Buying your first home is an exciting time. But with so many decisions to make, it's understandable to feel a little overwhelmed. 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 available - 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 certainly help you to decide - you just need to 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 is 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 see a property you like, explore the local area to see how far away shops, transport links and any other essentials are.
It's also a good opportunity to check the flood risk in the area, as this could affect the cost of your insurance.
Know your must-haves and nice-to-haves
Think about what matters to you most and whether you're willing to compromise. Perhaps the number of rooms is important to you, or having off-road parking and outdoor space, or maybe living in a location close to school or work. If you can get your must-haves down to three, it 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.