How To Become A First Time Buyer In 2018

Posted: by January 5th, 2018

33 Millrush Drive, Portstewart

With the New Year in full swing, you’ve probably been busy making your list of goals and resolutions.

For some it will be dieting, exercising, picking up a new hobby or learning a new skill, but for others 2018 will be a REALLY, REALLY big year; with the goal of finally getting on the property ladder and buying that first home!

So if this is going to be the year that you become a first time buyer, here are some of our top tips to prepare you for making that life-changing purchase.

  1. Eh, what’s a mortgage?

Breaking news – houses are expensive. Really expensive. And unless you have a spare few £100k lying down the back of your sofa, chances are you’re going to have to get a mortgage. If this is the case, take some time to get your head around mortgages and the process.

Research to find out how to get granted a mortgage and what the lenders’ criteria usually is. For example, most lenders will ask for three months payslips and bank statements, so have this information ready.

Whether you’re buying with someone or going it alone, you should also do your research to figure out what kind of mortgage you can afford and what kind of deposit you’ll need to pay.

  1. The deposit

And on the topic of deposits – you’re going to need one of those. If you’ve been thinking about buying a house, you’ve probably already been saving and putting money away for a deposit. If not, there’s no time like the present.

Although you might not have picked your dream house, you should still have an idea of your price range. Try to save at least 10% of that figure for your deposit.

If you don’t have a savings account for your deposit, ask your bank about the products they offer, such as the government’s Help To Buy ISA which can get you up an extra £3,000 to add to your fund.

  1. Location, location, location

When it comes to choosing where to live, don’t just close your eyes, point at a map and say ‘that’ll do nicely’. Be really thorough when it comes to researching the area you’d like to live in. Gain awareness of house prices and cost of living in that area. Learn about what it’s actually like to live there; what the community is like, who the MP is, what the crime rate is like, what schools are in the area etc. Although some of these things may seem extreme, if you’re planning to live in that area for a while it’s much better to be prepared.

  1. Get a credit check

As mentioned, it pays to learn about how the mortgage process works and the criteria that lenders have. A major factor in getting a mortgage is your credit score. Lenders prefer to grant mortgages to people who can prove that they are likely to meet their monthly repayments. If you have failed to pay credit cards or have outstanding debts, this won’t exactly help your mortgage application. So before you even start the process of applying for a mortgage, get a credit check and if there do happen to be issues, then do what you can to correct these.

  1. The emergency fund

Yes, the house itself is expensive, but there are other costs involved with buying property which you should allow for. These might include solicitors’ fees or fees for your mortgage broker (although many will not charge fees). On top of this, you’ll also have to decorate your new place, so may have to buy things like beds, sofas and washing machines. Closer to the time when you’re moving, let friends and family members know that you’re buying a new house so, if they’re renovating, they can sell or pass on any furniture they no longer need.

  1. Register to vote

This is something that’s often forgotten about and can be a real pain for first time buyers. When it comes to mortgages, many lenders will check that you’re on the electoral register at your current address as a precaution against fraud.

  1. Patience is a virtue

Buying your first property is one of the most exciting times in anyone’s life. From the moment you start looking at houses, you’ll be dreaming of the day that you get to hold the keys in your hand. However, buying a house and getting a mortgage isn’t always the quickest and easiest process in the world so be prepared for this and be patient.

Also – don’t just jump at the first property you see. If you want to live in this place for a long time or even permanently, be sure of what you want. Know what matters most to you and stick to these benchmarks. Although it might take longer and you might be worried about being ‘too picky’, we promise, it will pay off in the long run.

  1. Use your tools

Once you have an idea of what kind of home you want to buy, set up an account on PropertyPal (if you haven’t already) and download our iphone or android app. You can easily save searches and receive notifications when there are properties added to the website that meet your criteria. This is the best way to make sure you don’t miss out on the home of your dreams – the ultimate tragedy!


If you have any questions or any more tips you’d like to add for becoming a first time buyer in 2018, just leave a comment below. We’d love to know your thoughts!



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