Be prepared

Jan Hytch
Jan Hytch

With a surge in First Time Buyers (FTBs) returning to the housing market, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) reminds buyers of the importance of being prepared before beginning the house hunt.

Latest findings from the NAEA Housing Market Report reveal a big jump in FTBs over the past 12 months, increasing from 18 per cent in August 2012 to 26 per cent in August 2013*. This proportion of inexperienced FTBs has not been seen since July 2010.

Jan Hÿtch, President of the NAEA said: “The growth of FTBs in the housing market is really encouraging. However, this means there are a lot of inexperienced individuals searching for a home. Most of these, having had no experience in purchasing a property, will be unsure of the information or procedures involved when buying a home.

“Buying a house can be both exciting and stressful but by planning ahead, FTBs can reduce the understandable state of feeling overwhelmed. Using a trusted agent throughout the process is the best way to navigate the process from start to finish. The agent can provide some very useful guidance and help you prepare before and during the house hunt. It may sound like a lot of effort now, but the work you put in before the search will pay off when you find your perfect home and successfully complete the sale without confusion or delay along the way.

“Providing guidance to these inexperienced buyers can help smooth the whole buying process and relieve some of the stress and uncertainty involved.”

The NAEA has the following advice for FTBs considering purchasing a home:

Do you have a budget?

Have a discussion with your mortgage broker about how much you should borrow. Work together to set a realistic budget and ensure you stick to it. You should also consider how much deposit you want to pay. Remember that you may need budget to furnish the property too.

Do you have a mortgage provider?

Spend some time researching the best mortgage deals. It can be easy to get carried away searching for the right property, but finding the right mortgage deal is equally important. Generally the better the loan-to-value ratio the more favourable the rates will be. It’s also important to factor in the fees involved, although these can usually be added to the mortgage value. Read the small print and look out for any early repayment charges you may be hit with if you decide to pay off your mortgage early.

Once you’re happy with the mortgage provider and deal, ask for a mortgage in principle. This will give you the reassurance that once you’ve found the perfect home you will have no trouble in securing a mortgage. This will also be seen favourably by agents who will see you as a serious buyer.

Do you know what kind of property you want?

Write down what you want from the property. If it’s a large garden, there’s no point in looking at flats. You’ll save a lot of time by having a clear idea of what kind of property you want before you start searching for it. Keep in mind that you may not find your dream home as a first time buyer with limited funds, so it is advisable to be open to compromise.

Do you know costs?

There are a number of costs involved when purchasing a home. You’ll need to think about surveyor fees, stamp duty, mortgage fees, moving costs, home insurance, solicitor’s fees and more. Going over budget by not factoring in the stamp duty is an easy mistake to make for FTBs. You can find the latest stamp duty rates at https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates

Do you know the area?

If you want to move to an area with which you are unfamiliar, make sure you do your research. Housing markets trends vary from region to region and are often different from the national trends reported in the papers. A good NAEA agent will help with you research trends and market movements in the local market. Take a look at the local area during different times of the day and at weekends. Look for anything that may annoy you like noise pollution – from busy roads to trains. You should always do a search for any planned developments in the area. If there are planned construction projects, they may cause disruptions for extended periods of time and affect the value of your home