Buying a home: common questions asked by first-time buyers

Buying a home: common questions asked by first-time buyers

Starting the journey to becoming a first-time homeowner means navigating through a maze of industry jargon, documents, and processes. For those new to the home-buying process, it can be a big learning curve.

We’ve spoken to our team of experts to find out what reoccurring questions our buyers have asked – and then we’ve listed out all the answers for you in this helpful guide.

How do I make an offer on a property?

Your offer will need to be submitted to the selling agent, and we would always recommended to do so in writing as well.

You should provide as much detail as possible to support your offer; this helps the current owner of the property to make an informed decision. This will need to include information about your deposit (including proof of funds, such as a bank statement or accountant’s letter), whether you have a mortgage offer secured, your desired timeframe, and details of your solicitor.

It’s worth noting that in some cases sellers may have multiple offers all equating to the same value, so it’s worthwhile expressing your love and enthusiasm for the property.

Can I offer on two properties?

In principle, you’re free to make offers on as many properties as you wish. Offers don’t carry legal obligations, and are often only chargeable after an offer is accepted, prompting the hiring of surveyors and similar services.

However, it is worth noting that submitting multiple offers may portray you as indecisive and unreliable as a buyer.

What is a good opening offer?

Different buyers approach their initial offer differently: some may propose an amount below the seller’s asking price, while others might offer the full amount right away.

A recommended strategy is to offer between 5% and 10% less than the market price, ensuring there’s room for negotiation by staying below your maximum limit.

It’s also wise to research house prices in the area, considering factors like square footage and number of rooms. This information will help you make sure you are putting in a fair offer.

Do I need to have a mortgage before making an offer?

Although you cannot finalise your mortgage application until after your offer has been accepted, you can obtain an agreement/mortgage in principle (AIP/MIP) before starting your property search.

An AIP/MIP shows the amount a mortgage lender may potentially loan you for purchasing a property. This is used as evidence to sellers that you’re a serious buyer with good prospects of securing the necessary financing.

Obtaining an AIP/MIP is a quick and straightforward process, our partnered Mortgage Broker, The Residential Mortgage Hub will be able to assist you with this if you’re looking for help.

When do I put an offer on a property?

The timing for making an offer on a property rests on two key factors:

  • The level of competition for the property you’re interested in.
  • How quick you can make a decision on the amount you want to offer.

In a market with high buyer demand, making an offer quickly is necessary. However, it’s crucial to allocate sufficient time to carefully consider the offer amount you’re comfortable with.

What are the main costs of buying a property?

Purchasing a home comes with significant expenses, particularly saving for the deposit, which is often the greatest hurdle for first-time buyers.

Typically, you’ll need to provide a deposit of at least 5% of the property price. According to Halifax’s latest data, the average deposit stands at 21%. However, aside from the deposit, there are numerous other costs to consider.

Before starting property viewings, it’s advisable to familiarise yourself with the various fees you’ll encounter along the way to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

  • Conveyancing Fees: You will normally need a solicitor or conveyancer to facilitate the property purchase. Anticipate spending between £500 and £1,500 for these services.
  • Land Registry Fee: The Land Registry maintains records of all registered properties in England and Wales. While your solicitor may incorporate this fee into their conveyancing package, it’s important to check. Fees typically range from £90 to £140, depending on the purchase price.
  • Stamp Duty: Stamp duty is a mandatory payment on properties above a certain price threshold. The amount varies depending on the property’s value. You can use a stamp duty calculator to estimate your payment.
  • Homebuyer Survey: A thorough homebuyer survey assesses the property’s condition, potentially uncovering issues and serving as a bargaining tool. Costs vary between £400 and £1,500.
  • Mortgage Fee: Lenders often charge a fee for setting up the loan, typically between £1,000 and £2,000. Some lenders may allow you to add this fee to the mortgage amount.
  • Valuation Fees: Mortgage lenders may charge valuation fees to ensure the property’s value aligns with the purchase price. Expect to pay between £160 and £600.
  • Mortgage Broker: If you are considering using a mortgage broker, they may charge a fee ranging from £300 to £2,000.
  • Moving Costs: Costs vary based on the amount of furniture and distance traveled. The average cost for a 3-bedroom house moving 50 miles is £1,181.
  • Building Insurance: Most mortgage lenders require building insurance, averaging £110 annually.

Do I need a mortgage broker?

While it’s not mandatory, using the services of a mortgage broker can be highly beneficial, especially for those unfamiliar with mortgage processes. Mortgage brokers have access to many loan options that may not be readily accessible elsewhere, including exclusive deals and notifications of limited-time mortgage deals tailored for certain individuals needs.

Got any other questions?

Our team of industry experts are here to help and answer any of your questions about the home buying process. Simply contact our office on 01634 570057.

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