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Top tips for First time buyers? By Jaimie Rice, Phoenix Estate Agents

Many first time buyers don’t know where to start when it comes to buying a property. I am commonly asked what are the first steps you should take? Here are a few tips to help you get through those first stages of looking through to the point of starting the buying process: GET MORTGAGE ADVICE: The first step is to get some mortgage advice to establish what your borrowing abilities & limits are. This will also establish how much deposit you will need to have saved up for the purchase. A mortgage advisor will also be able to give you a rough idea what the mortgage valuation or survey fees are likely to be. It’s no good registering on estate agents mailing lists or getting excited about a property if you don’t know if you are in a financial position to buy. I’m a strong advocate of getting advice from an independent broker who can search the whole mortgage market for all the deals that might be suitable & also check first if they charge you for their advice, as many charge a fee whether you go with them or not. Hit it lucky & you will find an independent advisor who doesn’t charge up front for their advice. Don’t be afraid to say if you don’t understand! GET A SOLICITOR/CONVEYANCING QUOTE: Most solicitors will give you a no obligation rough quote for their fees and often also give you a broken down quote showing the other fees you will need to pay on the legal side of buying a property like search fees and other legal disbursements. Once you have done those two things you will have a good idea what costs you will need to take into account and what your financial boundaries are. The other addition cost to consider aside from buying, survey and legal costs are the removals and most removal firms can give you a rough quote based on the size of the property/van you will need and the distance they will be travelling etc. REGISTER WITH LOCAL AGENTS & START YOUR PROPERTY SEARCH: Assuming you are in a position to buy (deposit in place & mortgage potentially available/agreed in principal), then it is time to register begin your property search. Don’t be afraid in telling the agents what your maximum budget is & what sort of property you are really wanting to find in that budget, the more they understand your property requirements the better they can help you. GET OUT & VIEW: You can only get a true impression of a property when you see it with your own eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, that is what the agent or seller are there for. If you find a property you like or work down to a couple on a shortlist go back for a 2 nd look to help in making a decision. BE ‘READY’ TO MAKE AN OFFER: When you make an offer on a property the estate agent will need some information from you in order to ‘qualify you as a buyer’. It’s handy to have it all prepared when you reach the stage of viewing properties, in case you find one you are interested in & want to offer on. This is standard & legal procedure under money laundering regulations, so don’t be alarmed if it feels like they want everything bar your inside leg measurement, the more thorough they are, the chances are, the more professional they are being! They will ask you to prove your ability as a buyer by way of giving them evidence: 1) Confirmation of deposit: show them a current bank statement with funds in place. 2) Confirmation of mortgage: an agreement in principal from the lender. 3) Solicitors details: give them the name, address, phone number & email address of the solicitor you have chosen. 4) Proof of identity: usually 2 forms of current/valid id for each person: 1 showing your photo most commonly photo drivers licence or passport. 2nd showing proof of address most commonly a recent utility bill or bank statement. MAKING AN OFFER: Have looked at other properties in the area or what price similar properties have sold for recently? The rightmove website has useful tools where you can put in a postcode & bring up the recent sold price data. Have you decided what price you wish to offer? Remember it is a negotiation, but also remember the agent is employed by the seller & to get the seller the best price. Every property & seller are different & one seller may have different financial boundaries to the next. Most sellers allow a set margin for negotiation in their asking price, others may advertise it as low as they can go. Be cautious in going in with a too cheeky initial offer, you may offend the seller & minimise their receptiveness to further offers. After all you want your offer to be put over nicely & positively to increase your chances of the sellers considering it in the best light. Set your limit & don’t be afraid in stating your limit as a full & final offer. Don’t be afraid to ask what the seller would take/their bottom line? I would always advise you to provide the agent with the info suggested above so they can advise the seller fully of your position when putting your offer over, it enables the agent to put your offer over in the best possible light. Sometimes if you are competing with another potential buyer on the same property, the difference can be how forthcoming you have been with the necessary information to put in a qualified offer & have everything in place. OFFER ACCEPTED – SOLICITORS & MORTGAGE LENDER START THEIR WORK: Once your offer is accepted, the agent will get a sales memo over to both your solicitor and the sellers solicitor giving them details of the sale that has been agreed so that the solicitors can start work. Have you instructed your mortgage advisor to commence the full mortgage application and given them any requested valuation/survey fee/s? Have you confirmed with the solicitor that you wish for them to act on your behalf and provided them with any necessary funds and information that they require? Both the mortgage lender & solicitor will require the same Money Laundering identity and financial information from you as the agent. With these done there should be minimal delays on your part. Hopefully you will have a good solicitor and agent working with you who will keep you updated as the sales process proceeds, but if you don’t hear anything or have any concerns, don’t be afraid to get in touch and ask, these people are employed to help you through it after all.

For any further information or advice please do not hesitate to contact us. Tel: 01406 359131 .

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