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Buying Your First Home: Useful Tips

Updated on October 11, 2014

Tips For Buying Your First House

If you're looking for some useful tips on buying a house as a first time buyer then you're in luck! I'm a first time buyer and I'm in the process of buying a house myself!!

I've been on the prowl for a house for the last 6 months. I've been fortunate that I found 2 houses that seemed completely perfect for me - but unfortunate in that I didn't manage to buy either of them!

It's for this reason though that I wanted to create a page all about my experiences so far. I want to be able to give an insight to those other first time buyers out there to pass on my knowledge so that they can learn from my unfortunate circumstances.

So, please enjoy this page all about buying your first home and if you have anything to add, there's a guest book section at the bottom of this web page where I'd love to hear from you!

Enjoy - and I hope you find it useful!

Photo courtesy of LeeStewie

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House Buying
House Buying

I'd love to hear from you to try and understand just how many people who visit my page, whether they do or don't already own their own houses or not!

Photo courtesy of LeeStewie

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House Buying
House Buying

Tip #1: Use a Mortgage Broker

Find the Best Mortgage

The very first thing you should do in regards to the whole process of buying a house is to work out if you can actually afford to. In order to do that, you need to understand how much money you can borrow (a mortgage) from a lender.

Now, there are some websites out there like or which all compare some different lenders. But then it's upto you to sort out the forms etc etc.

There's a much better way which is easier and much more stress free.

Consult a mortgage broker!

You see, they effectively act like one of the comparison websites listed above. If you speak with one, they will ask for your details and let you know how much you can afford to borrow based upon a variety of factors (your wage, savings etc). They will also provide you with a 'mortgage in principle' document, highlighting that you are actually able to borrow that much money. This can be beneficial to the negotiation process (demonstrating you mean business in the fact that you're in a position to buy the house!)

The best thing about using a mortgage broker is that it's free! You don't pay them a penny! Where's the catch you might say? Well from your perspective, there really isn't one!

The mortgage broker will get a referral fee from the lender for sending your custom to them. They will get the same fixed fee from any lender out there, therefore they have no ulterior motive to sign you up to a mortgage that isn't in your best interest.

Plus, if you have any questions or queries regarding the whole house buying that you've been able to find the answers to elsewhere, the broker will usually have an abundance of knowledge to advise you here as well.

Either way, mine has been brilliant so far - and I've not had an offer accepted yet (more of that later!)

Photo courtesy of LeeStewie

Tip #2: Prepare a Budget

Work out exactly what you can afford

Before you begin even looking for a house, you should really weigh up the different costs associated with:

  • a) Buying a house
  • Aside from the amount of deposit that you'd need to put down in order to secure the house, there are other hidden costs that really need to be considered up front.
  • Mortgage Arrangement Costs
  • - Not all
  • mortgages
  • can be arranged for free. In fact, most out there in the current market demand an arrangement fee. Fortunately, you can absorb this fee into your monthly mortgage repayments instead of an up front fee. The cost will vary, depending who you choose as your lender (more of this later)
  • Surveys
  • - The lender (who is providing you with your mortgage) will have to perform a survey to determine whether they see it fit to lend you the money. This is a cost that will need to be picked up by you. You'll have a better idea of survey fees when you have spoken to a
  • mortgage broker
  • .
  • Stamp Duty
  • - This is effectively a tax from the UK Government.
  • Stamp Duty
  • has to be paid prior to the exchanging of keys and varies according to the purchase price of the property. For example, any property costing £125,000.00 and under would not apply to this tax. £125,000.01 and above would - varying from 1% to 15% (depending on the property value)
  • Solicitor Fees
  • - In order for the property transaction to go through, there are a number of legal issues that need to be reviewed, as well as the signing of documentation and ensuring that the property purchase goes in accordance with all relevant laws. It is for this reason that you would need to hire a solicitor to work through these for you. It's usually expected that a solicitor would command a ~ £1,000 fee for their services with this.
  • b) Living in the house
  • You also need to consider a variety of costs and fees that you will
  • need
  • to be paying out each month once you're in the house to determine whether your current income would allow you to afford the house. Some of the things that I had noted that would apply to my monthly costs are:
  • Council Tax
  • Insurance (Home, Life, Redundancy etc)
  • Mortgage Repayments
  • Utilities (Gas, Electricity)
  • Water Rates
  • TV Licence
  • Broadband
  • Phone Line
  • and....
  • Food and Drink!
  • As you can see, there's a lot to consider!

