How to take your first steps on to the property ladder

Close up happy young woman hugging man, holding keys

With the government’s recent budget announcement of the new 5% mortgage scheme starting this April, now could be the best time for first time buyers to get onto the property ladder.

Getting your finances sorted and securing your deposit is just one of the steps you need to consider when searching for, and buying, your first home. Luckily s1homes are property experts and have a guide of all the top tips you need to know when buying your first home.

Sort your savings

If you’ve already been saving for a while, with the new 5% mortgage scheme you may find that you don’t need to save as much anymore, or you could actually set some of this aside now for home improvements. If you can afford to keep saving whilst you search for your home, the more freedom you may have when it comes to buying furnishings, getting work done or even banking some of the cash for a rainy day.

If you’re just starting to put aside savings for your first home then there are some simple things you can do to help get your finances in order. If you’re currently renting or paying out other bills such as loans, car finance etc, work out how much spare cash you’ve got left over each month and consider setting up payments to go straight from your current account into a savings account, to avoid the temptation to spend the cash. Try cutting down on luxuries or reducing your outgoings for non-essentials – it’s amazing how much you can save by deleting the Just Eat app and forgoing some retail therapy for a few months.

You could also consider boosting your initial savings pot with a Help to Buy Isa or a Lifetime Isa, which come with bonuses.

Show you’re responsible

Building up a good credit history and showing you’re responsible with money will be important when it comes to taking out a mortgage deal. Get on top of your finances now, and make sure you’re diligent when it comes to making payments for any loans or credit you currently have. If you can, start paying outstanding debt off to lower your outgoings or see how you can consolidate any debt by looking at deals on balance transfers for credit cards. And remember, not having any credit history can be a hindrance too, so even taking out a small amount on a credit card to build up your history could help in the long run.

Have a property checklist

It’s good to start off with a list of desirable features for your new property, whether that’s location, style, number of bedrooms and outdoor space. This will be a good starting point for you, and you can use these criteria to set up property alerts with s1homes. But you should also be prepared to compromise. This could make all the difference when it comes to buying your first home. Even if your first home isn’t your dream home, at least it could be a step towards it.

Get to know your local estate agents

Even if you aren’t quite ready to buy yet, it could be worth chatting to estate agents in the area to find out what’s available. A good relationship with your local estate agent could also help to keep you informed if your ideal home comes up.

Choose your mortgage wisely

Navigating the mortgage maze can seem quite daunting if you’ve never done it before. When choosing a mortgage, it’s important to bear in mind the overall cost of the deal, not just the interest rate. Think about how long you are taking your mortgage on for, and the age you will be when it will be paid off. Most lenders won’t recommend you going past the expected retirement age but consider what age you want to be still paying a mortgage at. Could you afford to pay a little bit more right now? Like anything, it pays to shop around, so speak to a few mortgage lenders to find the best deal. You may also find that some estate agents have partnerships with lenders and also legal services so you could potentially get a great deal altogether.

Do your research

If you find a property you are interested in and it’s time to make a potential offer, it’s always advisable to do some research on other property prices in that area that are similar to the property you are interested in. This could help give you a starter offer and something to negotiate.

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