Things to Know Before Buying Your First Home

Things to Know Before Buying Your First Home

It can be an exciting experience to buy your first home, but it can also be an intimidating one too. It’s a long journey that can entail a lot of compromises.

Although it can be stressful, there are some considerations that can help to reduce this. We recommend using services such as our charted surveyors in Cornwall to lower the risk of committing to a poor investment.

We hope you will utilise our advice and ideas from this article to help endorse the excitement of buying your first home.

Moving Costs

To prevent you from being caught off guard, it’s worth noting that there will be a number of costs involved with moving. It’s best to acknowledge these early on to allow you some time to plan for their inevitable arrival.

These can include survey costs, solicitor’s fees, removal costs, buildings insurance, mortgage arrangement and valuation fees, stamp duty and, where required, initial furnishing and decorating costs.

It’s always a good idea to have a plan and establish a budget when buying a property. The major initial fees can quickly add up, so it’s important to incorporate these into your plan as well as have some set aside for the unexpected.

The government has set up schemes for first time buyers which may be of use to you during your first time purchasing a property. It’s always worth having a look into what your available options are.

Wooden model house with coins


The first step in buying your first house involves saving for a mortgage. You’ll need to build up at least 5% of the price of the property. But it is recommended you to save around 10-20%.

If you hold off on committing to a mortgage to allow you some time to save a little extra, you will be able to apply for mortgage deals with lower interests.

It’s best to pay your mortgage fees upfront before they start to develop interest. These fees can include a booking fee, an arrangement fee and a mortgage valuation fee.

Types of Mortgages

There are different types of mortgages for various circumstances. It’s important to consider the interest rate, the fees and any additional charges when considering which mortgage is most suitable to your situation.

How Much You Can Borrow

The amount of money the mortgage provider will lend you will depend on a few factors. These factors include:

  • The size of your deposit
  • Your credit score
  • Your income

View of a map on a laptop

Search For Properties

Explore the town and neighbourhood, if you can. Alternatively, if you don’t live in the area, you should spend a night or two there to get a feel for the location and the general atmosphere.

A good outline of factors to focus on are :

  • If there are any good schools
  • Transport links
  • Local infrastructure plans
  • Flood zones
  • Any planned property development
  • Crime levels

Pay attention to the length of time other properties in your price range, and in the area, stay on the market. You’ll be able to spot if there are any shifts in the asking price.

An estate agent’s desk

Estate Agents

A great and free way to help you find your first home is to register with the local estate agents. You only need to pay for an estate agent when you are selling a property.

Viewing Properties

Although it’s incredibly convenient to view properties from the comfort of your own home online, you should ensure that you also view the property in person. This will give you a greater understanding of the property.

It’s worth viewing the home at different times of the day to give you a better understanding of any potential issues.

You should keep an eye out for issues that include:

  • The condition of roof
  • Any foundational damage
  • Flooding potential
  • Mould
  • Weathering
  • Water damage
  • Insulation

To make this easier and gain an expert opinion, it’s highly recommended to get a property survey to assess the condition of the house. Make sure to do this before you pay the deposit.

At Martin Perry Associates, we can provide chartered surveyors to assist valuing the property and examining any potential structural defects.

Making an Offer

Make sure you’ve applied for a mortgage beforehand and have an Agreement in Principle, otherwise known as a mortgage promise.

This will provide confirmation to the seller you can secure the amount of money required to purchase the house.

When making an offer it’s not unusual to offer less than the asking price, avoid making an offer too low, as this can result in an immediate refusal and further negotiations could be avoided by the seller.

Your estate agent should help to guide you through negotiating a reasonable and accurate price. They will have more experience and understanding of the housing market.

You can look at other houses in the area and similar properties recently sold to gauge how much the property is worth.

Make sure to mention points such as being a first-time buyer- meaning you are chain-free. As well as that your offer is subject to a survey and the property being taken off the market, this will help to secure the agreement if accepted.

Applying For a Mortgage

You should spend time considering the type of mortgage you want to apply for. It would help if you had a rough idea due to your initial research and budget planning.

Solicitor checking documents

Conveyancers and Property Solicitors

Once the offer has been accepted, the conveyancing will take place. This is when contracts are searched, drawn up and checked. The Land Registry and the payment of any stamp duty are also organised.

You can choose between a solicitor and conveyancer for this. A conveyancer is specialised in property, but they might not be a qualified solicitor.

Property Survey

Although optional, it is highly recommended to get an expert to assess the building and identify any impending or current problems. This may also enable you to negotiate the price down, or request the seller to fix any issues.

It is better to be made aware of these factors as it will allow you to make an informed decision on how much to offer. You also have the opportunity to amend your budget plan for any repair work that could be required.

A survey conducted by your mortgage lender and a house survey are two different things, so do not confuse the two. You should always opt for an independent assessment.

Home Insurance

Most mortgage providers will endorse having home insurance as a condition for lending the money. Although in some cases optional, it is considered fundamental to have home insurance from the day of the exchange.

Exchange Contracts

Once you have exchanged contracts, you are legally bound to the property. This will commence when the legal representatives of the two parties swap the signed contracts and the buyer pays the deposit.

Before this, you will need to organise and prepare a written mortgage offer, agreed on a completion date and the home insurance should be set for the day of exchange.

Your conveyancer or solicitor will be able to lodge an interest in the property; this will allow you to pay the seller. An application will be sent to the land registry, and the deeds will be transferred to your name.

After two weeks from the day of the exchange, the sale will be complete. You will be able to collect your keys and move in!

A couple surrounded by boxes in new their home

We hope this article has simplified and relieved the stress of your first move. If you’re in need of chartered surveyors Martin Perry Associates offer a range of services that can help you buy a house as well as create a home.

For our expert chartered surveyors of property guidance, get in touch to see how we can help you today.

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