correspondence between yourself and your team is vital. You don’t want to miss deadlines or important milestones like your mortgage application, instructing your legal team to go ahead or, the exchange of contract dates.

  • House purchases rarely stick to expected time frames and it can take weeks or months to even find your dream home. It’s also one of the biggest financial commitments you will make in your lifetime, so it's important to be patient and not rush into anything. Take your time but be persistent. Make sure you chase your team for updates and ask all the right questions – you’re paying them after all!

  • As you probably already know, there’s a lot of paperwork involved in the house buying process. As it’s legally binding, make sure you read everything carefully, including any small print. Get things in writing. You need to be equipped with knowledge so don’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure you are 100% clear on everything you need to know before making the commitment.

  • As a first time buyer, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the property hunt. You also need to remember that buying a house doesn’t just include saving for the deposit for your mortgage - it also means paying stamp duty, legal fees, mortgage arrangement fees, lender fees, removal fees and plenty more. Being a First Time Buyer, the stamp duty is lower on your first house than it would be for other people and you can work this out using a stamp duty calculator. Legal fees are dependent on the team you have chosen and range according to your specific needs.  Try to save for a comfortable deposit and have some reserves for other costs and fees that you will incur along the way.

    Once the purchase is complete, you can breathe a sigh of relief, laugh or cry and start thinking about how the interior of your new home will look! It’s your home to decorate as you like and, although buying a house for the first time isn’t cheap, it’s certainly worth it.

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A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

Countrywide Mortgage Services and Countrywide Insurance Services are trading names of Countrywide Principal Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Registration Number 301684). Registered Office: Countrywide House, 6 Caldecotte Lake Business Park, Caldecotte Lake Drive, Milton Keynes, MK7 8JT. Registered in England no. 01707341. 777FTB WEB 02/20

Please note: 0800 118 2825 is a freephone number; some mobile providers may charge.

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