Buying your first home can be a complicated and daunting experience, not to mention expensive. And getting the whole process of the ground – by getting a mortgage – is far from straightforward in the current climate. It is not impossible though, and as I found out two years ago, patience and perseverance are the keys to success.
So here I’ll share with you some of the pearls of wisdom I learned whilst trying to get a first-time mortgage.
1. Save every penny you can
When you start thinking about buying your first home, its usually because you think you might finally have enough money for a deposit and all your saving has paid off. It is worth remembering though that no matter how much you’ve put aside, you can still save more because the bigger your deposit, the cheaper your mortgage will be.
Its no bad thing to accept that while you’re scraping together the money for your deposit you will need to go without certain luxuries. But keep your eyes on the prize and remind yourself how worthwhile these sacrifices will be in the long term.
2. Rejection is not the end
My first port of call for my mortgage was my bank. I’d had a current account with them all my adult life, a credit card, and even a child savings account when I was a kid – I thought it was a sure fire bet, but they wouldn’t give me a penny. After that I thought it was all over before I’d even started. But don’t despair if your first option doesn’t come good – persistence can pay off. Just because one lender won’t give you the money, it doesn’t mean that others won’t.
When you make your initial mortgage enquiries, make sure the financial institution conducts a ‘soft search’ so that they can give you an estimate of your mortgage (if they’ll accept you) without impacting your credit file. And if you don’t have much success, you can get some help from a broker – you ideally want one that is independent and fee-free.
3. Be realistic
Don’t start looking round houses eagerly before you have a fairly concrete idea of how much money you can borrow. You’ll only end up with entirely unrealistic expectations and be left disappointed when you can’t afford your dream home. If you find that you can’t borrow as much as you’d hoped then you need to downsize your expectations.
It’s easy to get carried away when house-hunting. The sums of money are so large that a few £1,000 here or there suddenly doesn’t seem like much, but you must stick to your budget. That means that you might not find a home you love straight away, but be patient.
4. Take your time
If you’ve rented property before, you’ll be used to things moving very quickly- there can often be just a matter of weeks between expressing your interest and moving in. Buying a place is a whole different ball game. Not only do you need to spend more time finding a place you love, but the actual process of buying a property can spread out over many months. You should be prepared for that and stay patient!
I got very downhearted when I couldn’t find anything I liked in my price range, but don’t plump for something mediocre in your rush to buy a place. Remember this is going to be your home, so persevere and keep looking.
I spent months of what seemed like every spare moment of my time looking round places until I finally found the right one. But if you do discover that there just isn’t anything you really love in your price range and area, take your time. House prices are fairly level at the moment so you can afford to just wait and put all your efforts into saving for a bigger deposit – it’ll be worth it in the end.