Real Estate

Six tips for first-time buyers

Starting the journey to home ownership is exciting and daunting. It’s the single biggest purchase most of us will make and moving is one of the most stressful life events, so there’s all kinds of pressure. However, with a few simple tips, we can help you navigate the process.

Get your mortgage sorted

Having a mortgage offer ready to go can put you in a strong position as a buyer, so get it sorted as quickly as you can. Your estate agent will want to see your mortgage offer in principle plus the source of the funds needed to cover your other costs.

You’ll need to be upfront abou


t the source of these funds, so you can satisfy anti-money laundering regulations.

Get a survey

You wouldn’t buy a second hand car without seeing what’s under the bonnet, so don’t buy a house without a survey. Saving money upfront may cost you dearly in the long run if you discover problems once you’ve completed. The surveyor can also provide you with various certificates you might need to build new things on your home. An elevation certificate might be useful for you depending on where you live and your overall elevation.

Appoint a conveyancer or solicitor

As soon as your offer is accepted, you need to get moving on the conveyancing process. This can vary depending on how you buy your property, for example at auction (, but engaging a specialist will help you navigate the system more easily.

Always get a like for like quote and ask for a full breakdown of any quotes you receive. As of 2018, all conveyancers are required to publish price and quality information on their website.

Check if you need to pay Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is payable on all residential properties in England and Northern Ireland priced over £125,000. If you’re a first time buyer, the threshold is £500,000. To find out whether you need to pay Stamp Duty, try the HMRC calculator.

Know the difference between exchange and completion

When you exchange contracts, you commit to buy the property and your purchase becomes legally binding, meaning you can’t pull out.

Completion is the day when the full purchase price is paid and you become the legal homeowner and get the keys to the front door.

Be realistic

Be realistic about the time it takes before you get the keys to the front door. On average, it takes just over six months before you can move in, so use the time to book the movers and plan your decor!

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