So, you’ve got your deposit, you have an idea of where you want to live, you’re ready to start looking and maybe, just maybe, buy somewhere. Here are our top tips:
1. Get out viewing
Go and see lots of places, as many as you can, looking on Rightmove is all well and good but until you walk through the door, you really won’t know.
2. Communicate with agents
This is naturally self serving but there is a clear and misunderstood benefit to you. Scenario a) you book a viewing, see the property and despite many calls/emails from the agents never speak to them again. Scenario b) you book a viewing, see the property and respond in a reasonable time with feedback and/or comment - You may not like the property you viewed, you may be busy, but what happens when the agent you have ignoring gets an amazing dream home quality property that they know is going to sell fast, who do you think they call first? Here’s a clue, it’s not the first scenario! Agents are people people, we like talking to you and tend to remember those that take the time to reciprocate. Be polite folks, it will benefit you!
3. Never make your best offer first
Most people naturally like to play the game at least a little, but you’re new to this, be reasonable with your first offer. Low balling by £50k is going to get you nowhere fast, but to win at this game, everyone involved needs to feel like they have done the same. Start slightly lower and work up.
4. Your first survey will scare the hell out of you
Unless you are a trained surveyor, builder or similar it is likely to look very scary but don’t panic! There might be a bit of damp, some suspected asbestos, cracked or damaged roof tiles, blown double glazing units, the list goes on. The reality is that most common things highlighted on a survey are in reality fairly easily fixed and won’t usually break the bank. Speak to your agent, speak to someone in the know that you trust, take your time and investigate rationally. Once you have got your advice and done your research, have another conversation with the agent, many first time buyers find something scary then think the worst and withdraw before even speaking to anyone. If the issue really is serious most people are often reasonable and further negotiations can take place. Remember folks, most properties in the UK are old...very old! So expect there to be a few issues and you won’t be shocked.
5. Pick a decent solicitor
Do not fall into the trap of going with a bargain basement conveyancing firm, pay a little bit more to go with a reputable and recommended firm. Not all agents work with decent firms, so do your research. Picking a good Solicitor will be one of the best decisions you can make, the process will be less stressful and move much faster. If the solicitor has a good relationship with the agent and you’re happy to use them, this will be beneficial.
6. Help to buy (HTB)
You can’t write an article about buying your first property without mentioning HTB. It’s a bit of a contentious issue in the industry but the long and the short is this: It’s better than renting. You will pay a premium, if you stay in it for a long time it will cost you a bit more money, it will likely not appreciate as much as a second hand property (if the market performs well of course) but.....it will get you on the housing ladder and you will get a lovely shiny new home that is probably much nicer than you could afford without. It’s your choice.
Don’t go to the bank direct. Go and see a well recommended and experienced mortgage broker. They will find the best deal for your circumstances and could save you thousands. They will also do all the legwork for you and often assist with the sales process too!