What type of buyer are you?
When it comes to those who are considering buying property, they fall into a number of different categories. A first time buyer is someone who has never owned or part-owned a property before. If you have previously owned a property but no longer do, you are not considered to be a first time buyer if you want to purchase a property again.
What schemes are available for those buying a house?
The only people who can access government first time buyer schemes are those who have not owned a property at all in the past. For the purposes of a government first time buyer scheme or stamp duty, you are only considered a first time buyer if you have never owned a freehold or long leasehold interest in any property before.
This means that if you have previously inherited a property from a loved one, even if you didn’t actually ‘buy it’ as such, you are not considered a first time buyer. To be eligible as a first time buyer, you must also be purchasing a property that will be your primary residence. Various first time buyer schemes will all have their own eligibility criteria, so it’s important to choose the right option for your own situation when looking to purchase your first property. At Stephensons, we offer expert first time buyer conveyancing services to help you navigate the process.
How to get a mortgage when buying a home?
There are a number of different types of mortgage products available from banks, building societies and other lenders, including many aimed specifically at first time buyers. The amount that you’ll be able to borrow will depend on a large number of factors, but primarily on your income.
You can usually approach mortgage lenders yourself to start the application process. However, if you have any special or complex circumstances, it can be in your best interests to use an experienced, whole of market mortgage broker instead to help you find the lender most suited to your situation.
How much will your deposit be when buying a home?
The amount of deposit that a buyer needs to purchase a property will vary, but you usually need to save somewhere between 5% to 20% of the purchase price. E.g. if you want to buy a property for £200,000, you will need to have a deposit of at least £10,000 (5%).
It’s generally the case that if you are able to put down a larger proportion of the purchase price as a deposit, the better the mortgage interest rates that you may be offered when borrowing to buy your home. It’s important to take into account the other costs of purchasing a property when calculating how much to save, such home buying costs, moving costs, stamp duty (if your property is more than £300,000), the cost of the mortgage valuation and any surveys you have done.
What does buying a home involve?
For many buyers, terms such as SDLT / stamp duty and conveyancing may seem overwhelming on top of the stress of saving for a deposit and arranging a mortgage. However, when you are clear on everything that is involved, the process is relatively straightforward.
If you have a property purchase solicitor in place at the beginning of the process, they will be able to keep you informed and updated during every step, especially if things seem a bit complicated. The main steps to buying your first home include:
Finding a solicitor that is right for you. Here at Stephensons, our solicitors have a wealth of experience to help buyers, whether it’s your first home or not, through every step of purchasing a home. Ensuring you have a solicitor who specialises in house buying at the start of the process will let estate agents or property developers know you are taking your search for your home seriously.
Visit estate agents and view properties. The more the better – you will find out what each estate agent offers, how they work and the specifics you are looking for when buying your home. Developing a relationship with a few estate agents is also a good idea in relation to new properties coming on the market. When agents are aware of buyers’ requirements, they will contact you if a suitable property comes on the market.
Find out how much you can afford. When you have a clear understanding of how much you can save for a deposit on your first or next home, this will also give you guidance on how much to spend on a property. Shop around for a mortgage when you know how much you will need and see who offers the best rates. If you are a first time buyer and are buying a new-build property, you may be entitled to apply for the Help to Buy scheme, this means you will only need a 5% deposit.
Make an offer and get a survey done. When you have found your ideal property, get the ball rolling by making an offer; ask your solicitor for guidance on how much to offer if you are unsure. Your solicitor will also be able to give you more information on getting a survey carried out, and stamp duty if you need to pay it (properties up to approximately £125,000 do not need to pay stamp duty). When all this has been finalised, you will be able to exchange contracts and become an official homeowner.
Do you need a solicitor for house purchase?
Legally you are not required to have a solicitor when purchasing a house, however it is advisable to seek professional legal help especially if you are a first time buyer. This is because an experienced property purchase solicitor or conveyancer can provide you with the advice and support you need to make informed decisions.
When should I seek the help of a conveyancing solicitor?
As soon as your offer has been accepted on the property you’re looking to buy, you should get in contact with a legal professional who specialises in property purchases. They can help you make decisions that are best for you, both financially and legally, whether or not you are a first time buyer.
You can rest assured that our dedicated conveyancing team will deliver a personal service and you can be confident that there will always be someone who has worked on your property purchase available to speak to should you need advice and assistance. Whether you are looking for help to buy conveyancing solicitors or are making a standard purchase, we can help.
We understand the importance of being kept up to date with the purchase of your home and as such have developed an online tracking system, to let you check on the progression of your property purchase 24/7. With updates also available by email, post, over the telephone and text message you can be sure that you know where we are up to every step of the way.
To find out more about buying your first property, contact Stephensons on 0161 696 6187 for a free, no obligation initial chat with one of our legal advisors, or fill out our online enquiry form.