How to get on the property ladder
Posted on: Friday, September 1, 2023
Homeownership is a dream shared by many, but for most first-time buyers, getting on the property ladder is no simple feat. If you’re among the ever-growing demographic of aspiring homeowners, use these top tips to help you take that all-important first step onto the property ladder.
Saving for a deposit
Saving up a large deposit is often the most challenging aspect of buying a property. It’s advisable to save at least 5-20% of the property's value as a deposit, as this will help you secure a mortgage with better interest rates. Set monthly savings goals and establish a realistic timeline to keep yourself motivated and on track. If you opened up a Help-to-Buy ISA, don’t forget to deposit a maximum of £200 a month, as accidentally missing a month will ultimately set you back.
Assessing your financial situation
Before you can get started on home hunting, it's essential to evaluate your financial standing. Start by assessing your income, savings, and any outstanding debts. Consider how much you can comfortably afford to spend on mortgage repayments, and don’t forget to account for additional expenses such as council tax, insurance, and maintenance costs. Budgeting realistically will provide you with a solid foundation for the rest of the process, and a good idea of what kind of home you should be searching for.
Understand your mortgage options
A mortgage is likely to be the most significant financial commitment you make in your lifetime, so you will need to understand your options thoroughly. You could conduct your own research into various mortgage lenders and compare their interest rates, terms, and conditions, but it’s usually worthwhile to seek professional advice from a mortgage broker who can guide you through the process, help you find the most suitable mortgage for your circumstances, and assist with the application process.
Explore government schemes
The UK’s government offers several schemes to support first-time buyers in their quest for homeownership. Familiarise yourself with these schemes, such as Help to Buy, the Lifetime ISA, Shared Ownership, and Right to Buy, to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria and if they align with your goals. These schemes can provide financial assistance, reduce deposit requirements, or make monthly repayments more affordable.
Seek professional guidance
Navigating the property market can be complex, especially for first-time buyers. Engaging the services of a qualified solicitor or conveyancer is crucial to ensure a smooth and legally compliant purchase process. They will handle the legal aspects, including property searches, contract reviews, and completion procedures, giving you peace of mind throughout the transaction.
Check out the local property market
Making informed decisions is important, which is why it’s advisable to delve into a little research on your local area’s property market. By using property search portals, you can monitor house prices, housing trends, and location-specific factors that may affect your investment. Beyond this, you should attend plenty of property viewings, ask questions, and consider seeking advice from local estate agents or property experts who can provide invaluable insight.
Patience and flexibility
Buying a property is a significant life event, and it's essential to remain patient and flexible throughout the process. Be prepared for delays, setbacks, or unexpected changes. Stay positive, persevere, and don't rush into any decision you may later regret. The right property will come along if you stay focused on your goals and maintain a proactive approach.
Are you itching to get moving into your first home? Get in touch with your local Guild Member to start your search.