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Guide to buying your first home

Buying a home is a big move and it can be a very tricky and finicky business. There are a lot of things that need to be perfectly in place, and if not, they can set you back a lot of time and money. Here’s the best journey to take when buying a home.

Can you afford it?

When thinking about purchasing a property, be honest with yourself and question if you can truly afford it. You’ll need to start saving as soon as possible because there are lots of other costs to factor in, and they don’t come cheap.

Finances

Get your finances fit and healthy by clearing any existing credit card debt and loans that you may have. This gives you a better credit rating, which helps you in the long run.

Also, make sure you know the costs after placing down the deposit. Mortgage repayments have to be made each month after until you pay off your loan. This is alongside council tax, utility bills and the maintenance of your home.

Weigh up all the costs

  • The legal fees of solicitors and conveyancers
  • Surveyor fees – so you know the home you’re buying is in decent shape
  • Deposit – you’ll need a minimum of 5% of your deposit
  • Stamp duty – a land tax for properties £125,000
  • Removal costs – getting everything you own from one place to the next
  • Decorating and furnishing costs – a new sofa, washing machine, or work on a room like a kitchen or a bathroom can get expensive.
  • Home insurance  – protect your hard work with home insurance.

Things to look for when hunting for a home

You’ve worked and saved for months on end and now you want to part with it to buy a property. You probably have a rough idea of what you want but there are a few things to take into account:

  • The number of bedrooms
  • Garden - the size of it or even if you want one
  • Work and renovations on the home you want to buy
  • Garage and parking - your car insurance price will be higher if you have to park it on the side of the road.  

Location is everything

Ask yourself these questions

  • Is the place you’re looking at close to work or will it be a big commute?
  • How good are the transport links.
  • Are you close enough to shops and restaurants?
  • Are you far enough away from pubs for when the locals finish drinking each evening?
  • how far will you be from family and friends?
  • And further ahead, are there any good schools nearby?

You should visit the property and neighbourhood you’re looking to buy more than once, and go at different times of the day and week to get a feel for what you’re buying.

It’s buying time

You’ve found the property that ticks all your boxes and you want to buy it. The next steps are the big ones:

Make an offer

Tell the seller what you’re happy to pay for the property. This is also the time where you, the buyer, and the seller will discuss your conditions like any changes or fixes that need to happen before purchase.

This is just the negotiation stage, so your first offer might be rejected. If that’s the case, see if you can come back with a better offer.

Offer accepted

The seller accepts your offer and the first thing you do after celebrating is get a surveyor in to check out the property. The upfront cost of a surveyor may be a little steep but can save you thousands in the future if there’s unseen damage.

Application

You’ll send in your application to your mortgage lender and they’ll conduct their own valuation to agree that the property is worth what you’re saying you’ll pay for it. If the lender approves your application you’ll get your offer within 20-40 days if all your paperwork is correct.

If you’re not approved, get in touch with them, or the credit reference agencies, to try and find out why. Then make the necessary changes before applying with a different lender.

Parting with your pounds

When everything’s approved, you’ll pay your deposit and your conveyancer will arrange for the rest of the funds be transferred from your mortgage lender to the seller of the property. The timing depends if there are property chains but between 12-30 days is normal.

You’re done and dusted

Buy yourself a cute little keychain to put on your keys for your new home and celebrate that fact that you have a place to call your own.

Now starts the hard work starts of making regular payments on your mortgage, insurance, utility bills and decorating it how you want it. But, it’s all worth it.

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