Avoiding the first-time buyer fear

estate agent welcoming a couple to house viewing

We’ve all had ‘the fear’ at least once in our lives, whether it’s the morning after a heavy night out or logging into our work emails after a long holiday. But the fear can also hit us at big, important times and buying a home for the first time is one occasion that warrants a few worries.

From choosing where to live, saving up the deposit and finally leaving the comfort of home, it’s only natural to feel a bit anxious about your move. But taking your first step on to the property ladder should be an exciting one, and at s1homes we want to ensure that even with a little fear, your overall buying experience is a good one.

So, we’ve got some helpful advice on how to tackle your first-time buyer fear and help you prepare for your new chapter.

Get your ducks, and bucks, in a row

When it comes to buying your first home, it’s no doubt a decision that has been brewing for a while, so hopefully, you’ve already been squirrelling some savings away. Unfortunately, these days with property prices at an all time high, you might find that you need to save a lot more than originally planned. According to recent figures from the Bank of Scotland, the average deposit required for a first-time buyer in 2021 was £35,000 – a substantial amount for anyone which can take years to save.

Sadly, the Help to Buy scheme in Scotland ended in February this year but there are still some other funding schemes in place to help those in Scotland looking to buy their first home. For example, The First Home Fund is a shared equity pilot scheme that aims to provide first-time buyers with up to £25,000 to help them buy a property, whether it’s a new build or an existing property. There is also the Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) that was launched in 2007 and features two schemes, one aimed at the open market and the other for new build homes. To date it has helped over 12,000 Scots buy their first home. You can find more information about both LIFT and the First Home Fund at www.gov.scot/policies/homeowners.

However you choose to fund your deposit, the important part is to get a handle on your finances, especially when it comes to applying for your mortgage. Having a good credit score and knowing your incomings and outgoings is essential when you meet with your mortgage advisor and discuss your affordability options. Knowing how much you can borrow means you can start refining your property search to ones that are within your price range. You don’t want to fall in love with a home and realise it’s out of your budget.

Be realistic about what you can afford

For your first home it’s important that you don’t overextend yourself financially. Remember that it’s not just the monthly mortgage payment you need to worry about, it’s all the other outgoings and bills too. If you’re renting at the moment, you might have an idea of existing bills that will follow you to your new home, such as energy bills, council tax and insurance. If you’re still living at home however, your outgoings may be small and therefore you’ll need to prepare yourself for the full cost of being a homeowner. The best thing to do is write down a list of all the expected bills associated with a home and get some cost estimates. Ask friends and family that have properties how much they pay – you would rather plan to pay more, than less.

Factor in outgoings that aren’t related to your home, such as your work travel costs, buying food, your car, socialising and anything else you can think of. Also remember to include spend if you’re planning to redecorate or renovate the home too.

Search for hidden horrors

When viewing properties, the home report is your friend when it comes to discovering hidden horrors in the home. The home report provides information about the condition and value of the property and is a legal requirement for anyone selling their home in Scotland and must be made available to any prospective buyer. It includes a Single Survey detailing the condition and value, an Energy Performance Certificate and a Property Questionnaire filled out by the owner which contains valuable information such as the council tax band, parking facilities and more.

Of course, if anything has been flagged and you want more information, especially for older properties, you can have your own independent survey carried out, but this will be at your own expense. For example, if the home report flags an issue with damp or mould, to gather the full extent of the issue you can have your own damp survey carried out.

Trust the experts

Whether it’s choosing your mortgage provider, solicitor or estate agent, ensure that you seek out the best advice from trusted people. Get recommendations from friends and family and use review sites online before signing on the dotted line. Estate agents often have partnerships with solicitors and mortgage providers and will have great relationships already established. Although, for your mortgage, a great first port of call would be your current bank as they might have the best deal for you.

And of course, when it comes to searching for the best properties in Scotland, trust s1homes, Scotland’s home for homes. Search thousands of top properties from trusted estate agents and get the best buying advice too. Find your first home at s1homes.com.

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