Becoming a homeowner and getting yourself on the property ladder is a goal for many of us. With the governments new 95% mortgage scheme in place, designed to help first-time buyers secure a mortgage with just 5% deposit now might be the perfect time to get yourself onto the property ladder.
The home buying process can be a daunting one with many things you need to think about, so here are a few things to consider if you’re a first-time buyer getting ready to purchase your new home…
You first need to find out how much you will need to save for a deposit and what house prices you can afford. You can get a rough idea from online mortgage calculators which are readily available on many sites these days. These will look at your monthly income and household costs to help determine what you can afford and what sort of mortgage you could be approved for.
2. Saving for a deposit
Once you know how much you need to save it’s good to look at what sort of savings account you are putting your money into. Look for something with good interest rates, for example, Lifetime ISA’s. These are tax-free accounts that help you save towards your first home. You can pay up to £4,000 into your ISA each year and the government will put a 25% bonus on top of whatever you save. This means if you save the maximum amount for the year the government will give you £1,000.
3. Credit Score
You’ll need a good credit rating to secure a mortgage. Your credit rating is a snapshot of how you’ve managed your money in that past – including past borrowing, loan repayments, how much available credit you roughly use and how many payments you’ve missed, as well as several other factors. The higher the score, the better your chance of being offered a better deal on your mortgage. You can check your score online using a service such as Experian.
4. Buying with a partner
Buying a property with a partner is a huge commitment. If you and your partner are not married, experts recommend entering a ‘cohabitation agreement’. This agreement states each partners ownership intentions and outlines what will happen should the relationship end.
5. Extra costs
You may not know it but there are a few extra costs involved when it comes to buying a home.
- Mortgage fees – Before you choose a mortgage, always look at the fees. Cunning lenders often use high fees to make their interest rates look more attractive, so they rise up the best buy tables. Some charge fees of £2,000+. Expect to pay a fee of at least £1,000 to secure an attractive rate.
- Valuation fees – Occasionally lenders will charge for property valuations
- Survey fees – Paid to your lender. A survey is a thorough inspection of the property, it can spot damp, structural problems, plumbing issues and other potential snags. Whilst it is a necessity, it is recommended.
- Broker fees – This is charged by your broker to execute transactions or provide specialist services. Brokerage fees are based on a percentage of the transaction, a flat fee, or a hybrid of the two and vary depending on who you use. Always make sure you check the fees before going ahead.
- Stamp duty – Stamp duty is the tax you pay to the government when you buy a property. You’ll need to pay your stamp duty to your solicitor, who will then pay it to HM Revenue & Customs when your property purchase completes. How much this is depends on the price of your property and if you’re a first-time buyer.
- Conveyancing fees – Paid to your solicitor to cover the cost of all the legal work associated with buying a home. This includes conveyancing (dealing with the transfer of ownership), checking paperwork is in order and checking whether environmental factors, planning permission issues or other hidden nasties could cause you problems.
- Land registry fee – This is paid to the land registry to transfer their register entry into your name. This fee’s dependent on how much your property is worth. Houses sold for between £100,001 and £200,000 will face a fee of £200, and those sold between £200,001 and £500,000 will need to pay £300.
One of the most important things to think about when looking for a new home is the location. If you’re buying in an area you are unfamiliar with, make sure you do your research and visit at different times of the day to make sure you feel comfortable. You also need to think about travelling to work, local schools and the cost of living in that area.
7. Ask the right questions
Before putting in an offer don’t be afraid of asking questions. Try to gather as much information on the property as you can. If they’ve had many viewings, what the seller’s situation is and how long the process might take. Second viewing is advisable, especially for first-time buyers. This gives you an opportunity to pick up on things you may have missed the first time.
For further information and to make that move with Peter Lane & Partners please give our friendly team a call today on 01480 414800.