Resources for first-time buyers

Getting on the property ladder for the first time can be a daunting aspiration, with both financial and logistical challenges getting in the way of owning your own home. However, if you have the time to sit down and properly research the process of buying a home, then there are a wealth of resources and tools at your disposal.

We look at the different steps you need to consider when buying a home and point you in the direction of which resources might be useful.

Preparing to buy a home

When starting out the two key things to think about are the size of the deposit you will have available, and what criteria will determine where you live and what sort of property you buy. It can be tricky to judge what size deposit you need, although obviously the more money you have the better, as it will mean borrowing less. ‘Which? Mortgage Advisers’ has some information for first time buyers on how to calculate a deposit and have also created a short video on the subject.

If you haven’t already been saving for a deposit, or you’ve realised that you don’t have enough, you may need to go back a step and think about how you can budget to start achieving this goal. Money Saving Expert is a great place to start, as they offer practical advice on creating a budget and also money saving tips that might make your cash stretch further.

There are various schemes offered by the government to help first time buyers get on the property ladder, you can read about them on their dedicated Help to Buy website. This includes information on the Help to Buy ISA and mortgage guarantees. Each of these schemes has their strengths and weaknesses, so you should also read up on which might be right for you.

Finding a house or flat to buy is always a challenge, whether it’s your first time or you’ve been on the property ladder for years. The HomeOwners Alliance offer lots of free impartial advice on their website, including how to choose what area to live in and what to consider when viewing a property. You can also pick up some top tips from the Telegraph on finding the right property, with advice from TV property experts like Kevin McCloud.

Information on getting a mortgage

There are many different types of mortgage on the market, with different ways of paying them back. So, before you even think about the application process itself, it’s good to know a bit more about what mortgage might suitable for you. MoneySupermarket has an article that introduces the key types of mortgage – tracker, fixed and discount. You can also use this mortgage cost tool from the Money Advice Service, to get an idea of how much your repayments might be.

Once you know a bit more about the types of mortgage available you can start to look at what offers are out there, or alternatively you can use a mortgage broker who will work on your behalf to find the right deal. Mortgage applications can be a lengthy process, with various stages that are dependent on different factors, you can read more about the different steps in this article.

Once you’ve applied for a mortgage there is still a chance that your application will be rejected. One factor that determines your chances of a successful mortgage application is the state of your credit report, which lenders will use to learn more about your credit history. You can find out more about your credit report on the Equifax website, and possibly find any issues that need your attention.

Moving in to your new home

Once you’ve found a house and arranged a mortgage, then comes the fun part – actually moving into your new home. There’s still some planning to do, before and after you move in, for example, this checklist from the HomeOwners Alliance helps make moving day a little bit smoother. The BBC also has an article that runs through the whole process of buying a home for the first time, from house hunting to exchanging contracts.

When budgeting for your new house, you’ll also want to take into account how much you will need to spend on repairs and renovations, as well as how much the mortgage repayments will be. Unless it’s a brand new property, it will likely require some work, and some houses may even need total renovation. This Moneywise article will give you some information on how to estimate the cost of work that needs to be done and how to go about making them a reality.

If you’ve found the above information useful, you might also want to check out Equifax’s Homebuyers Handbook, a free downloadable e-book, which goes into even greater detail about the different steps involved in buying a home.

If you are thinking about applying for a mortgage and want to know more about your credit history, you can get online access to your credit report with your Equifax Credit Report & Score, which is free for 30 days and £14.95 a month thereafter.


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