Moving Home: A First Time Buyer's Guide
Moving home is more stressful than a divorce or starting a new job, according to a recent survey of adults in the UK. Saving for a deposit, finding the best mortgage rates and working with a solicitor can all cause some serious stress. It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re taking your first step on the property ladder, here’s a first time buyers guide that will simplify the process, providing you with some much-needed peace of mind.
1. Get Your Finances Sorted
Ask yourself if now’s the right time to buy a property. If you’re unsure, get some financial advice from your bank or a financial advisor so you know the kind of property you can afford. It might make more financial sense to wait a year or two before you plan your big move.
Many people struggle with mortgage payments and financing a move, so you’ll need to be sure you’re doing the right thing. If in doubt, get some advice.
2. Compare Mortgage Rates Online
Mortgage rates can vary considerably depending on the lender, so using a price comparison website can be a great place to start. Here, you’ll find the latest mortgage products from mainstream banks as well as lenders you might not have heard about before, saving you a lot of time. You won’t have to visit the websites of individual quotes and can find information all in one place.
Once you’ve found three or four lenders you’re interested in, contact them directly to ask for a full quote and find out their terms and conditions. A fixed-rate mortgage might be your best bend depending on your circumstances. However, a financial advisor can help you if you’re stuck.
3. Use a Mortgage Broker
Making multiple applications for a mortgage (and being turned down by a lender) can impact your credit rating, making it difficult to obtain finance. If you’re unsure about the best financial products based on your financial standing, seek advice from a mortgage broker, who will be able to provide you with the latest deals.
You will have to pay a fee for this service (usually around £500) but it could pay off in the long run. A broker will match you to a mortgage you can afford and might help you with your application. Some mortgage brokers specialise in mortgages for first-time buyers, too.
4. Start Searching for Properties
Once you’ve sorted out your finances, you’ll want to start searching for property. Usually, first-time buyers will have to compromise on either the property itself or its location.
When searching for a home, ask yourself the following questions: do you need to be close to your work or can you commute? Do you want to live close to the city centre or in the suburbs? What type of property features are you interested in? Are you looking for a period home or a new build?
Answering these questions will guide you with your property search.
5. Contact an Estate Agent
You need an estate agent to help you find a property. These professionals will ask you what type of property you are looking for and find the best homes that suit your lifestyle and budget.
You’ll be able to receive alerts by mobile phone or email when new properties go on the market, and can ask for advice from an estate agent about the best areas to relocate to. You can find the latest properties on the market in real time on a real estate’s website, where you can filter listings based on factors such as location, price and number of rooms.
Not all estate agents are the same. You’ll want to choose a company that knows an area well, provides excellent customers service and helps you move into your new home.
6. Arrange Viewings
Estate agents will arrange viewings for you so you can see a property in person. You can ask the estate agent questions about the home and the area so you get a better idea of the property and its location.
Property searching can sometimes be a long and laborious process, but if you’re clear with your estate agent about the type of home you’re looking for and what you can afford, you should be able to find a house in a quicker time frame.
7. Put in An Offer
Found a property you’re interested in? Put in an offer! You’ll often receive a speedy reply from the seller about whether your offer has been accepted or not. Your estate agent acts as the “middleman” between you and the seller and will keep you informed during the process.
8. Find a Solicitor
Search online for a good solicitor and forward his or her details to your estate agent once your offer has been accepted. Your estate agent will take care of the rest. Next, you’ll need to arrange a survey of the home you plan to move into with your mortgage provider.
A surveyor will check for, among other things, structural damage, and you’ll receive a report when the process is done.
9. Pay your Deposit and Exchange Contracts
When your offer has been accepted, you’ll need to pay your deposit and carry out all the relevant paperwork (your solicitor will help you do this). Once you’re done, you’ll need to exchange contacts (this usually happens close to when you’re due to move into your property).
10. Arrange Removals
It’s best to contact a removals firm as soon as you have a moving-in date. Leave it too long and you could end up paying more. Just like when searching for an estate agent or solicitor, you’ll need to do your research when finding a removals company. Choose a firm that provides excellent customer service and one that moves your belongings safely and securely.
Some first-time buyers move into their new home only to find their belongings have become damaged or broken during the transportation process. Choosing a reliable removals company can prevent this from happening.
11. Collect your Keys
Once everything has been finalised, you’re ready to move into your new home. You can pick up your keys for your new home from your solicitor or estate agent. Good luck!