Tips For First Time Home Buyers 

If you are buying your first home, you need to understand how to approach the process and make the right choices in important areas such as choosing a mortgage and finding the right property. Our top tips for first time home buyers will give you the guidance you need for this most important of purchases. 

Having the right conveyancing solicitor by your side will ensure that the transaction goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. At Lockings, we have many years of experience in representing first time buyers. We will make sure that you understand the process and what we will need from you and when. 

We will keep you updated as to progress and will always be happy to speak to you to discuss the transaction and answer your questions. We have the expertise to deal promptly and efficiently with any issues that might arise, giving your purchase the best possible chance of success.  

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have at this stage. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire and York area.

We are on the panels of approved solicitors of all major mortgage lenders and hold the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation in recognition of our high levels of legal competence, risk management and client service. 

 

Our top tips for first time home buyers 

Improve your credit score 

In the weeks and months leading up to your purchase, you should check that your credit score is as good as it can be. This will give you access to the best available mortgage deals. There are steps you may be able to take to improve your score if necessary. These include: 

  • Pay your credit cards and bills as they fall due 
  • Have a credit card that you use regularly and pay off on time to show that you can manage credit 
  • Don’t use more than 30% of your available credit if possible 
  • Close credit cards and store cards that you no longer need or use – although you should have some credit to demonstrate that you can handle it, you don’t need numerous cards 
  • Don’t use your credit card at an ATM – this is an expensive option and might indicate to credit agencies that you are not managing your money well 
  • Make sure that you are on the electoral roll – credit agencies use this to check addresses 
  • Don’t move home more than you need to so that you address is easy to establish 
  • Don’t take out new credit just before you apply for a mortgage 
  • Cut financial ties with anyone with poor credit 
  • Check your credit score with the major credit agencies and write to them to ask them to correct any mistakes in their information. Lenders mainly use Experian, Equifax and TransUnion 

Work out your budget 

Work out how much you can afford to borrow. You can work with an independent mortgage adviser to establish this. They will be able to advise you how much you will realistically be able to pay back, leaving some room in case your repayments increase. 

They will also be able to go through the types of mortgage available to you and help you decide which is best for your circumstances.  

Approach a mortgage lender 

Once you know how much you want to borrow and the type of mortgage you want, such as fixed-interest or tracker, you or your mortgage broker can start to look for the best deal. Once you have identified a mortgage lender, you should approach them and ask for a mortgage decision in principle.  

This is not a formal mortgage offer, but it will give you some idea of the amount the lender is prepared to lend. Once you find a property to buy, having a mortgage decision in principle will demonstrate to the estate agent and the seller that you are a serious buyer and in a position to proceed. 

Instruct a solicitor 

You can also instruct a solicitor early on before you have a property to buy. If you approach us, we will let you have the paperwork that you will need to complete. We offer a secure online portal, which clients often prefer to use as it is fast and convenient. The information you provide will be with us instantly and we will be able to open a file and carry out the necessary identity checks.  

Instructing us at this stage means that as soon as you have an offer on a property accepted, you will be able to pass our details onto to the estate agent. They will let the seller’s solicitor have them and the contract papers can then be sent to us without delay. 

We will also let you have a full breakdown of the costs involved, to include expenses such as search fees and the Land Registry’s fee for registering your ownership of your new home. We can also let you know whether Stamp Duty will be payable on your purchase. 

Research potential areas in which to buy your first home 

Carrying out some research into potential areas for your new home will help you make the right choice. The following tips for first-time buyers will help you find the best location for your needs: 

  • Look at average house prices and compare them to the amount you can afford 
  • Decide what amenities you need, such as shops, a local school or transport links 
  • If you have children, check the Ofsted rating of the local school and how easy it is to get into 
  • Once you have found a potential area, check what the neighbourhood and the roads are like at different times of the day, for example, in the evenings and at rush hour 
  • Make sure you are familiar with everything in the locality that could be a potential nuisance, such as takeaways, tourist attractions or industrial areas 
  • Do some online research into potential issues such as flood risks and local crime rates  

Have a survey carried out 

You are strongly advised to have a survey carried out and not to rely on your lender’s valuation report, which may be only cursory. The type of survey you need will depend on factors such as the age and condition of the property. Older properties or a property that you wish to carry out extensive work on should usually have a more in-depth survey than newer homes that are in good condition. 

Going through the first time buyer conveyancing process 

Using an experienced solicitor who has the time to provide the advice and guidance you need is highly recommended if you are a first time buyer. Having the right expertise on your side means that any potential problems are likely to be dealt with effectively. 

At Lockings Solicitors, we always aim to be ready to exchange contracts as soon as possible. Avoiding delays can substantially reduce the risk of a transaction falling through. We will make sure that you have regular progress reports and that you know when exchange is likely to be, so that you can provide your deposit in plenty of time. 

We know that buying your first home is an exciting time. It is also a major investment and we are here to make sure that your purchase is legally sound and that the right due diligence work is carried out before you complete. 

If you are thinking of buying a home, give us a call and we will be delighted to discuss the first steps with you. 

Contact our East Yorkshire and York area first time buyer solicitors 

If you are a first time buyer, we will be happy to represent you, giving you the advice and guidance you need for a successful home purchase. 

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have at this stage. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire and York area.

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