First Time Buyer

Providing individual mortgage advice; unique to you

Buying your first home can be a daunting prospect. The vast array of mortgage products available, from a wide range of sources, can leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. Here are our 10 top tips for success.

  • Be realistic about exactly how much you can afford to spend on your new house. You should ensure the intended mortgage is affordable (by doing a budget calculation). Even a newly built house will require some furnishings, whereas older properties may require extensive work such as re-flooring, tiling or renewing the wiring. Make sure that you factor in all of these likely expenses on top of the purchase price, and remember other fees such as conveyancing and stamp duty.

  • When buying for the first time, lack of experience may lead you to miss small but important details in the houses you visit. Always take an experienced home buyer such as one of your parents or a home-owning friend, when viewing a property. If this is difficult to arrange, at least get some assistance when you have selected a property you like and you are planning a second viewing.

  • If you have been used to living at home with your parents, remember that you will now have to budget for regular expenses such as council tax, gas and electricity bills, boiler servicing and other home repairs.

  • Check the likely council tax charge for your new property. The selling agent should be able to tell you what tax band the house you are interested in buying is in, and how the charges are levied by your local authority.

  • Even if you do not have children, remember that a property in the catchment area of a good local school will always be much easier to sell. However, this may also be reflected in a higher purchase price.

  • Consider how your transport costs will change with your new house. A car insurance premium may dramatically increase with a move from a town with relatively little crime, into a city centre with higher crime rates. The same can apply if you move from a home with a locked garage to a smaller terraced house that has on-street parking.

  • Consider the availability of public transport services. Find out about local bus routes, the frequency of train services from your nearest station and - if you are moving a long distance - the range of flights available from your local airport. You may drive everywhere, but this information could be useful for anyone coming to visit.

  • Write down a list of local amenities which are important to you. This may include shops, restaurants, pubs, sports centres, parks, and cinemas. If you enjoy activities such as walking or cycling, the right neighbourhood may be very different to the one your parents are living in, and you may not have the same access to parks and recreational venues. Before making a final decision about where to move, take a stroll or bike ride around the local area and note down where the key facilities are.

  • If you are a heavy internet user, check to see that a broadband or other high speed internet signal is available in the street. The selling agent should be able to help you with this.

  • Try, where possible, to find somewhere to live that is close to your main place of work. Commuting can be a substantial household expense and working somewhere nearby minimises your commuting distance and cost. If property near your place of work is more expensive, make sure that you weigh this up against the costs and time spent commuting. You may wish to ask colleagues in your workplace and see if there are possibilities for a lift share with someone who also lives in the area.


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