Easily one of the most stressful experiences of your life, buying your first property can be both exciting and challenging. Of course, understanding the process and what is required at each stage can help keep stress levels down to a minimum. Happily, that is precisely the kind of information that you will find below. Keep reading to find out more.
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1-2 years before
Save up a deposit.
When it comes to buying your first home, the earlier you can start, the better. I don't mean hopping on the internet and looking at dream houses, though. In fact, the most crucial part of starting earlier is doing everything you can to save up a deposit. A figure that is usually around 5-15% of the total cost of the home.
Of course, the more deposit you can save, the better because it means you will have less outstanding debt on the house your purchase. Something that will either allow you to pay less on your mortgage each month or pay the entire cost off a lot sooner.
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Unfortunately, saving up for a deposit can be tricky, especially if you already have a family to provide for and rent to pay. Fortunately, posts like this one on 8 Simple Ways To Cut Your Monthly Expenses can help a great deal. After all, anything you save on your monthly outgoings can be put towards your deposit. A figure that can end up being quite a significant account if you start saving early.
Additionally, when you apply for your mortgage, later on, the provider will take into account your monthly expense and when agreeing how much you can afford to borrow. Something that means getting this down as low as possible is a smart way of ensuring you will be granted the maximum amount when you do come to buy.
Open an ISA.
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Do not forget that the government also offers help for saving for a deposit on a home. Although it is worth noting that the help to buy is a scheme that is currently running won't be around for too much longer. However, it is due to be replaced by another similar scheme. Something that means that it is still very much worthwhile to place your deposit savings in this type of ISA for as long as possible.
Think about what you need and want.
Finally, around this time, it is a good idea to think carefully about the type of property that you need. In fact, considering whether to buy new or old, a house or an apartment, and even the size and location you will want is vital at this stage. After all, by gathering this information, you will know how much you will need to save for your deposit.
6 months before (ish).
This date range is a very loose one. The reason being that for some families it can move a lot quicker and for some more slowly. In fact, different parts of the process can take up more or less time, depending on your individual situation.
However, no matter how fast or slow such things happen, there does tend to be a process that most families go through at around 6 months before they buy a home.
Start to keep your eye on the market.
Of course, the first part of this process is to start looking at what is available in the location you favour, within your price range. In fact, traditionally, many people would register their interest with a local estate agent to do this. However, now as most provide online access to property listings, this may not be necessary.
In fact, identifying the apps and websites that offer first look at properties in your area may be a much better way of spending your time. Especially if there is a lot of competition for homes that are coming onto the market.
The great thing about using apps and websites to shortlist properties that you are interested in is that it makes the entire process a lot more convenient. In fact, you can sit in your own home with a cup of piping hot coffee and swipe through places until you find ones that catch your eye. You can then save these to a favourites list, and contact the agent directly to arrange a viewing. Something that can make it a lot easier to batch together looking at properties within the same area and save a lot of time and effort.
Secure a mortgage.
Another essential step around the 6-month mark is to secure a mortgage. In fact, many people don't realise that it's best to get a firm offer on a mortgage before you even start to look at properties. Then you can act quickly when you find the right one and are not in danger of losing out to someone else.
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However, do beware that getting a mortgage provider actually to offer you the terms they advertise can be something of a challenge. Particularly if you are reliant on a single wage, or you are looking to buy a new property.
Of course, this is where the advantage of having saved a higher deposit comes in, as the more you have, the more likely you will be able to get favourable rates. Something that can help save you a lot of money, across the duration of your mortgage.
Find a lawyer.
Next, at around this time, you will also need to find a lawyer to help you with the purchase and exchange of contracts. In fact, this shouldn't be too difficult as there are usually several firms in every town that specializes in property. Although, if you are in a city, choosing a lawyer that works in a town or village close to your location can mean smaller fees.
Find a home you like.
Of course, as you are doing the tasks mentioned above, you should continue to look for and view homes. Hopefully, finding one that you love enough to put an offer in on. Be sure not to let yourself fall in love with a house too hard yet, though. The reason being that putting in an offer is not the same as having it accepted.
In fact, many homebuyers like to put in an offer that is below the asking price to start with. However, there are no guarantees that a low offer will be accepted. In fact, in high demand locations, those selling their properties can expect offers of around 40% more than the asking price. Just because of the sheer volume of competition there is.
Also, there is the matter of being gazumped to look out for as well. That is when you put in an offer, have it accepted, but then the seller breaks the chain because they get a better offer. Something that can leave you high and dry, and without the property, you have worked so hard to get.
Although staying in contact with the buyer and your agent can help you to suss out whether there are any potential issues with the sale before they present themselves.
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The week before you expect to exchange.
Once you have an offer expected, gazumping notwithstanding, you need to get ready to move in. In fact, a week before the day you exchange contracts and move, you will find there is plenty to do.
One task, in particular, is to arrange house and content insurance for your new home. Oh, and changing your addresses on any bank accounts and services that you have is a smart idea too.
Additionally, don’t forget that now is the time to be packing up and cleaning the property you are leaving, as well as securing a removal team for the big day.
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The day you exchange contracts.
Finally, today is the day you get the keys to your new place! Congratulations, you did it, you are on the ladder, and you have a fantastic new property to enjoy!