Buying your first property is one of the most important and exciting things you'll ever do, so take a look at these top tips to see how to get those keys in your hand with minimum fuss.
1. Explore your options
Help to Buy, shared ownership, key worker schemes and auctions are all options if you're buying for the first time. Take your time to consider which is the most suitable for your situation and finances - this will help you avoid a costly mistake.
2. Know your stuff
When browsing properties, take the opportunity to ask questions and learn as much as you can. The more you pick up early on about rates, property types and locations, the less pressure you'll face later when making a decision.
3. Consider the seller
We all want to get the best price, but remember that 'playing hard ball' can increase your risk of losing out to another buyer. Open, honest communication is the best way to find an effective solution for everyone involved.
4. It pays to put down
It's possible to get a mortgage with a 5% deposit, but most buyers put down 10-15%, and the best deals can often be found with a deposit of 25-40%. If you're struggling to get started, use Money Dashboard's free money management software to help you plan how to hit your savings targets.
5. Research your mortgage thoroughly
A mortgage is about more than just how big your deposit is. Think hard about whether to opt for a fixed rate deal or variable terms, and check whether you'll have the flexibility to pay off a lump sum if your finances improve in the future. Extras like cashback and valuations can also help, so make sure you're getting the best deal available.
6. Factor in fees
Mortgages come with booking, arrangement and valuation fees, whilst surveys, solicitors, and stamp duty all add-up too. Use Money Dashboard to tot it up as you go along, and you'll hit the ground running when the repayment plan starts.
7. Don't be afraid to get advice
Don't be shy to ask for help if you're unsure about any part of the process. There are plenty of independent advisers who specialise in providing assistance for first-time buyers, and will have heard all of your questions before.
8. Surveys are crucial
A full survey isn't just a boring formality, it's a critical part of protecting your investment. If problems show up, it's not a frustrating hurdle, but more of a lucky escape, and maybe even a chance to return to the negotiating table.
9. Don't try to rush things
If you feel like the process is taking too long, try not to get impatient. Buying a home can take up to six months, and the most important thing is protecting your investment and making sure nobody comes out of the deal unhappy.
10. Keep a rainy day fund
It doesn't need to be much, but once you're in the property you'll be glad of a little extra cash to splash out on a quick coat of paint, or a few flowers to start turning your prime real estate investment into a happy home.
Posted by Marc Murphy, Marketing Manager at Money Dashboard.