If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be tough to know exactly how to buy that first home and get on the property ladder. Fortunately, it’s easier than you think. The property buying process UK first-time buyers must undergo is fairly simple, and just knowing what’s in store can help ensure things go much smoother.
Start with your budget
Before you ever begin looking at homes, the single first thing you should do is carefully examine your budget to buy a house. Keep in mind that there are a lot of costs involved in this. You’ll need to not just think about what a monthly mortgage payment might cost you. Instead, you’ll need to think about what the deposit itself will cost, what mortgage fees you’ll have to pay in addition to that deposit, and how much Stamp Duty might cost you. Additionally, you’ll need to consider those additional fees like the cost of your conveyancing solicitor and the cost of the property survey. Once you’ve become a homeowner, though, those costs don’t stop. Instead, you’ll need to factor in things like the cost of utilities and any repairs you must make to the home itself.
It can help to sit down with a mortgage broker when you know you’re ready to buy a home. He or she will be able to help you better understand what the overall costs of the purchase might be and how much you’ll need to save for that initial purchase as well as how much you’ll need to make from month to month to qualify for a mortgage comfortably.
Begin looking for homes
Once you know what your budget might be, the fun can begin. You can begin to explore towns and neighbourhoods that you may want to live in. As you look, don’t forget to consider the commute from the new home to work, as well as the shops and restaurants that are in the area. You’ll also want to think about walkability, green spaces, and transport links, too. If you have a family, it’s important to consider school catchment areas, local infrastructure plans, and crime rates.
In addition to all of those factors, though, you’ll also want to think about the home itself. Does it provide what you need? Most people pretty carefully scrutinise the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but they don’t always look for the other things that might matter. Think about parking availability, the size of the garden, and the storage spaces the house offers. Think, too, about the living spaces. Is the living room large enough for your furniture? Does it have that cosy feeling you’ve always wanted? Is the kitchen ideal to meet your cooking needs?
Make an offer
Once you’ve decided on the perfect home, the next step in the property buying process UK first-time buyers find is to make an offer on a home. It’s pretty common to offer less than the asking price of the home, but the depends quite a bit on the individual property, too. Remember that if the market is a fairly crowded space, you’ll likely need to offer more than the asking price. It can be helpful to look at similar properties that have sold nearby to help fine-tune the numbers on your offer.
Get the mortgage
After your offer has been accepted, it’s time to obtain the mortgage on the property. You’ll need to work through a broker or an individual lender to complete the required paperwork and expect to bring several pieces of documentation with you to obtain the mortgage.
Meet with a conveyancing solicitor
The next step is to get a solicitor on your side to handle the legal bit of the property buying process. UK conveyancing solicitors are available across the country, so you should be able to connect with one who can help. Keep in mind that there are online conveyancing solicitors available today, and for most property buying experiences, they’re a good alternative to high fees, but be sure you carefully read the contract before you make a decision.
Have a survey completed
The next step is to have a survey of the home you’d like to buy completed. Hire an RICS-certified surveyor to get a complete look at the home and any possible problems. If you do uncover problems with the home, you’ll want to talk to your solicitor so you can plan for the seller to either repair the problems before the day of completion or change the price on the home to compensate you for any repairs you may have to address.
The next step in the process is the exchange contracts. Once that’s complete, you are legally obligated to purchase the home. It’s here that you’ll set your day of completion, too, so after you’ve exchanged contracts, contact the utility companies and begin planning for a removal service to help you move into your new home.
Day of completion
The final step in the process is the day of completion. On this day, you’ll get the keys to your new home and move in!
The property buying process in the UK isn’t complex, but it is a fairly long one, so make sure you plan carefully before you buy your first home.