First-Time Buyers Beware – Navigating the Purchasing Pitfalls

by MelissaDwyer on August 27, 2013

Buying your first home is exciting but not without its difficulties. There are many important issues to think about, so consider these key points to successfully negotiate your house move.

Budget Carefully

In the last few years it has been extremely difficult to get a mortgage as banks have been reluctant to lend unless you have a substantial deposit. Luckily, available rates of loan-to-value have increased from around 65% back up to 80% or even higher. This is good news for first-time buyers as it means you to save a smaller proportion of the purchase price. However, there are additional costs associated with buying a house you may not have considered. There is no stamp duty to pay on a property of up to £125,000, but any purchase over that amount will incur an extra charge. Properties with a sale price over this threshold up to £250,000 are charged at 1%, meaning if you are buying a property for £125,001, you will need to find an extra £1250 – and a penny!

Don’t Cut Corners with Legal Fees

It’s tempting to dispense with the expense of a survey but this can prove very costly later if you discover faults. It’s worth paying for a good solicitor as they will make your house-purchase process much easier. Many offer a fixed-fee option which can be good value, especially if you are purchasing a flat where there is a lot of extra legal legwork. Alternatively, look for a company offering a no-sale, no-fee option. Sadly, sometimes sales do fall through and although you may lose your survey fee, you won’t be liable for the solicitors’ fees.

Think Practically

It’s all too easy to fall in love with a house, but it’s vital to keep one eye on the practicalities. This is especially important when you are buying your first house, which is usually a starter home rather than your forever home. Thinking about the resale potential of a property makes good financial sense. You may be a party animal who likes to cycle to work, so a noisy location with no parking won’t bother you — but these things may be an issue for prospective buyers when you come to sell. If you are buying a flat, make sure there are plenty of years left on the lease. It is possible to extend a lease but it can be costly and so can be off-putting for some purchasers.

Managing the Market

There is a chronic lack of available affordable housing for first-time buyers, so in that sense it is a sellers’ market. However, with no property to sell and no chain you are in a strong position. Buying when the market is falling means the property is cheaper now than it would have been last month, whilst buying as it rises means you will gain more in the future. Many first-time buyers agonise over the right time to purchase but the truth is you can’t influence the market so it’s best just to buy when the time is right for you.

If you are looking for legal help make sure you pay a visit to They can help you with your first home purchase and ensure your move goes smoothly.

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