Like many people, I didn’t really understand much about the house buying process let alone imagine myself becoming a homeowner before the age of 30. I finished university in debt, found a job and lived in rented accommodation for a couple of years. I had no plans to buy a house and intended on renting for the foreseeable.
I met Matt when I was in my mid-late twenties and we rented privately, together. We began talking about how great it would be to buy our own home and looking around new build developments became our favourite weekend hobby. I was still utterly clueless at this point and I know the fear of the unknown puts a lot of people off buying at all – after all we’re talking about large sums of money. It will probably be the single biggest purchase you’ve ever made.
We started to get ourselves clued up on the whole process and spoke with our parents about how best to approach it. My dad helped my brother get on to the property ladder so I was hoping he might be able to offer some kind of support.
After realising that we could actually secure a mortgage based on our salaries, and talking to experts recommended to us, we began to imagine living in our first home. It seemed like a dream come true and not nearly as scary or hard as we had first thought. Within six months of making initial enquiries we were in.
I know a lot of people I follow are looking to get on the property ladder so I thought I’d share a few tips that might help.
- Don’t be afraid to ask
As I said above, I didn’t have a clue about the house buying process so my first tip would be to do your homework. Learn how it all works before getting yourself involved. Solicitors come out with some very foreign terms and so it will stand you in good stead to get a grasp of the house buying lingo.
- Do your sums
Housebuying (and selling) can be expensive so do your homework. There are ways to save money. One way is to save money on rent by renting elsewhere before you move. Another way to save would be on estate agency fees. We didn’t realise but they are actually negotiable in many cases. We actually settled on the first fee they gave us – big mistake!
- New build offers
Quite frequently you will see new build developments have fantastic offers for first time buyers. We were offered some fantastic incentives to encourage us to buy and it all helped us keep our money in our bank – where it belongs!
It goes without saying that you need some cash behind you to get on the property ladder. Mortgage advisors look upon this as favourable when working out whether you’re sensible with money and you will need some cash to put down as a deposit.
- Get to grips with your income/outgoings
You’ll be asked to account for every penny you earn when trying to get a mortgage so the best thing you can do is spend time getting to know how much money you spend on fuel, rent, food, childcare etc. Try and cut out any unnecessary spending as it will provide you with a larger disposable income figure.
- Be realistic
You won’t buy your dream home first time around (bravo if you do) so be prepared to compromise. The first step on the property ladder is exactly that – it’s a step up to the next step. Every time you buy and sell you will learn what does and doesn’t work for you.