The process of buying a house for first time buyers

property

by Alexander

For Generation Y and Millennials, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a foot on the housing ladder. Many young Britons scrimp and save for years until they have everything in place for a deposit to buy their own home. By reading our mortgage advise we hope to answer some of those questions you have and put your mind at ease.

For most of us, buying a home is a massive commitment and is an immense financial decision. You have worked hard for years, you now have your deposit and are ready to buy a house, but this Mortgage business is giving you a headache. Alexander have put together this guide to help relieve the stress:

What is a mortgage?

  • A mortgage is loan taken out to buy property or land.
  • They usually last for 25 years; however, they can be longer or shorter. E.g. If you want to increase your payments each month.
  • The loan Is secured against the value of your property until you can pay it off.
  • Think about costs – If you think you will struggle to make repayments on a certain property, then don’t gamble. Especially when you to take into account how much it actually costs owning a house; such as maintenance, bills and tax. So sit down, and work out your budget beforehand.
  • Banks and building society’s may refuse to offer you a mortgage if they don’t think you can make the repayments and demand proof you can make repayments if interest rates rise.

How do I get a mortgage?

Mortgage lenders are a vital step in buying a property. Each lender has their own selection of mortgage packages, and they’ll discuss the best option for you based on what you can afford.

There are two ways you can apply for mortgage:

  • You can go directly to the lenders; these include banks and building society’s. Banks such as Lloyds TSB offer mortgages designed for first time buyers.
  • As well as banks and building societies, mortgage brokers can also compare different mortgages that are available on the market, to find the perfect one for you, dealing directly with the lenders on your behalf.
  • Having advise from a broker or expert is always a good idea as they offer you advise, meaning you don’t have to do it alone. Mortgage brokers must tell you how much you will need to pay for their services

Top Tips when applying for a mortgage

  • Research the Market– Don’t take the first mortgage you are offered, always shop around, and if you are offered more than one mortgage, compare these rates carefully. It will give you an idea how much a particular home is worth.
  • Check out government schemes– The government is keen to encourage more people to buy their first home and has now launched its “Help to Buy “scheme. There are two parts to this scheme:- The first part requires you to only have a deposit of 5% (instead of the standard 10%) and the government will pay a further 20% giving you a healthier mortgage rate. You won’t pay any interest on this 20% for the first 5 years.- The second part of the scheme again only requires you to have a 5% deposit, but the government will provide a guarantee that covers up to a further 15% of the mortgage.
  • Stay in your current job
    Most lenders will want to see that you’ve been with your employer for a decent length of time before they’ll give you a mortgage.

Key questions to ask when applying

  1. – What mortgage would you recommend for me and why?
  2. – What different repayment methods are available?
  3. – What will the interest rate be, and when will this offer end?
  4. – What happens to my interest rate when this period ends?
  5. – What will my monthly repayments be during any promotional rate? And afterwards?
  6. – Are there penalties for repaying early?
  7. – Will I need to pay an arrangement fee – when and how much?
  8. – Do I have to buy your insurance?

What is my application based on?

  • Income – Lenders will look at your annual income. Some lenders may factor in rental income if you plan to rent out spare rooms. You will need a P60 form which you get every year from your employer and shows a summary of your pay and how much tax has been deducted.
  • Outstanding loans – If you have other loans, this may reduce the amount of money you can borrow or you may find it difficult to get a mortgage. Try and reduce any debt you have, it will show you that you can manage your money, and will mean your mortgage application is more likely to be accepted.
  • Outgoings – in addition to any loan repayments, lenders will look at any financial commitments you have.
  • Savings – This shows you have an ability to save and have built up enough money to pay for your deposit and other expenses.
  • Credit- This shows the repayments you have made on any loans you have. If you have missed repayments in the past, it may make it more difficult for you to get a mortgage. Before applying for a mortgage, get a copy of your credit report. If your credit isn’t in the best shape there are things you can do to improve it, such as closing down credit cards accounts which you no longer use.
  • The value of your house – this is the market value, or purchase price of your house.
  • The amount you need to borrow – this is the difference between the amount you have saved to put towards the house (your deposit), and the purchase price of the house.

Your deposit:

In the current mortgage market, a deposit of at least 5% of a property’s value is required for a mortgage. With a 5% deposit a lender would therefore lend you 95% of the property’s value. If you wanted to buy a £200,000 property you would need to save £10,000 and borrow £190,000.

