First Time Buyer: Part 1

Q. I am a first time buyer and completely green when it comes to buying a property having never done so before. I have no idea what to do first to get started. I have had a look on line at some of the major properties portals to get an idea of availability but really have no idea what to do first to get the ball rolling, shall I just book some appointments and go from there?

A. Buying a property is a really exciting time, especially if it happens to be you’re first purchase. Being a first time buyer has plenty of benefits but it also comes with some gullibility too if you have never dabbled in the property market before. My best advice is to look up a friend, family member or colleague that you trust who has already been through the process and recently where possible. They will be a mine of information and give you both good and bad advice – people that they would recommend – Agents/Solicitors and financial advisors for a starter. Using someone recommended is always the best solution if possible. First things first, no matter how tempting it is to go and view properties always sort the financial side of things out first. How will you know how much you can spend otherwise? A financial advisor is the best port of call, some go to their bank as they have history there which can be useful for those of you that are self-employed but I would always recommend an independant financial advisor where possible as they are not tied to one particular lender and are able to go to all the high street lenders – therefore offering you the best possible product and rates. You will of course need a deposit of at least 10% minimum so make sure this is already in place. You will also need to have some other savings to cover your solicitor’s fees for the conveyancing, funds to pay for the survey and also not forgetting the stamp duty. Stamp Duty is 1% of the purchase price up to £250,000, 3% from £250,000 to £500,000 and 4% on properties worth £500,000 and above. Once your financial advisor has issued you with an AIP (Agreement in Principle) or mortgage promise then it’s time to make a wish list of your requirements for your new home. List them from 1 to 10 and prioritise them in order. This will help you to have a clearer idea about what you are actually looking for and help you to eliminate some properties that simply wouldn’t be suitable. Now you are ready to start the hunt. Begin by registering with the local agents in the area you want to buy in, do this face to face if possible, that way you can establish a relationship with the agent and let him know how serious you are about buying. At the same time sign up to the property alerts on the main portals like Rightmove, Find a Property and Prime location, this will ensure that every time a new property hits the market in your price range you will receive and email. In Part 2 next week we will discuss the next stage of your hunt – starting to view!