In case you have been wondering why I have been missing in action as of late it’s because the mister and I have just been moving into our new house. It’s been quite the ordeal actually moving, and the house isn’t going to be a home for a while. But we were quite lucky in that after we actually found a house and had the offer accepted that the process went very smoothly. So here are a few tips for when you decide to start saving/looking for your first home!
1) Find a smart way to save. Decide how quickly you’d like to save up your deposit and how much of your social life you are willing to sacrifice. Will you be happy eating beans on toast and living like hermit if it means getting onto the property ladder a bit quicker? Or do you want to budget so that you can still have the cheeky takeaway and hit town on the weekends, but maybe adding a year or two onto your renting years. Find an amount that you can afford and save it every month, if you have extra, great.
As for the account that you use for your deposit, check out Save to Buy accounts. We had one through Nationwide, it gave us better rates, less fees and £1000 cash back after we completed. It also wasn’t accessible which means we saved the money and didn’t touch it. If you are saving into an inaccessible account, make sure you have another account that you can use for emergencies.
2) Now you have the deposit and can start looking for a house. Look at houses below and above your budget so you get a feel of what you can get for your money. This will also help you decide if you want to save a bit more or if you are happy with what you can afford at the moment.
One problem, the mister and I encountered a lot initially is that we’d book in to see a house for the weekend when we weren’t working and by the time our appointment rolled around, the house was already sold. So if you see something you like, book in as soon as possible, go on your lunch hour if necessary. We ended up getting our house by booking in to view it hours after it was put on Rightmove, we were the first people to see it, knew we loved it and put an offer in then and there.
3) Make sure you get the best rate mortgage rate. Mister and I saw a couple different banks/building societies to see what each one would lend us/at what rate. We also saw an independent financial advisor (we ended up going to Nationwide in the end as the even the IFA couldn’t do better for us than them). Make sure you shop around as this is going to probably be the biggest purchase you make.
4) In addition to paying a mortgage, you need to think about other expenses you will incur and if you can afford this. Things like the fees for actually setting up the mortgage, surveys, a new council tax band, buildings insurance, life insurance, higher utilities bills are all things to consider when moving from a flat to a house so make sure you can afford the house you buy.
In regards to buildings insurance and life insurance, your mortgage provider will most likely try to get your use their services, but make sure you go online on a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket to make sure you are getting the best deal. And don’t forget the solicitors fees and stamp duty, these costs average around £3500 depending on the price of the property so you will need this in addition to your deposit.
5) Enjoy the process as much as you can! I loved looking at houses and trawling Rightmove for new additions everyday (I still have the app on my phone and check it occasionally even though we have our house!). It can be really stressful saving/finding/buying a house so try to have as much fun with it as possible, it’s a huge step to take and something you can be proud of for achieving!