Advice for first time buyers


Ready to make your move? Finding your first home could be easier than you think.

Buying a home can be a daunting process, regardless of how many times you’ve bought, sold, and moved house. It can be even more intimidating for first time buyers. Finding your way around the maze of legal requirements, from stamp duty to organising your mortgage, often feels like very hard work. But, of course, once you’ve found the right property and sealed the deal, there’s nothing to quite match the thrill of getting the keys to your first home.

Are you ready to take the plunge and start hunting for your first home? We have put together a guide to make buying your first property as stress free as possible.

  1. Making your move

It is tempting to scour the ‘for sale’ pages and organise viewings straight away, but there’s little point until you know for sure what you can afford and what funding you can secure.

Take a close look at your monthly income and outgoings. Remember to factor in all the costs that come with buying a property – like legal fees – as well as the monthly running costs such as fuel and water bills, emergency repairs and furnishings.

Secure your mortgage before you start your search, so you know just what your purchasing power really is.

  1. Getting help

There are various ‘Help to Buy’ schemes which can help you get your purchase off the ground. Indeed, the UK Government’s Help to Buy schemes have helped more than 350,000 people buy their own home.

Many have taken advantage of the Help to Buy ISA – more than 1.1 million have been opened since the scheme was launched. Under this scheme, for every £200 you save in your Help to Buy ISA, the government will apply a boost of 25 percent – or £50. The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3,000.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme offers buyers up to 20 percent of a newly built home’s cost, so they only have to provide a five percent cash deposit and a 75 percent mortgage to make up the rest. Plus, you won’t be charged loan fees on the 20 percent loan for the first five years.

  1. Sharing the load

Some first time buyers find shared ownership schemes particularly useful. They enable buyers to purchase between 25 percent and 75 percent of a property, and pay rent on the remaining share.

  1. Understanding stamp duty

First time buyers are often unsure of just what stamp duty is and how it might affect them. The good news is that the government has abolished stamp duty altogether for first time buyer purchases of up to £300,000.

First time buyers paying between £300,000 and £500,000 will pay five percent stamp duty on the amount the purchase price exceeds £300,000, and full stamp duty – from eight percent upwards – on properties over £500,000.

  1. Engage the experts

Whichever route you choose, you’ll need a solicitor to help with the legal aspects – it makes sense to find one at the start of your search. We offer a fixed fee for our conveyancing work, which means no nasty surprises.

You may come across estate agents who try to encourage you to sign up for their recommended solicitor. However, don’t be tempted to just sign with anyone as it can pay to shop around.

  1. Ready to move

Once you’ve found the perfect property, your solicitors will engage with the seller’s estate agents and solicitors to work through the legal aspects of the deal. You may also need to engage a surveyor to check there are no underlying issues with the property.

  1. On your way

While you’re organising packing, removal vans and checking out utility firms to supply your gas, electricity, phone and broadband, your solicitor will be working with the seller’s solicitors to ensure all is in place for the agreed date. Remember, nothing is definite until contracts are exchanged.

How can we assist?

You can obtain a quote via our online fee calculator, or call our offices on 0114 281 3636 to speak with one of our team.

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