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8 costly mistakes every first-time buyer should avoid

5th September 2019

Being a first-time buyer can be quite scary, especially as there is a lot of information and intricacies you need to learn before buying a property. However, with careful preparation and background reading can make moving into a new home less difficult and potentially slightly cheaper. See our 8 mistakes some first-time buyers make, and how to avoid them yourself.

1) Not getting an agreement in principle

One of the best ways to narrow down what sorts of houses you could realistically afford is by getting an agreement in principle. This is a certificate from your mortgage provider to show much they are likely to lend to you. This agreement can be valid from between 30 and 90 days. The advantage of getting an agreement in principle is that it shows you are committed and serious to buying a property. Plus, it can avoid the disappointment you may have had further down the line when you find a property that you can’t get a large enough mortgage for.

2) Not realizing how long it can take to get a mortgage

There is no definitive answer as to when you will get your application approved. Although the expected time to wait between submitting the application and your mortgage offer being approved can be around 18-40 days, it can also take a lot longer.

Therefore, it is important to get your mortgage application sent off early so that everything can move that much faster once you have made an offer on a house.

3) Not finding out your credit score

Your credit score is one of the main thing’s lenders will use to decide whether to lend to you. If you have a poor credit rating, you may find it very hard to get lenders to lend to you and run the risk of having your application rejected. By having your application rejected multiple times can also affect your credit score as these count against you.

By checking your credit score it then gives you a chance to correct any errors on your record and improve your situation, so you are more likely to be accepted.

Read our blog to see how you can improve your credit rating score.

4) Not realising the full cost of buying a home

There are more costs you need to consider than just the deposit for the house. Things like getting a valuation done, legal fees, house surveys and conveyancing fees. There are also the bills that you will need to start paying as soon as you move in, as well as building and contents insurance and council tax payments. If you don’t have them already, there is also all the furniture and appliances that you will need to purchase. Make sure to find out how much these are likely to cost you for your new home.

5) Not using the right solicitor

Many mortgage lenders have a specific panel of solicitors that they are prepared to instruct. The problem arises if you chose a solicitor who is not on the panel of your lender, this could mean you will have to pay extra or even get a different and approved solicitor. The best thing to do is check your lenders approved list and see which solicitors you could use.

6) Finding our if the property is leasehold or freehold

Be sure to research the difference between leasehold and freehold properties, as there can be limits on what you can do with your home. You can also face extra fees as well.

A leasehold property lets you live in the property for a certain number of years (as noted on the leases) but you won’t own the land the house sits on. Leaseholders also need to pay rent each year and other fees. For some properties these charges can be very high.

A freehold property means that you are the sole owner of the land and the building. Therefore, you won’t have to pay ground rent and are solely responsible for the maintenance of the building. By finding out whether your property is leasehold, or freehold will stop you being caught out by extra costs down the line.

7) Not researching the surrounding area

It is a good idea to spend a day or so in the area that you are looking at buying a house. This will let you get a feel for the area and it will give you a chance to see if it meets your needs. Are you needing good transport links, proximity to work or family/friends, provision of schools and so on? Researching this will give you the answer to whether you want to live there or not.

8) Not asking questions

House viewing should be a slow process and you shouldn’t jump at the first property that you look at. You don’t want to be left with a house you aren’t 100% sure on. Be sure you create a list of important questions that you want answering at the house viewing. This could be things like what the neighbourhood is like, where the water meter is, when the boiler was last serviced and so on. Also, be sure to ask the sellers about why they are moving to a new house, how long they have lived in the house for. If you find out how long the house has been on the market for, they may accept a lower offer if the house has been for sale for an extended period of time.

If you are a first time buyer and want more help and guidance, get in touch with us on 01609 760960. Or arrange a call back and one of our mortgage advisers will be happy to help.


Reference – BL078 – Sep – 2019

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