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Ten golden rules for first-time buyers

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Written by:
23/01/2013
Buying your first-home may be the greatest financial commitment you will make. Be prepared with our top tips.
Ten golden rules for first-time buyers

 Follow these golden rules to make sure you are prepared:

  1. Do your research  When you’re going through the mortgage process there may be words and terms that pop up which you may not understand. First-time buyers need to know as much as they can about the market. What’s a fixed rate, a tracker or a standard variable rate? Once you understand these terms it will be much easier for you to decide which type of mortgage you should go for.
  2. Talk to a mortgage adviser  A qualified professional can help clear up any confusion for you when it comes to purchasing your first home and find you the most suitable deal.
  3. Save as much as you can  The bigger the deposit you have the lower the interest rate you will be able to get. You will need at least 5% and usually 10% of the property price, and the best rates are available for those with 25% or more.
  4. Consider hidden costs  Make sure you make a sensible budget considering more than just your monthly mortgage repayments, because you will have to factor in costs of Stamp Duty Land Tax, solicitor’s and mortgage arrangement fees, insurance and the cost of furnishing your new home. 
  5. Government schemes  The Government has set up two schemes two help first-time buyers with household income of less than £60,000; FirstBuy and NewBuy. Check out the website for full details: https://www.gov.uk/affordable-home-ownership-schemes/overview
  6. Bank of Mum and Dad  Many young househunters’ parents have seen their home’s value rise substantially compared to their mortgage and could lend a lump sum for a deposit, enter into a joint mortgage, or act as a guarantor. Large lenders such as Lloyds TSB, a range of building societies and specialist lenders like ALdermore all offer special family mortgage arrangements.
  7. Partner up  It’s always much easier to purchase property if you are buying with someone. But if you are not part of a couple, you could partner up with a friend or family member. Pool your deposits, work out a legally binding contract in case things go pear-shaped and apply for a joint mortgage to boost borrowing power.
  8. Be flexible  When searching for a property, look at how flexible you can be with the location. Very few first-time buyers manage to afford their dream home in their dream location. Accept that compromise is almost inevitable.
  9. Budget realistically  Sit down at least once a month and work out the costs of all your bills, weekly shopping and other outgoings. Once you have worked out how much you’re paying, look around to see if you can find cheaper options elsewhere to help you save money.
  10. Rent out a room  If you are able to stretch to a bigger mortgage but are worried about your monthly repayments, it is worth considering renting out a room to help foot the bill. Generally, where house prices are high, rents tend to follow so renting out a room could turn out to be very advantageous for you.

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