Top tips for first time buyers

August 2016

From saving up for a deposit to your moving day essentials like finding the right removal company, provide the tips every first time buyer needs.

Taking your first step on the property ladder and owning your first home is a huge milestone and a very exciting time.

Saving up for a Deposit
Saving up for a mortgage deposit can feel like a daunting prospect when you want to buy a house, especially if you have to raise tens of thousands of pounds.

The minimum you can put down for a deposit is 5% of the house price, but your choice of mortgage can be restricted. Putting down 10% will give you more choice. So, a 5% deposit on a £200,000 house means you would have to save up £10,000.

For first time buyers one useful scheme is the Help to Buy Equity Loan. To help you buy a new-build home up to the value of £600,000, an equity loan between 10-20% is available to make your purchase more affordable, and you will only need a 5% deposit. Contrary to popular myths, Help to Buy isn’t just for first-time buyers either! It’s for anyone who wants to buy a new-build home. Of course, you need to meet certain criteria:
  • Fund 75% of your chosen property through a conventional mortgage - you must take out a minimum of 25% as a mortgage 
  • The amount you borrow must not exceed 4.5x your gross household income (minus any debts) 
  • Your monthly repayments must not exceed 45% of your monthly net household income (minus any debts) 
  • You must not have another residence or property in your name before the completion date 
  • Not rent out your existing home and buy a second home through Help to Buy 
  • Have access to a minimum 5% deposit
It seems obvious, but the only way to save up for a deposit to buy your first home is to start saving up as soon as possible. Of course, you have to be realistic about how much you can save in a specific amount of time, but generally, making lifestyle changes and regularly changing can make a significant difference. Here are some ways to start saving:
  • Set a monthly amount: Calculate how much you need to save per month and make a plan to stick to that amount.
  • Keep Records of your spending: Track your spending habits so you can see exactly what you are spending your money on and try and eliminate any unnecessary purchases that you don’t need.
  • Cut down on overpriced luxuries: It might not seem like much, but cutting down on things like takeaways, alcohol and memberships you don’t use can end up saving you a lot of money over time.
  • Consider Moving Back Home: Rent can be incredibly high depending on where you live, making it feel impossible to save any money. If you have the option, moving home for a year could be beneficial to you if you only have to contribute to bills and cheaper rent.
Banks and building societies are very cautious about who they lend to, so if you can raise a bigger mortgage deposit you will be considered less of a risk.

Keep in mind that there are other costs associated with moving house, from stamp duty to legal fees, so you also need to account for these when saving. 

Book a Removal Company
Hiring a removal company will make your move go smoothly, and minimize any risk of damage to your items. You need to leave enough time in advance to do so, as some companies are booked months in advance. Before booking a company, do your research to ensure they will suit your moving requirements.

A reputable removal company will:
  • Conduct a home survey and take detailed description of the size and requirements of your move.
  • Provide a comprehensive quotation with no hidden charges. If you aren’t sure of anything, don’t be afraid to ask if the quote includes V.A.T, waiting time, dismantling of furniture etc.
  • Ensure staff are competently trained and monitored.
  • Ensure their staff arrive on time, are uniformed and conduct themselves with a professional and hardworking attitude.
  • Have sufficient insurance in place to cover the value of your items, unless you have arranged insurance yourself.
  • Provide quality customer service throughout and always put the customers’ needs first at all time.
Packing Tips
Once you have saved up, found the property you want and booked a removal company, you need to start packing!
When you go through all of your items, the thought of packing everything and moving it can feel like mission impossible. Making use of some packing hacks will make your packing efficient and quick.

Before you start packing, you should be as vigilant as possible and start to declutter to lighten the load. Go through any items you haven’t used in the past year and either donate them or get rid of them, unless they hold sentimental value for you.

Here are some useful packing hacks:
  • Instead of pulling every individual item of clothing off the hanger, leave them on and simply but them into a bin bag so when it’s time to unpack, your clothes are ready.
  • To avoid damaging or breaking your crockery, rather than spending time wrapping each individual plate or bowl in newspaper, put foam plates between each plate in the stack and place them in your packing box – it will minimize the risk of damage while in transit.
  • When you move your television and other electronics, take a photo of all the wires plugged in, so when it comes to reassembling them, you know where everything goes!
  • Pack heavy books into suitcases with wheels – it will be easier to move!
  • Pack an overnight bag for moving day – this will save you! After moving all day, the last thing you want to do it rifle through hundreds of boxes to find what you need. Pack some bed sheets, tea bags, tooth paste, a tooth brush and anything else you need to relax or keep yourself energised on moving day.
If you’re buying your first home, congratulations! It will take a lot of hard work and preparation, but by using our tips to find a property, save up, hire a removal company and pack everything, you will be in your dream home in no time! 

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