In the current economic climate it is very tough for first-time home buyers hoping to get to the first rung of the property ladder.
As well as being the largest financial commitment that people ever make, there can be many pitfalls and problems that need handling with care. In the end, however, most people find that buying their home is the best thing they have ever done.
The first thing to consider is how much you can afford to pay and how much you can borrow. Mortgage lenders generally require first time buyers to provide a 10% deposit, and that is a huge amount of money for most people and generally a little help help is needed from generous parents.
In terms of how much you can borrow, mortgage lenders look at a number of factors before deciding whether and how much they are willing to lend to you. If you have anything but a perfect credit history, then you are going to find borrowing very difficult in the current climate. Assuming that have a good credit record and you are in full time employment, you can expect to be able to borrow up to four times your salary, or if you are a couple, four times your joint salary.
Of course you will need to find a home and there will be many formalities to complete before you and a man and a van can move in your possessions.
Once you have found a place that you like you will need to ensure that it is in a reasonable state of repair and that you are happy with the location and general neighbourhood. If you get the chance, say hello to the neighbours. You should find out what the council tax is and any ongoing costs such as ground rent or maintenance charges.
If you are happy, then you should make an offer and a rule of thumb is to offer around 6% to 8 % less than the asking price but be prepared to have your initial offer turned down. Be careful though; although the housing market is slow, the very best houses still sell very quickly, sometimes just days or even hours after appearing on the market.
You will need a valuation survey which will be organised by your mortgage provider before the mortgage can be confirmed, though you could opt for a more detailed homebuyer's survey which could indicate any obvious faults. If you are concerned about the condition of the house you could have a full building survey which will cost you around £1,000.
You will also need a surveyor to do the conveyance. You should get a number of quotations but typically you can expect to pay around £700 for this.
Once the conveyance has been completed you will need to sign the contract and contracts will be exchanged between you and the seller. At this stage you will need to pay a deposit, possibly between 5% and 10% of the agreed purchase price. A date will be agreed for completing the sale and this is the time to book a man with a van to help you move in.
On completion date all the remaining moneys are transferred to the seller and you take possession of the property.
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