My Top Tips For First Time Buyers

Everyone says that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can one seems to mention just how much of a mind-boggling minefield it can be as a first time buyer.

To try and lessen future first time buyers woes I've pulled together a list of all the tips and advice we've been given along the way and nuggets of info I wish we had known before we set out.

1.    If you're renting make sure you have a bank account and your driving license registered to your rented property address (you can actually get a pretty hefty fine for not having your driving license registered to your address). We were lazy and thought staying registered at our parents' was easier as then post would just go home instead of having to keep changing our addresses. It literally takes a 5 minute visit either to your local branch or account online to change your bank account address and will save you so much agro further down the line. 

2.    For the love of Christmas, make sure your address is identical on every document you need to provide. We have the most annoying address that seems to be listed differently on every single website ie Top floor flat, flat b, flat 2 or TTP...Just to keep things interesting. Basically the first line of your address and postcode must be an identical match for each proof of address that you send. If you live in a flat make sure you (and your partner if you're buying together) agree a set way of writing your address and then stick with it till death/end of tenancy do you part.

First time buyer tips isa help to buy house buying advice address proof of harry potter letter gif
3.    We had so many people recommend London & Country to us as mortgage brokers and they have been an absolute God send PLUS...NO FEES! That's right, an amazing broker...for free! They collect their fee from the bank instead of your pockets. They've been a massive help in explaining why some deals we thought were the best don't work for us or are actually more expensive due to cheeky hidden fees from the lender (cheeky cheeky). Thanks to them we've saved over £800 off our mortgage in our first 2 years which is amazing news when you're also saving up for a wedding and honeymoon! Holla being able to feed an extra 20 wedding guests!

4.    Solicitor or conveyancer? Hands up who has no effing clue what the difference is?

First time buyer tips isa help to buy house buying advice solictor conveyancer
After a quick Google it became quite clear that unless you are doing some fancy arse complicated selling/buying which lets face it most first time buyers aren't then your best going with a conveyancer. The best explanation I found is that a solicitor is a Jack of all trades kind of lawyer and dabbles in many forms of law whereas a conveyancer is a specialist property lawyer. Conveyancers are also easier to reach *apparently* as they are office based unlike solicitors who will often take on matrimony work or personal injury cases so will be in and out of court. And finally solicitors are likely to charge by the hour and want to meet face to face whereas conveyancers often charge a flat fee and you don't need to meet them face to face so business can be conducted via email or telephone.

5.    This brings me into my final point: HomeOwners Alliance. It's like compare the market or but to help you find a conveyancer for a fixed price. You just pop in your property details and voila a list of conveyancers, their fees and their rating from previous clients. Literally a life saver when you have next to no idea on how to get started when it comes to finding a conveyancer. Obviously make sure you pay attention to their review or rating from past clients as this is the most expensive transaction you have probably made so far so you want to make sure the people conducting it on your behalf are competent in their work.

6.    Use all and any government incentives you can for first time buyers. The Help To Buy ISA will give you 25% of what you put in each month up to £200. That's an extra £50 a month! Bear in mind that there is a cap on the value of the house you can use this ISA on £250k for outside London and £450k for in London. You can also combine these ISAs so if you're buying with someone else make sure you both set up a help to buy ISA and that's an extra £100 if you each put £200 a month into your ISAs.

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7.    Finally when putting in an offer never underestimate the power you have by being a first time buyer. Go in under the asking price, haggle for appliances, the curtains and hey even their cat if you take a fancy to it. You have no chain...that's a seller’s dream...use that power for the good of your bank account.

Hopefully some of these points will help you navigate the maze that is being a first time buyer. I know it’s stressful, believe me I’m in the middle of it, but just think of the end goal, that little place in the world that is all yours.

Good luck x

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