  • The bigger the deposit the better– Lenders keep the best rates for those with bigger deposits, so you will benefit from lower monthly repayments because you qualify for a better deal.
  • Remember- Your savings don’t just cover your deposit, but also mortgage fees and stamp duties on properties that cost over £125,000

Estate Agents:

So now you have found your dream home, the next step is now making an offer. This is usually done through an estate agent. They deal with all the paperwork, communicate with your solicitor and negotiate with the buyers and sellers.

Tips for dealing with Estate Agents:

  • No fees– Because you are buying a property, there should be no estate agent fees
  • Regular contact– Keeping in regular contact with your estate agent is important as you will be the first number they dial when the perfect property arrives.
  • Keep a record– Make notes of all conversations you have, including date and times and who you spoke with. This is useful when looking at what has been agreed in the past.
  • Ask lots of questions– it is an estate agents duty to tell you the truth. Don’t be shy when asking plenty of questions, after all, you have been saving for years and you don’t want to be ripped off. Here are a couple of questions you should ask:-How long has the property been on the market?
    1. – How many times has it been sold in recent years?
    2. – Why are they selling?
    3. – What’s the minimum price they’ll accept?
    4. – Has the seller found somewhere else to buy/rent?
    5. – Has there been an offer accepted?
    6. – Has there been an offer previously? (if so, why is the property back on market)
  • Stay calm- Try not to reveal how much you love a property. This can help with negotiations.
  • Once you are happy with everything and you have had your offer accepted, you then need to make sure the estate agent takes the property immediately off the market and is no longer advertising it. This is really important as someone could trump you with a higher offer.
  • You should receive a letter from the estate agent confirming your offer.
  • If there are no problems or delays, then you should receive the contract to sign and complete the sale. However, go through it with your solicitor to make sure everything is in order. Make sure you are happy with what the sellers have agreed to leave in the property and that all your questions have been answered.

Hire a Solicitor and Surveyor

On average a solicitor cost between £500- £750, so remember to budget for one. They either charge through an hourly rate, a percentage of the property price or a fixed fee. It is always a good idea to get quotes from a few different firms. Also make sure that you also:

  • Ask your lender or mortgage broker for advice and if they can recommend a solicitor.
  • Ask friends who have been in the same boat as you if they can recommend a recently used solicitor.
  • Make sure they are a member of The Law Society of England and Wales/the Law Society of Scotland and a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing ( a legal term for transferring ownership of property) Quality Scheme.
  • Check if they have any holidays booked in the upcoming as they may be unavailable.
  • Figure out the best times to get in contact your solicitor.

Once you have found a property to buy, you will likely need a chartered surveyor to check the value and condition of the house. Your mortgage provider will conduct its own valuation of the property, but that is for their benefit, while a survey is for your benefit.

But a home is the most expensive purchase you will make. You will certainly benefit from expert advice on the true condition of your property. On average, homebuyers spend £5,750 on repairs once moved into their new home. This is often down to not getting a proper survey done. But different homes require different types of surveys. The most common two being:

  • Home condition survey – this is a basic survey and the cheapest. It shows the condition of the property, offers guidance to legal advisors and highlights any urgent defects.
  • Homebuyer’s report – this is a more detailed survey. It Includes all the features of the RICS Condition Report, plus a market valuation and insurance rebuild costs. It also includes advice on defects that may affect the value of the property with repairs, and ongoing maintenance advice.

Key questions to ask:

Are you qualified for the survey required?
-When can you carry out the work?
-How much will it cost me in total?
-Is the property in good condition and has it been well maintained?
– Is there any sign of subsidence?
– Is the insulation adequate and up to date?
-Are the roof, wiring and plumbing in good condition?
-Are there any signs of damp?
– Is the flooring level?
– Is there a possibility the property may contain contaminants such as asbestos?

Final Steps and moving in:

There is usually a four-week deadline between exchange of contracts and completion of the sale but both the buyer and seller can agree to a different timeframe. Once the sale is completed you will have to pay a number of charges:

  • The remaining money owed to buy the property is now transferred from your solicitor’s account to the seller’s solicitor’s account. Since some of the money comes from the mortgage provider there will be a Telegraphic Transfer Fee. Typical cost: £25-£50.
  • You’ll now need to pay your solicitor’s bill (minus the deposit and local searches if you’ve already paid them). Typical cost: £500-£1,500 plus 20% VAT.

Now all that is left for you to do is move in into your lovely new home. If you use a removal company, moving on a weekday is cheaper and it usually costs between £300- £600.