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What first time buyers need to know…

With the average house price around the UK at £150,000 and large deposits having to be found, it can be quite a daunting time for those trying to enter the property market.

Buying a first home is a big step and a huge commitment. Below are some practical tips to help you on your way.

Things to think about –

  • Look around different areas and be open-minded. Familiarise yourself with transport links, shops, parking, leisure facilities etc.
  • Get your finances in order before making offers. You can strengthen your bargaining power if you can demonstrate your ability to finance your purchase.
  • Be realistic about what you can afford. Remember that interest rates almost certainly will rise and that you need to have enough money left to live on.
  • Consider getting help with the deposit from family or find someone who might act as a guarantor for your mortgage. It is important that you understand all of the implications of such arrangements but it may be a helping hand to get you started.
  • Once you have identified a property immediately contact your solicitor who will talk you through the legal process and will provide an estimate of fees and outlays.
  • Having found a house you like you will need to get a formal mortgage offer from a lender who will require a valuation of the property.
  • From 1st Dec 2008 a seller will have to provide you with a Home Report (other than for a brand new property) – This is a pack which provides useful information to a potential buyer about the property.
  • Pay attention to the structural condition of the property.  This is far more important than the colour of the carpets and standard of the décor!
  • Arrange a second visit. There may be details that you didn’t pick up on the first time around.
  • Once your offer has been accepted you will have about 6 weeks to wait for the keys. Use this time to organise insurance, sort out service providers, apply for parking permits etc.
  • For the moment stamp duty (a government tax) in Scotland has been suspended for first time buyers making this an excellent time to save potentially hundreds of pounds on your purchase!


Pat Gray, Private Client Partner.

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