Over the past year the housing market has been on the rise, led by the Government temporarily cutting stamp duty.
Buying a house is often the single biggest purchase most of us will make in our lives, combine this with it being your first house can mean an exciting but daunting journey ahead.
Abbie White, head of residential at Bendles Solicitors, gives some sound advice to anyone buying a house at the moment.
Do your maths!
Before making an offer on a property you first need to make sure you can afford it.
The normal amount required as a deposit is five to 10 per cent of the property’s price. However this can sometimes be as much as 20 per cent.
Generally, the more you put down as a deposit the better the repayment rates will be on your mortgage.
Lenders consider the deposit when making an offer as well as your salary, credit score and any debts you may have.
The Mortgage Advice Bureau is an excellent source of market information and can help you to secure the best deal possible.
Additional fees you will need to factor into the purchase include; legal fees, the cost of surveys and searches, removal costs and stamp duty if it is applicable. It is also good practice to work out the monthly costs of running the property such as council tax and heating/gas tariffs.
Use the help available to first-time buyers
There are various Government schemes to help first-time buyers.
One such scheme is the Lifetime ISA which gives savers a 25 per cent bonus on money paid into the account.
Another is the Help to Buy: Equity Loan which is available in England to both first-time buyers and homeowners looking to move.
It applies to new-build properties worth up to £600,000 and works by reducing the deposit you pay to five per cent of the property’s price.
Once you have calculated your budget the search for your dream home can begin!
Start your house hunt online but once you have found a property you like the look of contact the estate agent advertising the property as they will help you with viewing the property in person and provide additional information on the sale.
It is vital that you view any properties you like in person.
Keep an eye out for damp, cracks, storage, any noise from the streets or neighbouring houses, the overall condition of the property and anything else that might affect you if you bought the property.
Understand house surveys
Your conveyancer will always recommend that you have a house survey done by a professional building survey to ensure the property is worth what you are going to pay for it and to uncover any potential problems that may be hidden to the eye.
There are different types of surveys which offer reports on various elements to a property for example a Homebuyer survey will value the property and give a report on the overall condition of the property and highlight any maintenance that needs to be carried out.
How to make an offer
Remember that the first offer you make does not necessarily need to be the asking price.
Again, do your research on the area and what prices houses nearby are selling for then make an informed decision based on your budget.
Once the estate agent has put your offer forward you will need to wait to see if it is accepted.
If successful and your offer is accepted by the sellers, you are then able to instruct a conveyancer to handle the legal side of buying a house.
Bendles’ friendly and experienced residential conveyancing team are here to help this next stage go as smoothly as possible.
So, don’t be too put off by what seems a complicated procedure, particularly at the moment as house prices are rising and properties are being snapped up.
Buying your first home is a fantastic experience and a great way to invest in your future.