Churchill magazine

Things you should know when buying your first home

Updated on: 4 December 2020

First time buyer

Buying your first home is an exciting time with lots of decisions to make, and it's understandable if you feel overwhelmed with everything you need to do. To help you get started, we’ve come up with some helpful tips and advice that will prepare you for making your first offer.

Find the right mortgage for you

There are lots of different types of mortgages from a variable rate to fixed, to tracked and cashback, so you need to be comfortable with what's best for you and your financial situation. A dedicated mortgage adviser can help you to decide, just make sure you have your paperwork ready before you book an appointment.

If you want more affordable options, take a look at the range of help-to-buy government schemes.

Set a budget and stick to it

Once you have an offer in principle from your lender, you'll have a clearer picture of the type of property you can afford. Now's the perfect time to research and match what you want with your budget. 

Before you start booking viewings, you'll also need to consider additional costs such as solicitor fees, stamp duty, moving, maintenance, home insurance and council tax. If you can budget for all of this and stick within what you can afford, then you're on the right track.

Research property prices in the area

Ask estate agents to show you details and prices of similar properties that have sold recently in the area you're looking to buy. This will give you an idea if the asking prices are realistic or outside of your budget. Zoopla is a good place to start.

Pick your preferred location

It helps if you have a rough idea of where you want to live. Once you've decided, and if you a see a property you like, explore the local area to see how far away shops, transport links and any other essentials are. 

From an insurance point of view, it's also a good opportunity to check the flood risk in the area, as this could affect the cost of your premium. 

Know your must-haves and nice-to-haves

Think about what matters most to you and whether you're willing to compromise. For example, the number of rooms, how important is the location (school, work, public transport), outside space, off-road parking, garden to you? If you can get your must-haves down to three, then this will make your search easier. 

Get clued-up before you make an offer

If you’ve seen somewhere you really like, find out how long the property has been on the market for and how many offers they've had – this could give you a good indication if the vendor is willing to sell at a reduced price.

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