Top 10 Tips for Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home and getting on the first step of the housing ladder, can be a difficult and testing time for any of us.  With so many options available to us, how can we be sure we make the right choices?  Follow our guide with our Top 10 tips to buying your first home to help your journey run as smoothly as possible.

1.  Start saving

Once you have decided to take the plunge in owning your first home, your first step is to start saving.  Cutting back on all those little extras like takeaways, exotic holidays, expensive nights out and other little luxuries, will allow you to put a little more aside each week.  Opening a cash ISA is a great way to start an interest free savings account and will really come in useful when you have to start laying out cash for your first home purchase.

2. Check your credit score

Buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases will we ever make and your ability to get a Mortgage can be hugely affected by your credit score.  A free Experian credit report is the way to go.  Get a copy of your credit report, and be sure that everything on there is in order.  Some lenders will offer a Mortgage specifically designed for people who’s credit rating is less than perfect, so do not despair if your credit score isn’t great.  Be aware though; with a bad credit score, the cost’s are likely to be much higher with restrictions put on.  It may make more financial sense to wait until your credit score has improved a little to further your chance of securing a better Mortgage.

3.  Get Advice

As a first time buyer, there will be many options available to you when you decide you wish to own your first home.  Your first job is to book an appointment with a Mortgage Advisor.  He or she will take you through the types of mortgages available, and will guide you towards what is the best mortgage available to you depending on your circumstances.

4.  Watch your budget

Now you have your advice, you must be very clear about sticking to your financial budget.  Before you step a foot over your own first home’s doorstep, there will be quite a bit of financial outlay.  Survey fee’s, Mortgage deposit, Mortgage arrangement fee’s, Valuation fee’s, are just a few of the cash outlays you will have to make.  If you are not careful, you can very quickly exceed your budget.  Make a plan and stick to it.

5.  Location

You have your budget and your Mortgage is arranged.  Now is the time to go shopping for your first home!  Be very aware of the different housing prices dependant on your area in the UK.  Homes in Glasgow, Scotland are amongst the cheapest in the country, whereas homes in London would cost you considerably more for the same size home.  City homes are always more expensive than suburban homes, but don’t overlook work or commuting costs when choosing the right property for you.

6.  Solicitor

The one thing that can hold up the buying of a home more than anything else is the Solicitor.  A bad solicitor can turn a relatively easy, straightforward home buy into a long dragged out drama.  Get recommendations from friends or family and do your homework.  A good solicitor will ensure every box is ticked and your home buy is as swift and problem free as possible.

7. Gazumping

You haven’t heard of this word yet?  This is what can happen if you find the ideal property that you love and you put in an offer price.  But someone else also loves the same property and puts in a higher bid at the last minute – meaning they buy the property, and YOU have been Gazumped.  Be fair with your offer price once you have made up your mind, or someone else could possibly take it away from you at the last minute with their higher offer.

8.  Consult regularly with the seller

It is always a fantastic idea to keep in touch with the seller of your home to ensure you are both on the right track.  Are they in a chain?  If they are, you will need to find out when they are able to move into their new home so that you have an idea of when you will be able to move into yours.  And if you are ready to complete before they are, do you have affordable temporary accommodation available to you in the meantime?  Remember, in a chain, you are wishing for everyone to move at the same time – which truthfully rarely happens.

9.  Furniture

Do not overlook this as a small after-thought.  If this is your first home, the chances are that once you have moved into your new home, you will need a lot of new furniture.  Be sure that this is a cost you have taken into account when working out your budget as this cost will very quickly mount up.  If you are buying furniture as you go through the home buying process, don’t forget to consider storage cost’s too.  Asking friends and family if they have room to store items for you could help bring those cost’s down considerably.

10.  Check, check and double check

Once you have decided on your new home, be sure to double check everything before you sign on the dotted line.  Is the area right for you?  What is the council tax band of the new home?  What is the crime rate like?  What are the neighbours like?  When was the last re-wire or gas inspection?  Are there any service charges or ground rent to pay?  If there is a lease, how long is it for?  These are just some of the questions you will want to ask as you go through the process.  Be sure to write a check-list as you go along and before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you have done all your homework and checking.  And remember, backing out at the later stages can prove to be very expensive indeed!  Ensuring you have confirmed and checked everything twice before signing and completion will help to give you as smooth a home buy as possible.

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