Buying your first home is a process that is supposed to be fun and exciting. And of course, it can be! However, there’s plenty for you to learn along the way in order to make sure you get the right house for the right price. So, to help make the process of becoming a first-time homeowner a little more straightforward, here is our simple 8 step guide.
1. Finding the perfect home
When you are searching for your ideal home, there are two main criteria you should be assessing. These are location and property specification. Essentially, you want to find a home that provides you and your family with everything you need, and in a location that is perfect for going about your daily lives. When assessing location, look at things like:
– Distance from your home to your work
– Distance to any necessary schools
– Distance to dependant family members
– Access to other amenities, like hospitals
– Crime and safety statistics in the area
When assessing the property itself and before buying your first home, ask yourself questions like:
– Are there enough bedrooms (and spare rooms if you’re starting a family)?
– Is there ample parking?
– How old/safe is the property?
– Is it leasehold or freehold?
– Is there suitable privacy?
2. What you need to know about property viewings
Property viewings are an integral part of the house buying process. Never, ever make an offer on a home without taking plenty of time to view it and assess it’s flaws and its potential. When you are in the process of looking to buy your first home, feel free to book a number of property viewings and go along with others more experienced than you at buying property.
That way, you will quickly get to learn what to look for and any warnings signs that this may not be the right home for you. To help, you should write out a list of questions and criteria beforehand, that you have for every property. That way, it’s easier to make sure you get to know everything you need to about the building and ask all of the right questions to the homeowner or estate agent.
3. Sorting out your deposit
Your deposit is the cash sum you put down on your home, before taking out a mortgage on the remaining value of the property. It is considered desirable to have a larger deposit. That way your loan amount will be less, and you are less at risk of entering negative equity.
This occurs when the value of the home drops significantly and surpasses the value of the equity you hold in it. If you are serious about buying a property, then you should look to have a deposit that is at least 20% of the overall value of the home you are considering.
4. Securing a suitable mortgage
There are all kinds of mortgages available, especially to first-time buyers. Fixed rate and variable rate mortgages are the two biggest types, each of which has its own benefits. In a basic sense, a variable rate mortgage will cause your payments to go up or down over time, depending on the national interest rate.
On the flip side, a fixed rate mortgage locks in a set price each month. As such, even as interest rates fluctuate, you know what you are paying each month. It is probably worth researching different types of mortgages and speaking to an independent mortgage broker to gain a deeper understanding.
5. Doing due diligence before you buy
Before you sign on the dotted line and agree to buy a home, it’s important that you really take a look at whether the house is structurally sound. Yes, your mortgage provider will likely need to carry out an evaluation of the property themselves, but you should not trust simply this. Instead, it is advised that you carry out your own independent surveys.
You can hire a chartered surveyor who will visit the property and assess all aspects of its structural stability. They will be able to uncover any potential issues that could one day cause you a great deal of stress and financial loss.
6. Finalising a deal with the existing owner
Be prepared for a few rounds of negotiating before agreeing to a final sale price with a buyer. Also be aware that many negotiations you enter in to will end with no deal being made. That is fine, it’s all a part of the home buying process. Whenever you view a property, you will be aware of the list price being offered by the seller.
In the majority of cases, this is not a fixed price, and the seller even expects you to come in with a lower offer. Just bear in mind that, when you do counter, don’t offer anything too low as you risk the seller not taking you seriously. At the same time, if you offer too much then you may end up overpaying. Also remember that, in the negotiations, you could hold some hefty leverage. Such as:
– If you have a mortgage already lined up
– You have no existing home to sell, so will not hold up the property chain
– If the seller is looking for a fast sale
7. Other expenses to consider
When you buy your first home, there are going to be added expenses that you need to bear in mind. These can stack up significantly and amount to as much as 15% of the actual cost of the home. So bear this in mind when you are budgeting and trying to decide on a suitable offer. These costs arise through things like:
– Stamp duty (click here for more info)
– Solicitors fees
– Mortgage arrangement fees
– Home insurance
– Survey Costs
– Moving costs
– Costs to re-furnish the home
You will then be responsible for the costs of maintaining the home and paying any necessary bills. Such as water, electricity, gas and council tax.
8. Buying your first home and becoming a homeowner!
When you officially become a homeowner, there will be a process carried out known as exchange and completion. This is when the seller officially transfers ownership of the property to you. This occurs once all of the other legal and financial paperwork has been processed.
As a point to note, once you and the seller negotiate and agree on a sale price, you should ask them to take the property off the market. There will still be a few weeks or months of processing to go through and you don’t want anyone else putting in a rival bid at the last minute!
Seeking professional advice
If you are in the process of buying your first ever home, then it could be wise to work with an independent mortgage advisor. Here at Clear Mortgage Solutions, we are experts at buying homes and have helped many first time buyers to navigate the process of finding and buying their first home. We are happy to help anyone who feels overwhelmed by the process. If you want to explore how interest rates and term lengths will affect your mortgage, you can use our handy mortgage calculator. To find out more, simply get in contact today.