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Help for Stressed-Out First Time Buyers

Angela Kerr explains what to look out for when buying your first home

March 8, 2013

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HOA guest blog for Rightmove: It’s no wonder buying a home is quoted as one of life’s most stressful events: high property prices, big deposit demands and a gloomy economy provide the current mood music for the biggest purchase you’ll ever make.

But it’s a new year and Spring is on its way so let’s look on the bright side: the mortgage market is looking more robust, sales are on the up and homeowners have a new champion. The HomeOwners Alliance is fighting to get individuals a better deal from industry and government.

Securing a mortgage is the biggest stress point for aspiring homeowners according to our poll of over 2000 people, closely followed by crippling hidden costs (like surveys and stamp duty), and paying the right price for the property.

Its no doubt securing a mortgage is stressful. The days of 95-100% and Interest Only mortgages are almost gone. An independent mortgage broker can give whole of market advice on what’s out there. For example, if you’re struggling to save a deposit and your parents are in a position to help there are mortgage options available that use parental cash as additional security, so you only have to come up with a 5% cash deposit. Government schemes New Buy and First Buy might also help with your deposit.

But there’s more to it than mortgage payments. The hidden costs of buying a home featured as the third biggest worry in our survey.   These can add 10% to your total bill so this is no time for guesstimates. Use your search guide price as a basis to calculate stamp duty and for getting quotes:
–          for a solicitor to oversee the legal process;
–          for a survey;
–          for buildings insurance, which is compulsory;
–          removals fees;
–          and being clear about mortgage arrangement fees and any indemnity fees.

Getting the right price for a house is critical. Are you paying too much and wasting thousands of pounds, or have you underbid making it more likely you’ll be gazumped? Negotiating with Estate Agents can be nerve wracking: they are professionals doing this every day while it’s your first time and you’ll wonder whether you can trust what they say. Look after your interests by getting to know the local market inside out. Staying glued to your Rightmove App can help you develop a feel for how much a certain property should sell for, as will a quick check on the Land Registry site. Remember sellers often put property on for 10% more than they would be prepared to accept. If your survey says critical works need doing then get quotes and use them to attempt negotiating the asking price down.

If the worry of paying too much still looms large, remember it is impossible to generate a perfect “right” price for what an individual property is worth. While there are thousands of identical Vauxhall Zafiras for sale out there, and thousands of people interested in buying them, every day – each property is unique.

For more free independent advice on buying a home – from deciding how much you can afford, negotiating the right price, getting Estate Agents on your side and much more – visit our buyers guide and sign up for our free newsletter

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