For most people, the process of buying a first home stirs up a whirlwind of emotions. It’s exciting, of course – getting on the housing ladder is a significant milestone in life – but it can also be stressful, overwhelming and exhausting, especially if you don’t have the right kind of support.
A lot of what needs to be in place is pretty obvious – once you’ve found the home you want to buy, you need to have a deposit to put down and arrange a mortgage to pay for it. Beyond that, you need a conveyancer to make sure all the legal details are right.
But there’s a lot more that needs to be done – especially when it’s your first property – and there are 5 key mistakes that first time buyers often make. Here’s our guide to what they are and how to avoid them.
1. Don’t wait until you’ve found your dream house to arrange your mortgage
In a demand-driven market, buyers who already have their finance in place are always more attractive to sellers.
As a first-time buyer, you already have an advantage over prospective buyers who have a property to sell because there’s no chain below you that might collapse and derail the sale and purchase. But you can strengthen your hand further by coming to the table with a mortgage agreed in principle.
Faced with a choice between a buyer with a mortgage in place but a property to sell and a buyer with their mortgage agreed and nothing to sell, there’s a good chance your offer will be the one the seller accepts, even if it’s a little lower than anything else on the table.
For a seller, getting to completion as quickly as possible is the number one priority, and they’re often prepared to sacrifice a little on their asking price if they think that buyer offers the best chance of everything going through smoothly.
2. Get a survey done
Many first-time buyers try to trim their costs by skipping a proper property survey, but this can be a false economy. Finding you need a new roof or that your new home needs a complete rewire will cost you thousands, so don’t skimp on paying a relatively small amount to know exactly what you’re taking on.
3. Do your sums
Many first time buyers look at the big ticket items – mortgage repayments, council tax, and so on – and ignore the fact that once they move into their new home, there’s a significant monthly cost involved in running it.
From power, water and heat, to furnishings, living expenses and insurance (more on this in a minute), the cost of buying a home is so much greater than the cost of repaying your mortgage. So, be realistic about your outgoings and make sure you really can afford the property you’re planning to buy.
4. Protect your house and the things that make it a home
Having the right buildings and contents insurance in place can protect new homeowners against theft, loss and damage to both the bricks and mortar and your personal possessions, such as furniture, clothing, electronics and other valuable items.
Policies can cover single items or the total amount of your valuables and working with a specialist consultancy can help you to pinpoint the cover most suitable for you when you’re moving into your new home.
The right level of buildings and contents offers long-term peace of mind, taking worries from the shoulders of new homeowners and allowing them to concentrate on more urgent matters.
5. Don’t go it alone
Working with a professional mortgage broker like Oportfolio can take a lot of the stress out of the buying process by helping you to collate all the financial information you need and ensuring your application has the best possible chance of being approved.
If you’re a first-time buyer who needs help discovering suitable mortgage and insurance products, read our First-Time Home Buyer Questions To Ask A Mortgage Broker or contact our Putney mortgage team today to see how we can help you make your dream of home ownership a reality.
Oportfolio Limited is an appointed representative of Primis Mortgage Network, a trading name of First Complete Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Oportfolio Ltd fees are payable on application. We charge a broker fee for property purchases of £495 and a remortgage/further advance fee of £395. Our product transfer fee is £295.