A Guide for First Time Buyers: The Important Basics
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First of all, do your homework:
- Get yourself in the best position possible. Know what you need to organise and start early with getting quotes and advice!
- Think very careful about all the costs that will incur, and not just the monthly outgoings on mortgage repayments. There will be survey costs, agency fees...
- Work out what it is that you are looking for, but also what you are willing to compromise on.
- Start looking around and seeing what's out there!
Find a mortgage:
This is an incredibly important part of your house search. There are a huge number of mortgage lenders out there, therefore finding the best one may seem difficult but it's not. You just have to look in the right place. As first time buyers, it is always recommended to speak to more than one person, whether they are independant financial advisors, or going directly to the bank. Don't just settle on the first one you speak to!
Going directly to the bank can be costly. They will often charge you a fee and won't always give you the best deal they can offer, even if they say they are. Financial advisors are generally open to at least a very large part of the market of mortgage lenders, if not all of it, and can provide a lot more in-depth advice and searching to ensure you are given the best deal and rate. Some will give free advice, but some will charge a general fee. Make sure to find the best one for you.
Once you've found your perfect property you will want to place an offer. You will always be in a better position with regards to having your offer accepted if you have a healthy deposit of at least 10%, a mortgage decision or agreement in principle ready, and at the very least, quotes from solicitors to get you started. Make sure you are prepared for when the time comes.
Once you have had an offer accepted you will need to officially instruct a solicitor/licensed conveyancer to handle all the legal stuff. You will need to organise certain surveys (condition report, homebuyers survey, building/structural survey etc) which will be discussed in more detail in a separate post. Once everyone is happy with surveys and reports, solicitors will confirm for the exchanging of contracts to happen at which point the deposit will be paid. After this point if you pull out of the sale, you are very likely to lose your deposit.
On completion you are officially the owners of your new home! There will be some costs, but once the remaining cost of the property has been transferred to the seller's representative and your solicitors fees have been paid, you will be able to collect your keys and be on your way with your new life.