Advice for first time buyers getting onto the property ladder

Oliver Meddick By Oliver Meddick

Published 19th October 2022

Doggy in moving box

Looking to purchase your new home? This can be both an exciting yet nerve wracking time and for many first-time buyers the process can feel a little bit overwhelming. We have put together our top advice on what to look out for and steps to consider to help you on the way to the purchase of your first home.  

Understand the cost of moving

Many first-time buyers are not aware of the extra fees that are involved in the buying process. Conveyancing fees, property searches, and surveys are just some of the extras that you need to be aware of. Be sure to include these in your budget calculations at the beginning so you are prepared for the extra expenses.

Know your house price limits

After you have saved for your deposit and applied for your mortgage, it is important to stick to your budget. Set a clear limit and do not view properties above that if you are not willing to haggle with the seller. Decide if you want to dip into any further savings at the beginning, and only view properties that you can afford. Being mindful of future costs is now more important than ever in the current economic climate so being realistic with what you can afford is key.

Be mindful of the asking price

When you are looking for potential properties, it is important to think carefully about the asking price and if it’s reasonable.  How does it compare to similar properties in the area? Is there work required to the property? Do you need to factor in a new roof or new windows? Being astute at this stage will prevent you from paying too much for a property and will help ensure you keep future value in the property.

Aim to get a mortgage in principle agreed

Most first-time buyers require a mortgage to afford their new home. Make sure you get your mortgage application in early to get yourself ready. Having a mortgage in principle will make you a proceedable buyer which can really help you appeal to sellers that are looking for a secure offer.

Ensure your credit remains stable

Often, buyers will overlook their credit when the mortgage process has started. But lenders will revisit your credit rating when completion looms so ensure you keep it stable throughout the process. Avoid taking out new credit cards or taking on any loans until the process is over to avoid any impact to your credit rating.

Take advantage of government schemes

The government is committed to its pledge of turning “generation rent” into “generation buy”. There are plenty of schemes out there to help first-time buyers get on the ladder. Lifetime ISA’s, shared ownership schemes, and Help to Buy ISA’s are all viable options. Find out more about first time buyer government schemes and which one is best for you as it can save you money on your purchase and enable you to buy a home you didn’t think you could afford.

Play to your strengths

First-time buyers often have an advantage when it comes to securing a property. By not already owning a home, you are not part of a property chain. This is attractive to agents and sellers as it means you are not tied down to the sale of your own home before you can move into your new one.

Give nothing away while on property viewings

When you find the property that you have been dreaming of, it can be easy to forget yourself. Be positive and interested, but keep in mind that looking to keen will reveal your hand early. This could make negotiations difficult if you want to negotiate on price later.

Know who is on your side 

It pays to bear in mind that estate agents work for sellers. While they accommodate buyers during property viewings, their job is to sell the property at the highest price. Being aware of this will help you conduct yourself during viewings while the agents are assessing you on behalf of the seller.

Instruct a conveyancer early

Conveyancing is the process of transferring the legal title of a property from one homeowner to another. But you do not need to have put in an offer to instruct a conveyancer. If you are committed to buying a property, you can instruct without having the details. This will put you a step ahead of the rest when you have an offer accepted.

Take out property surveys

While it is easy to get swept away with the home buying process, don’t skimp on the property surveys. A valuation is often required by a mortgage lender but building surveys and homebuyer reports can reveal more about the property you are buying. They will prevent any nasty surprises and can even help you negotiate the asking price with the seller.

How can Home Legal Direct help?

Home Legal Direct is an online conveyancing and property survey network. We assign our customers to one of the expert conveyancing companies on our panel that is best suited to your needs. Start the process with a free, no obligation online conveyancing quotation or property survey quote today.

Useful information  
 

Find out how much you can borrow with our Mortgage calculator

Read our article on the pros and cons of buying a new build home 

Discover our No move no legal fee promise

All you need to know about the conveyancing process when buying a new home

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