First Time Buyer Help

publication date: Dec 21, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

First Time Buyer Help

If you are a first time buyer in today’s difficult and ever changing market – you need help! It is important to make sure you get help from independent sources, ie ones that offer the right advice not just say what they think you want to hear or what will help to sell their product and service!

Why do first time buyers need any help at all? It may seem easy enough, go to an estate agent, look at some properties, put in an offer and then buy it. Surely it’s simple and you don’t need expert help? On the contrary, buying a home for the first time requires you to take 75 key steps, if you miss one of these steps out you could:-

  1. End up paying more than you should for a property
  2. Losing a property because you don’t progress the purchase quickly enough
  3. Finding a property you love, spend lots of money to get it and then fail the mortgage credit checks
  4. Buy a property that you can’t afford to live in
  5. Get the property but only after lots of stress and hassle

As a first time buyer, you’ll get offered lots of advice from friends, family and people working in the ‘industry’. Most though will be rubbish and will hinder you securing a home. If someone hasn’t bought a home in the last year for the first time, they might not know that as a first time buyer if your property costs less than £250,000, you are exempt from Stamp Duty until March 2012.

Most first time buyers think that legal work is a ‘commodity’ and just pay the cheapest price, only to then find that the company doesn’t progress the sale very quickly and it seems to take forever to get to exchange. A good legal company (it will cost a bit more, but it IS worth it!) will work hard to purchase the property by the date you want to move in.

Probably one of the biggest mistakes that first time buyers need help to avoid is understanding there is a difference between a mortgage valuation and a survey. Just because your lender values your home at £135,000 doesn’t mean it’s worth that. They only send someone out to look over your property for 30 mins to an hour and use in house databases to work out what it’s worth. A proper survey by a RICS surveyor is someone you pay that is on your side to find out what is wrong with the property that you need to have put right before you move in, or you need to take money off the asking/offer price for.

So if you are a first time buyer, don’t risk losing a home you love or go through the hassle and stress everyone else does, secure independent help to buy your home from experts.


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  • An A4 ‘how to’ guide (approx 80 pages), containing Dos and Don’ts, Factsheets, Checklists, Handy Tips and Forms
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