How to buy a house
Buying your first home can feel both exciting and a little bit overwhelming, but if you take one step at a time, you’ll find things aren’t as scary as they seem.
Find out what you can afford
There’s nothing wrong with looking at a six-bedroom house with its own pool, walk-in wardrobe and ensuite bathroom. However, before you start dreaming about the pool parties you’re going to have, you’ll need to figure out your affordability.
It used to be a general rule of thumb that you were able to borrow around four times as much as your gross income. However, lenders have now introduced a stress testing method to evaluate your whole financial circumstance. If you want an accurate idea of your affordability, it may be worth speaking to a mortgage adviser who’ll crunch your numbers and work out how much you’ll be able to borrow and how much you’ll need to save.
Save, save, save!
It’s a difficult bridge to cross, but you’ll need to start being a bit savvy and stricter with your spending so you can start to build up a big enough deposit.
The minimum deposit you’ll need is 5% of the overall price of the house, so if you were buying a £200,000 house, you’d need to save £10,000. However, it’s better to save as much deposit as you can as this can open the doors to better mortgage rates. Watch our videos where we share the best way for you to save for your first home.
Find your home
When looking for your perfect home it’s important that you think about what factors are most important to you. For example, is it the house itself, the location or having three bedrooms?
With online estate agency websites, it’s easier than ever to browse in your price range, location and save your favourites into your own account. However, it’s important when you’re looking to keep an open mind and be prepared to budge on a few of your ideals, as houses can look very different in person to how they look online.
Agreement in Principle
Once you’ve found a few houses you like, it’s important you get your Agreement in Principle (also known as Decision in Principle) before you start house viewings. Buying your first home is a lengthy process and it can feel disheartening if you lose the house you love because you aren’t able to put an offer in quick enough. Luckily, we know an adviser or two who you can help if you need it.
We don’t want to be the ones to break it to you, but while the house viewing stage may seem like the most exciting step of buying a house, it’s arguably one of the hardest stages.
It’s easy to let your emotions run away with you and fall in love with the way someone has decorated their home and staged it, rather than thinking about the practicalities. Try to remember what really matters when viewing houses, such as the amount of space the house offers and the location.
Put in an offer
Once you’ve found your dream home, it’s time to put an offer in. You’ll need to ring up the estate agent to let them know you want the house and how much you’re willing to pay.
Don’t be afraid to try and negotiate a lower price - remember it's better to start on a lower offer and work your way up, as long as you stick to what you can afford.
Apply for your mortgage
If the vendor accepts your offer, the estate agent will send over your confirmation letter and you can formally apply for your mortgage.
If you want to make the mortgage process hassle-free, or you’re worried about your circumstances affecting the likelihood of your application being approved, you may want to get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help you.
Surveys and conveyancing
After you’ve applied for your mortgage and the vendor has accepted your offer, the solicitors, valuations and conveyancing can start to happen.
Your mortgage lender will send out a surveyor of their choice to find out the value of the house. But you’ll need to find your own solicitor or conveyancer, whether it’s through a recommendation or one you find online. Your solicitor will act as an intermediary between you, your lender and the seller of the property, so be sure to check their level of experience to ensure things run smoothly.
You'll also need to ensure you take out buildings insurance after the lender’s surveyor has surveyed the house, as all lenders require this before the final stage of completing your mortgage.
The final hurdle
By this point, both you, your solicitors, your lender and the seller should be happy with the contract, price and the results of the surveys and are all ready to sign.
You’ll then need to consider what insurances you’ll need to apply for. For example, contents insurance or possibly life insurance to protect yourself in case of unexpected events.
You’re ready to move!
It’s time to pack up and move into your first house, the house you actually own - congratulations, you did it!
If you have any further questions about the house buying process, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team of mortgage advisers can offer their support and guidance to you throughout the whole mortgage process.
Because we play by the book we want to tell you that…
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances.
The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.