6 steps to help you become a first time buyer

Just a few months ago, the housing ladder was getting even harder to climb onto.

But interest rates may have stopped rising, and house prices are falling back. That bottom rung might just be in reach after all. 

At Continuum we are looking at how you could be a first-time buyer – with some help from our experts.

Is it a good time to buy?

House price inflation has been off the scale in recent years. But the factors that have put an end to the property boom might now work in your favour.

Big mortgages are no longer viable, the market has slowed, and sellers are more realistic.  

With buy-to-let landlords fleeing the market, there could be more affordable flats and houses to choose from in the coming months.

It all means that you might be able to buy that first home you want – if you let us provide you with one important asset and that is to follow our six-step guide.

1. Decide how much money you need

You’ll need money for a deposit, to pay stamp duty, and the tax on buying homes over £125,000 or, if you’re a first-time buyer, over £300,000.

Then there’s the valuation fee, house survey, a solicitor and removal company, as well as maintenance costs once you’ve moved in. Make a spreadsheet with all these fees plus your expected monthly and yearly ongoing costs, to figure out just what you can afford.

2. Save for a deposit

Typically, you’ll need a 10% deposit when buying a home. So, if you’re buying for £300,000, you’ll need a £30,000 deposit, which can seem a daunting prospect. 

But it is achievable. At Continuum we can help you discover ways to help you build the cash lump sum you need. 

3. Find the most appropriate mortgage – and get an offer in principle

There are various mortgages available. Fixed-rate, flexible, Interest-only – at Continuum we can help you see the solution that is appropriate for you.

Then we can help you apply for a mortgage in principle, or AIP. This is an indication of what the lender will lend you based on the details you provide about your income, spending habits and debts. 

It is only a piece of paper, and not a guarantee or a real offer – but it makes it much easier to negotiate with the seller. With the potential of money in hand, you can make offers that should be seriously considered.

4. Find your ideal home

You can look at sites like Rightmove to find a home, but you should probably still register with local estate agents. Registering is free and will increase your chances of being called before the property even makes it to the online listing – especially if you have the Offer in Principle to show them.Most online property websites have photography, video walk-throughs and street views, but it’s important to visit a property in the flesh, too. 

5. Make your offer

When you have found the home you want, it’s time to make your offer. 

In the current climate sellers must be prepared to take offers. Don’t be afraid to offer 5% or more less than the asking price, especially if the seller wants to move quickly.

This is where your Agreement in Principle will be a particularly powerful asset. It demonstrates that any offer you make can be backed by hard cash – and that it is worth doing business with you.

6. Let us help you through completion

Once you’ve had an offer on a property accepted, you will still need to formally apply for your mortgage. At Continuum we can help with the paperwork and speed up the entire process.

You will still need a survey, and a solicitor to arrange exchange of contracts. Completion usually takes place two weeks after exchange, but this can be sooner or even on the same day. On completion day, your solicitor or conveyancer will arrange for your money to be transferred to the seller’s solicitor. You can then collect the keys from the estate agent – and move in.

There is a lot to do when you buy your first home – but it could be a lot closer than you think with some expert help.

For the help you need, call us today.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable mortgage products, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. 

‘War on landlords’ continues as buy-to-let investors forced to make eco upgrades by 2028 (telegraph.co.uk)

UK house prices flatline in September as experts predict slowdown will create a ‘buyers’ market’

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