The time has come; the time to fly the nest and get onto the property ladder. Buying your first home has probably been on the radar for a while but having the means to actually do it comes at a cost. Due to the amount of deposit that lenders require, the prospect of a first home is out of reach for the vast majority of people, particularly in a climate where the cost of living rises exponentially each year.

A recent positive is the increased number of lenders who are willing to offer 95% loan-to-value mortgages, meaning that new buyers only have to find 5% of the value of the house they wish to purchase, plus the additional costs such as solicitors fees, search fees, possible Stamp Duty or Land Tax and registration fees.

Bowsers First Time Buyer's Guide

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First Time Buyer's Guide

What's the process?

Buying a house can be split up into a number of steps, all of which are essential when considering the purchase of a property:

Start saving your deposit

Naturally, putting aside a considerable deposit can be tough but having the means to put down a more sizeable amount is beneficial to you as a buyer and opens the door to better deals on the mortgage you can take out. Cutting down on unnecessary monthly costs will ensure you are able to put aside more money on a monthly basis, leaving you one step closer to your dream home.

Consider any additional costs you may have to pay out

Any money you save towards buying your first home should include any additional costs involved with buying a house. First time buyers should consider fees charged by the lender, legal fees to pay to your solicitor and charges for a property survey amongst others. If you’re purchasing a property with a value of more than £300,000 you’ll also have to pay stamp duty on the purchase. If you’re buying your first property and previously have lived at home or in furnished accommodation, you may also need to factor in the costs of furnishing your home.

Is there a scheme you could use to aid your saving

There are a number of schemes in place that could assist you in buying your first home. Putting your savings into a bank or building society account naturally offers you security but it could well be the case that your savings are accruing a very low interest rate. Saving schemes such as the Help to Buy ISA offer a bonus of 25% on the savings you invest in it, paid by the government towards the purchase price.

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What type of mortgage is right for you

If a traditional mortgage isn’t suitable for you, there are a number of other ways you can get onto the property ladder. Shared ownership schemes allow for partial purchase of a property, with the government purchasing the remaining share. You then pay mortgage repayments on the share you own and rent on the remaining share. A scheme such as this allows for additional shares to be purchased at a later date. Another possible alternative is shared equity ownership, suited for people who are finding it impossible to get onto the property ladder. Shared equity works by providing the buyer with a loan which forms part of the deposit for the property that you are wanting to buy. The rest of the property would have a shared equity mortgage taken out against it. Such a deal allows you access to better mortgage deals with lower interest rates.

Speak to advisors and solicitors

Once you have the means to put down your deposit and have found the perfect house for you, the next step is to speak to a mortgage advisor over the amount of money you need to borrow and to solicitors in order to ensure that everything is processed legally and as smoothly as possible.

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Bowsers First Time Buyer's Guide 8

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How long does it all take?

The definitive consensus for buying a house is that it will take around 12 weeks from start to finish, although the amount of time can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, such as whether the house has a chain, how easily your mortgage application process is and how long it actually takes you to find a house once you have your deposit together and mortgage in principle.

What are the risks involved in buying a property?

The risks involved in buying a house are primarily financial risks because of the fact you are obligated to keep up with your monthly repayments. Failure to do so, due to bad financial planning or loss of earnings could mean that your home is repossessed.

What does a solicitor actually do and how do you choose the right one for you?

When buying a house, you should employ Bowsers who will undertake a number of duties on your behalf. Once the purchase has been agreed, we will receive replies to any questions raised and report to you with the property contract for signing, request your deposit, liaise with your mortgage provider to deal with the formal mortgage offer and the conditions of the offer and communicate any problems to you. Upon exchange of contract, we will transfer the deposit to the seller’s solicitor, prepare a final completion statement, collect any balance of funds and organise final searches to check for debts and bankruptcy. The deed of transfer and mortgage deed will also be prepared and arranged for you to sign. Upon completion, we will receive and arrange for payment of any Stamp Duty (if appropriate) and prepare and send off the application to Land Registry to register your ownership.

Often, conveyancers are recommended to buyers by the estate agent they are carrying out the purchase with. These conveyancers are normally more expensive and often aren’t local to you. Being able to get hold of your solicitor is key to an easy purchase and being able to drop into the solicitor’s office to get documents verified and signed is particularly beneficial. We are fully insured up to £3m per transaction and offer an individual, personal service to our clients, ensuring that you get suitable and professional advice.

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Bowsers First Time Buyer's Guide 9-1

How can we help you?

Bowsers can provide you with many years’ worth of professional and personal experience, with our lawyers here to help you on a personal level, ensuring you have the best possible experience when buying a home. We are a forward-thinking team and are able to provide an excellent service to our clients, whether they be new or established, and the number of returning clients we have speaks volumes. For a professional, friendly consultation, feel free to make an appointment with one of our legal experts in either of our offices to discover we are the team for you.

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