It's only really then at this point, when you've really calculated the costs in a realistically manner, should you then start looking for a house.

Photo courtesy of LeeStewie

Moving House
Moving House

Tip #3: Stick to your Budget

Don't look beyond your price range

Searching for a house can be extremely difficult. If like myself, you have a specific area you want to move to with strict requirements of what the house should be like, then it can be frustrating waiting for a 'good' house to come on the market.

If you check daily (like I do) then you'll always find there's a temptation to look for prices beyond your budget.

Do not do this!

The problem that this causes is that the likelihood is that the houses that cost slightly more than your budget are probably going to be some of the best houses you'll have seen during your search.

It'll then plant the seed in your head that you're after this type of quality house, perhaps instead of the one that is more suited to your price range.

Therefore my tip with this is never look beyond your means. Tip #1 and #2 indicated that you should plan your budget. This should be your guideline and you should therefore not go over it. Ever.

Photo courtesy of LeeStewie

House for sale
House for sale

Tip #4: Make Your Offer Through a Broker

The first house I ever put an offer in for, I did it alone.

I spoke directly with the estate agents and discussed the property purchase myself.

I kinda regret that now.

You see, I'm not exactly the world's best negotiator. In fact, I'm pretty inexperienced at it. When you're going up against someone that's trained to negotiate, I was always going to lose. Especially when I went for a very hard bargain.

The second house I made an offer for, I enlisted the free help of a very experienced mortgage broker (it's within their interest that you get the house so they get their referral fee from the lender).

I feel like that this put me in a great position.

Not only did I have someone experienced in negotiating for me, but it also comes across as serious with the estate agent. Plus, as the mortgage broker will already have verified that you can afford the mortgage, it can further help your offer process in the eyes of an estate agent.

Especially as a first time buyer, it's important that the estate agent is aware of that. This can actually make or break a deal. Sellers will usually favour a first time buyer due to the fact that they will have no chain!

Photo courtesy of LeeStewie

First Time Buyers - 'Help to Buy' Scheme from the UK Government

The UK government has recently introduced a 'Help to Buy' scheme to encourage and assist first time buyers enter the housing market.

I've recorded this video (myself as a first time buyer) to really share my views on the matter because for me, it's not really useful and could potentially hinder my purchasing of any future houses that I really like that come on the market.

Using a Solicitor to Buy a House - Are they really needed?

One of the things that I've discovered when looking into getting my first house is the expense of having to employee a solicitor to perform a variety of checks, paperwork and ensure that the legal requirements of the property transaction are met.

Even still, they will generally accumulate a fee of £1,000+ to perform these actions - which is an enormous amount of money (especially to a first time buyer like myself!)

This video goes into the topic in a little bit of depth, with my findings that I have uncovered so far.

Useful House Related Links

In order to buy a house, you must use a solicitor to legally process the transaction of the home. Here are some great websites to help you find the right legal support to ensure your purchases goes through smoothly!

I hope you found the tips that I gave useful. Perhaps you have some others that I missed? It would be amazing if you would be able to share them below so that others (as well as myself!) can really benefit from this knowledge in buying our first homes.

Do You Have Any Useful House Buying Tips To Share?

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    Post Comment

    • bosmol profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice advice for first time home buyers

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Banks are still being unpredictable with real estate financing for buying homes as well as businesses. Expert help might be necessary (and banks are not the experts I am referring to).

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      To buy a new house is not easy great job.


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