So, you really want to buy a house. But you’re aware that the current interest rates might not make that experience a picnic for you. Let’s see what you can do to make house buying as smooth as it can possibly be, all things considered.
Improve your credit history
As soon as you first start to have aspirations about buying your own home, you should be looking to your credit score. Before signing you up for a mortgage, this is something that a lender will assess.
You can build a better credit history in all sorts of ways. You should consider:
- Registering to vote. Lenders check the electoral register to double-check your name, address and address history.
- Taking out a credit-building credit card or an arranged overdraft, just to prove that you are capable of making payments on time.
- Be mindful of setting up joint accounts – this will link your credit score to someone else’s. Always ensure you know for sure that their credit history is strong before you do this.
- Limit the number of “hard searches” on your credit score, as these all affect your score. This means only applying for a mortgage or credit card you’re fairly sure you can obtain. It also means ensuring that any check you do on yourself is a “soft search” only!
Start saving early
The sooner you open a savings account in life, the better. Your down payment will be the main up front cost unless you are lucky enough to get a 100% mortgage.
The average first-time buyer pays a 15% deposit of £34,500 in the UK. Of course, house prices vary across the UK, so if you buy in a region like Yorkshire or Wales, you could pay considerably less than if you buy in southeast England.
Have a look at the type of houses you’re interested in across the region where you’d like to buy. Then set yourself a savings goal accordingly.
Explore all the mortgage options
If you’re excited to get on the property ladder, you might be tempted to jump at the first mortgage deal you see within your budget. But try to refrain! There are around 100 mortgage lenders in the UK, so you should take your time to research.
The “Big Six” major lenders are:
- Lloyds (incl. Halifax)
Find the right solicitor or conveyancer
Think about which solicitors you’d like to work with. Rather than going with the cheapest option, do some research and see what the reviews are saying.
A good solicitor will update you regularly on how the property-buying process is going. They will deal with contracts, help you with legal advice, deal with the Land Registry and help transfer the money for your new home. It’s a big responsibility, so you want to be sure you’re getting the right one!
Find your solicitor by asking family and friends for recommendations or by researching online. Look for a “fixed fee” service, so that you won’t get the surprise of any other fees further down the line.
And don’t forget to ensure you can afford the solicitors’ or conveyancers’ fees before you get started.
Buying your first house can be a long process but it doesn’t have to be scary. Save carefully and research thoroughly before making any big decisions.