My Top 3 Tips For First Time Buyers
A few months back in my 2016 goals recap post I announced that Marc and I had purchased our first house. Being first time buyers was a wonderful feeling but the process was definitely stressful. Today I thought I’d share my top 3 tips for first time buyers in the hope that I can help at least one person out there with some of the things I learnt along the way.
1. Get in touch with an independent mortgage advisor – Get in touch a year before you plan on purchasing.
Before we went house hunting Marc and I got in touch with a local independent mortgage advisor. We got in touch with our advisor around about a year before we intended to purchase a home. Our advisor told us how to be eligible for the best deals, he offered us advice on our credit scores, mortgage deposits and how to prepare for our mortgage application.
At the time I literally had no credit score. This was basically because I had never had any form of credit. The advisor told both Marc and me to get credit cards, use them for things like food shopping and then simply pay off the full balance each month. By doing this we could build our credit score over the year. He also told us to double check that we were definitely on the electoral register. By not being on this can prevent you from being accepted in certain cases. The advisor then took our payslips plus some other information and calculated how much we could potentially borrow. With that figure in mind, he then left us to build our credit scores and returned just under a year later when we informed him that we’d found a property and the offer had been accepted.
Good credit scores give you a much better chance of being accepted by a lender
When he returned our credit scores were excellent. We’d also made sure to follow his advice on how to basically prepare for an application. Again he took our payslips and calculated how much we could borrow based on the current market. Because the house we made an offer on was well within our budget he then sat us down and showed us the current deals available to us based on a fixed rate mortgage (this is the type we wanted) We decided to first apply for the best deal available to us.
The first lender was very small and we were told from the off that they could potentially reject us but not to worry if that happened. The mortgage advisor then went away, applied for the mortgage and we essentially sat back. A couple of days later we were informed that we had been rejected which wasn’t a shock nor did we get worked up about it. The advisor then suggested that we apply for the next best deal. This time the lender was much bigger and then chances of us being accepted were very high.
Once again the advisor went away and sorted it all out. A couple of days later we were accepted and had our mortgage in principle. The mortgage advisor then returned to our house and had us sign a few forms before sending them to the lender for a full application. Within a week or two, we received our full mortgage offer.
Our mortgage advisor took a weight off our shoulders
Our mortgage advisor really was a godsend. He filled in all our paperwork, took away a lot of stress and was on hand for us to ask questions. As first time buyers, we were pretty clueless when it came to applying for mortgages. If we were to have gone to a bank directly we would have gone through a lot more stress and we most definitely wouldn’t have gotten the best deal possible. In terms of cost, our mortgage advisor didn’t charge us a penny for his service. Instead, he received a commission from the lender for setting our mortgage up which was another amazing plus. I’m not sure if all mortgage advisors work in this way but ours worked in this way.
2. When it comes to your solicitor don’t be afraid to ring and ring until you get answers!
Once you’ve made an offer, it’s been accepted and you have your mortgage offer you should now have a solicitor to actually see the house buying through. My first piece of advice when it comes to solicitors is to shop around. Solicitors vary in price and in work. Ask friends and family for recommendations to ensure that you hire the best solicitor and one in your price range. Once you’ve got a solicitor in place you’ve got the ball rolling.
With our solicitor, he got everything done and dusted but never updated us on a thing which was frustrating. From speaking to others some say this is common whilst others insist their solicitor kept them fully up to date. At the beginning of our house buying process, the lack of contact wasn’t a big deal. We just assumed he was just getting on with things. However, towards the end when we were getting ready to complete, we began to get frustrated. Not only that, we also had tonnes of questions that needed answering. In the end, we were basically ringing every single day to get information. I understand solicitors are very busy and deal with multiple house purchases and sales every day. However, when you are paying lots of money for a service I think you are well within your rights to receive information that you require.
3. If possible, take a week off work when you move into your new home.
When Marc and I moved into our home we both took a week off work. This allowed us to get used to our home and more importantly unpack all of our things to get into a proper routine. The thought of living out of boxes was not something I was keen on so unpacking straight away was definitely on the cards. In theory, we could have unpacked in a day or two. However, by taking the week off we unpacked, arranged things properly and had time to just enjoy the house as first time buyers. Not only that but we were also able to update things like council tax and utilities. We also took the time to just sit back, relax and destress after all the chaos.
What are your top tips for first time buyers?