Botolph's Barn

The Answers to Your First-Time Home Buying Questions

Even though a huge number of UK citizens have still been finding their living conditions tough, reports had it that mortgage lending has had a significant increase over time, and this is because first-time buyers are pushing it forward.

Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming. It is a huge financial decision and commitment. Sometimes for the others, it could also be confusing. So, here are a few tips for you as you move along and take your first step onto the property ladder.

What if I cannot afford it but I don’t want to miss out on a good property?

If it’s a new build, you may be able to still buy the house through the shared ownership scheme. It’s where you buy a portion of the property and rent the rest from the Housing Association. Over time, as your financial situation improves, you can buy the rest of the portion of the property. The scheme is very likely to work if you can’t afford the deposit, because if you’re only buying 50% of the property for now, you won’t need as much for the deposit and Stamp Duty.

What other options do I have?

The UK government and other real estate organisations actually have a lot of programmes in place to help first-time buyers on this venture. There are a few Help To Buy schemes implemented so that you and other first-time buyers out there can afford to own a home. At the moment, the UK government has the equity loan, mortgage guarantee, newbuy, and right to buy schemes in place to make sure you’re right on track on the property ladder.

What if I still don’t have enough for the deposit?

Technically, when you’re buying through the Help to Buy scheme, you’re not allowed to borrow money. If you will have to seek a family member or a friend’s help with the deposit money, it has to be given to you (the legal term is “gifted”). They should show confirm in writing that the money they’re letting you have is a gift and not a loan, and you need to let your solicitor and mortgage lender know of such as early as possible as not all lenders may accept gifted deposits.

Okay, I think I’m going with the Help to Buy scheme, what do I need to do next?

Here are a few things that you should remind yourself to do and not to do, so you won’t get it wrong.

Have a wishlist and write down the things that you utterly need in a house and the things that you think will be nice to have. Always prioritise the needs over the wants. This will also help with the budget. Make a compromise. Think of what you feel you can live without in a house and eventually just have it later on.

Find a solicitor to help you with conveyancing. This bit is going to take weeks and a lot of paperwork, people to deal with, and tasks to complete. Even before you start house hunting, try to shop around for conveyancers. Just make sure they’re accredited members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme to be sure everything is done in compliance with regulations and quality standards.

Don’t look for a house without getting your mortgage sorted. Find a mortgage broker or an independent financial advisor to help you with the best deals around. Make sure though that they are qualified members of the Financial Conduct Authority, and get your agreement in writing.

Don’t buy the first house you laid eyes on. Have a careful look at the location and compare prices to be sure you’re getting the best value for your money. More importantly, have the mindset of a future seller when house hunting. Always think of how the surroundings and the property itself would affect the sale if in case you’d want to sell it in the future.