18 Jan 2019

Seven lessons I learned buying my first house

Seven lessons I learned buying my first house

The process of purchasing our first home was an emotional rollercoaster. One moment we were excited, the next we were completely overwhelmed, writes Katie Forbes.

However, while there’s no getting away from it, there are a number of steps you can take to relieve some of the stress.

Below I’ve noted some of the things we learned along the way which will hopefully help those entering the process.

Sum up how much you need for a deposit

Unless you’ve won the lottery or are incredibly wealthy, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage to buy your property.

In most instances you’ll need a deposit of at least 5% of the property price - more if you’re looking for a low interest rate. 

Total up the costs

Many first-time buyers are so focused on saving for their deposit that they forget to look into the other fees involved with purchasing a property. 

Other costs include: solicitors fee and Land and Building Tax (LBTT) depending on the price of the property.

Go to an independent mortgage adviser

Humans are a creature of habit which is why many people stick with the same bank from their first ever savings account right through to their savings and investments. But this isn’t always a smart move when it comes to mortgages. 

If you go to your bank for a mortgage deal, they will only show you their mortgage products, which varies from tens to hundreds; but if you go to an independent adviser, they’ll be able to access thousands of mortgage products across every lender. More choice means more chance of finding the best possible deal. In the overwhelming majority of cases, this service is provided free of charge by Aberdein Considine.

How long the process takes

This can vary from person to person. In my case, the whole process was over and done with within one month of viewing our, now, house.

To be fair, our situation was pretty unique: we both lived at home, therefore didn’t have a property to sell; and the seller was moving abroad to move in with relatives, therefore bypassing the hassle of viewing/offering/moving into a new home. 

In most cases, there’s a chain - your landlord, competing buyers, the seller’s seller, and so on - to deal with, which can prolong the process. Patience is key. 

Check the home report with a magnifying glass

In Scotland, sellers must have a home report written by a surveyor. It is vitally important that you read this through thoroughly as it will note any signs of expensive problems such as damp should there be any.

This will also detail the property’s true market value - it is worth noting that banks will only provide a lending up to the home report valuation. This means if the property is valued at £200,000 and your offer is accepted at £220,000, you will need to pay out £20,000 in cash on top of your deposit. 

Utilise social media

Gone are the days of popping along to your local estate agent to grab the latest property journal and spending hours scanning through schedules in search of your dream home. Now you can search thousands of properties across the country at a click of a button. 

Facebook and Instagram were great tools in finding our house. Aberdein Considine update their page daily allowing us, and other followers, to see their latest properties before anyone else. 

Be thorough when viewing

Examine inside and out: for the former, ensure there’s adequate space and take into account the cost of redecorating to your taste; and the latter, look out for leaks and bad guttering, and take note of how busy the road is, if there’s parking facilities and the condition of the surrounding homes.

Also don’t be afraid to ask questions - the last thing you want is uncovering something that you didn’t want after making the purchase.

First-Time Buyer Open Days

Aberdein Considine are giving first-time buyers a unique opportunity to save £250 on their first home purchase.

The first 200 people to register for our First-Time Buyer Events across the north east of Scotland will be gifted a £250 voucher to help cover the legal costs of their first purchase*.

At each event, lawyers, mortgage advisers and property experts will be on hand to answer any questions you have over a cup of coffee.

Click here to learn more.

* Terms & Conditions Apply

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