We all need a bit of help and advice from time to time, especially those trying to get on to the property ladder and so this blog is aimed at the first-time buyers out there.
Below are some quick and easy steps to help you on your way. If you want a more detailed read have a look at our useful first-time buyer guide https://rebrand.ly/99795.
Step 1: Get organised and plan
We all start thinking of buying a home by looking at what is available on the market. Is it that dream property you saw at the end of the street or a city-centre flat? While these ideas are a great starting point, it helps to get an idea of what you can afford and what the monthly payments might be.
That’s why it’s is worth talking to a mortgage adviser as soon as possible, so they can discuss your mortgage needs, what you can afford and what the repayments look like. You can get at this stage what is called a Mortgage in Principle. Some estate agents may ask to see a Mortgage in Principle before they let you view any properties.
You also need to consider what deposit you have. The deposit is important as where it comes from can affect your mortgage.
A typical rule in mortgages is the larger the deposit you have, the lower the interest rates and the more mortgage products are available. At this point is also worth considering the costs of buying a property.
Step 2: Find a property and make an offer!
Once you have found a property and have completed a Mortgage in Principle, you are able to put an offer in on a property. Neither the buyer nor the seller is legally bound to proceed at this stage.
Step 3: Apply for the mortgage and arrange solicitors and surveys
Once you have an offer accepted, you can submit a full mortgage application.
It is also a good idea to instruct a survey at this stage, please discuss your chosen course of action with your mortgage adviser.
You should also now be thinking of which solicitor you want to use, remember to check all legal costs thoroughly, before you instruct them to do the work.
You also need to consider protection for you and your family in the form of insurance. Getting a home is the start of a long journey; in some situations, up to 40 years. Ensuring that you can not only get your home but also keep it should the worst happen is vitally important.
Step 4: Negotiate if required and finalise the mortgage
At this stage in England and Wales no one is legally bound to buy or sell the property. After the survey, mortgage and solicitors have been instructed, it is not unusual for items on reports to come back and negotiations to continue as a result. For example, the property might be down valued on survey. If this happens you may wish to discuss with the selling agents to see if you want to re-negotiate the price. You may also need to seek advice from your solicitor and mortgage adviser to see if it has any impact on your situation.
Step 5: Mortgage offer
Once everything has been finalised and the mortgage lender has completed all their checks, they will issue you with a mortgage offer. You will also have a seven-day reflection period to decide whether this is the right mortgage for you. Even at this stage, if you decide not to buy you can pull out and cancel your mortgage application before you have exchanged contracts, but you are likely to lose some of your money depending on how far you’ve gone in the process.
Step 6: Exchange contracts
Once everything above has been finalised, then you should receive the contract to sign and complete the sale. Before signing the contract, go through it carefully with your solicitor to check that all the details are correct. You should also ensure you are happy with what the sellers have agreed to leave in the property and that all your queries have been answered.
At this stage, you and the seller are committed to the sale. You will also need Buildings Insurance in place when you exchange contracts to cover the structure of the property as you are now legally committed to buying it.
Step 7: Completion
This is when the remaining funds are transferred from your solicitor to the seller’s solicitor. It is when you legally own the property and can move in.
The best advice for any first-time buyer is do not go along in silence. If you have questions, ask them! If you are not sure about any situation, ask for advice and help.