While the current climate is daunting for first-time home buyers, many potential homemakers across Britain find themselves in the position ready to take that first step. However, the basics still aren’t taught in schools which can leave those at the foot of the ladder ill-prepared.
As part of National Home Buyers Week, experts at Comparethemaket have shared six key steps first-time buyers should be aware of. So if you’re ready to reap the benefits of your hard-earned savings, here’s a first-time buyer’s checklist to make sure you’re fully prepared.
From effectively hunting for the right property to making that first offer, here’s a few expert tips on buying your first home.
Tips for first-time home buyers
1. Get a mortgage in principle
A mortgage in principle acts as proof you’re able to borrow and are serious about buying. Some estate agents will want to see a mortgage agreement in principle before you can make an offer, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer.
Use an online mortgage calculator to help you estimate how much money you can borrow, and to figure out what you can realistically afford.
2. Start house-hunting
Once you start looking at properties, make sure you’re asking the right questions, including talking with estate agents to understand if what you’re looking for falls within your budget. Once you’ve found the right property, you can put in your opening offer with the estate agent, who will act as a go-between.
3. Apply for a mortgage
After your offer has been accepted, it’s time to turn your mortgage in principle into the real thing. There are many mortgage types available, so research your options to decide which is best for you.
The process of applying for a mortgage can be long and you’ll need to answer lots of questions, so make sure you’re prepared for this.
4. Exchange contracts
A solicitor will help you through the complicated paperwork and contract process, acting on your behalf to communicate with the sellers. Your purchase becomes legally binding once contracts are exchanged – which usually happens once your deposit has been paid - meaning you will officially own your own property.
As a legal homeowner, one of the first things you should do is protect your property with home insurance. This means if anything goes wrong, even prior to collecting your keys and moving in, your insurance should cover you.
5. Prepare for the move
There’s a lot to do in the lead-up to moving day, such as giving notice to your landlord, ordering new furniture, and letting utility providers know you’ll be moving. If you own a car, you should also let your car insurance provider and the DVLA know about your move, so you don’t risk invalidating your insurance.
6. Move into your new home
After collecting your keys, one of the first things you should do is take a meter reading. This is important to ensure your energy supplier can bill you correctly.
Moving day may be very stressful, but remember what a big achievement this is for you. Take a deep breath and celebrate successfully buying your very own home!”