Save, make, understand money

First Time Buyer

Revealed: the expensive mistakes first-time buyers regret

Cherry Reynard
Written By:
Cherry Reynard

From using up all their savings, to not haggling enough, around half of homeowners believe they made expensive mistakes when they bought their first property.

New research on over 2,000 homeowners from comparethemarket.com found that 15% wished they’d haggled more on the price of the house when buying their first property and 10% of respondents regretted using all of their savings to fund the deposit. This left them with no emergency savings and no cash for any refurbishment.

Other regrets included not shopping around for a mortgage broker (8%). However, around a fifth believe a broker added no value and a quarter (24%) simply went to their bank to take out a mortgage rather than shopping around for a more competitive rate. Only 12% of respondents consulted a price comparison website to understand the options available to them when choosing their mortgage.

Survey problems

A small proportion (6%) wished they’d ensured the survey was more thorough. Around four in five homebuyers don’t get a survey, believing that the mortgage lender’s standard valuation is sufficient. However, this may not reveal certain structural problems or poor repair. (Read our guide to valuations and surveys here.)

The areas where homebuyers felt they could save money when buying their next home included mortgage broker fees (31%), removal costs (25%), solicitors’ fees (20%) and survey costs (13%).

Comparison tools

Over a quarter (27%) felt they paid over the odds to intermediaries and service providers, with 7% saying they felt they had significantly overpaid. Mortgage Eligibility Checkers can give an indication of how much homebuyers can borrow. This can help compare alternatives.

Mark Gordon, head of mortgages at comparethemarket.com said: “People with no prior experience in purchasing a property may not be aware which services and products offered to them on the home buying journey are mandatory and which are discretionary and, importantly, whether they are good value or uncompetitive.

“The whole buying procedure can be intimidating, particularly for those going through the process for the first time. Fears around hidden fees and dealing with estate agents, lawyers, surveyors and mortgage companies are legitimate and strong enough to put off people from trying to make a purchase. Before putting in an offer on a property, make sure you do your research online, speak to family and friends about the process, use the variety of free tools available to check your eligibility for a mortgage, and get useful tips on how to avoid paying over the odds.”

For more, see How to find the ideal first-time buyer mortgage