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First time buyer – What do I need to know?

Buying a property for the first time can be an exciting yet daunting process with many things to consider. Our dedicated residential property and conveyancing specialists will work closely with you to understand your priorities. You will have a clear understanding of the process, and we will progress things efficiently to help ensure that you don’t have any nasty surprises. Our team have answered below some of the most frequently asked questions received from clients. They have also listed some key considerations for a potential first time buyer.

Who qualifies as a first time buyer?

To qualify as a ‘First Time Buyer’, all of the individuals buying must fit the following criteria:

Key considerations for a first time buyer

If you are buying a property then you should make sure you have got your finances in place first. If you go house hunting before you have gone mortgage hunting, you will complicate the process. This creates difficulties if you do not get the full amount you need and have to scrabble around to make up the shortfall.

Taking out a mortgage is a massive commitment. Do your due diligence and don’t sign up for anything you will regret later on. Always get a personalised mortgage illustration as this should highlight the important features of your mortgage. Remember, a mortgage typically lasts for 25 years so this is a long-term commitment. It is not something to be rushed into without a lot of careful thought.

Once your mortgage and funding arrangements are in place and ready make sure you have thought through all of the finances for the transaction. This includes: all fees; any stamp duty; and the ‘balance’ needed to complete the purchase in addition to your mortgage. Make sure you factor in any work you plan to do on the property after purchasing. It is crucial to check everything that could be a factor in the value of the property, your ability to use it, and your ability to sell it on in the future.

Do I need to do a survey of the property?

Arranging a survey of the property early on will ensure you know what you are buying and identify any structural or physical issues before you are committed to the purchase. You will be purchasing the property ‘warts and all’, so it is important to enlist help from suitable experts so that you know what you are buying. To help you uncover issues that may prove costly after completion, you may find our reminders on things such as conducting a boiler inspection and other physical checks useful.

Can I use the Help to Buy equity loan scheme?

Our team often assist people with their conveyancing who are using this Help to Buy scheme. The Help to Buy scheme involves the government lending first time buyers money to buy a newly built home.

There are certain restrictions such as the purchase price cannot be more than £600,000 and you cannot use it to buy a second home or a property to rent out. This scheme allows someone to borrow 20% of the purchase price interest free for the first five years if they have at least 5% of the deposit. Visit the Help to Buy scheme HM Government website page.

Should I consider Shared Ownership?

If you are faced with being unable to afford to buy a property outright, you may want to consider Shared Ownership. This guarantees you sole occupancy rights, and allows you to buy a share in your property while paying rent on the remainder.

As well as the usual considerations which need to be made when buying a house, there are additional issues specific to Shared Ownership which you need to think about. You can read these on our shared ownership page. You may also find useful information in our article ‘Can’t afford to get on the property ladder? Shared ownership could be a possibility’.

Tenants in Common vs Joint Tenants – what is the difference?

If you are buying a property with a friend, relative or partner it is important to consider whether you will buy the property as Tenants in Common or Joint Tenants. One option will likely suit your circumstance better however if you need help with your decision our team can provide guidance.

First Time Buyer Ownership Options

Does a first time buyer have to pay stamp duty?

In transactions where all of the purchasing individuals qualify for ‘First Time Buyers’ relief from Stamp Duty may be available. Individuals that qualify as ‘First Time Buyers’ within the definitions given above will pay no Stamp Duty on the purchase of a property up to £300,000 in price.

For First Time Buyers purchasing up to £500,000 in price a rate of 0% will be applied to the first £300,000 of the purchase price and a rate of 5% to the remainder.

Once you have your finances and property ownership straight, it is time to arrange your conveyancing.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the term for the legal process of transferring one person’s property (the seller) to another (the buyer).

Your conveyancing specialist could be a solicitor, legal executive or a licensed conveyancer. They will handle all the legal aspects of your transaction. You will be provided with updates along the way together with support in what is likely to be a stressful process.

The key matters your conveyancing specialist will handle are:

It is an important role, so choose carefully. A solicitor will address issues before you buy the property to ensure that you don’t have any nasty surprises once you have purchased, leaving you free to enjoy your new home. Good advice during the purchase process will in turn help to prepare for a smooth sale if you want to sell the property later on. Instructing a good solicitor should give you peace of mind.

To understand more about conveyancing process and what it looks like from start to finish please visit our conveyancing page.

How much will the conveyancing cost?

To calculate an immediate estimate of the cost of your move, please use our online e-quote facility below.

Our full pricing policy can be found here.

For more information on how we can help support you through your first time buying, please contact one of our specialists in our Newbury, Thatcham or Maidenhead offices below.

Our Residential Property Team

Unsure who to contact? Make a general enquiry:

Newbury Thatcham Maidenhead
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