Buying a house?
Read Big G’s top tips!
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Assisting with your dream.
Looking to buy your first home, home moving or investor?
If house price mania had a World Cup, Britain would lift the trophy. House prices have steadily been on the up for the last couple of years, adding more pressure to anyone trying to buy. Yet buyers need to pause and ask what, when and whether to buy.
Buyers should concentrate on whether buying is affordable and the right decision in the long-term, rather than panic over house prices or cave into the UK’s ‘must-own, must-own’ mentality.
Few people accurately predicted the end of the house-price boom in 2007 and no-one really knows what is going to happen to house prices over the next few years. It is better to concentrate on bigger-picture financial security than risk financial ruin in a desperate attempt to get on the housing ladder.
First time buyer
If you’re a first-time buyer aged 18 to 39, you could get up to £32,000 from the Government by opening a new Lifetime ISA, which launched in April 2017.
You can save up to £4,000 a year into the LISA either as a lump sum or by putting in cash when you can. Then the state will add a 25% bonus on top if you use it towards your first home (or retirement). So, if you save the full £4,000 you’ll have £5,000. And that’s before interest or growth.
The maximum that the Government will contribute is £32,000, meaning you’d have a total of £160,000 including the bonus to put towards your first home. Though bear in mind it would take 32 years to reach this level.
You need to have had the LISA open for at least 12 months to get the bonus cash for your first home. If you need to buy within a year of opening one, or you’re over 40, then use a Help to Buy ISA instead.
For full details, and a comparison of the LISA and Help to Buy ISA, see our lifetime ISA guide.
It’s not as easy as get a mortgage, grab the keys and, bish bash bosh, you’re in. Buying a homes almost guaranteed to cost more than you think. Here’s what to factor in.
Mortgage arrangement fee
Expect to pay your lender an arrangement fee. They vary but £1,000 is typical. In some cases this is non-refundable, even if the purchase falls through.
Many lenders will contribute to legal fees, although in that case you would have to use a solicitor approved by them. If you pay for your own conveyancing, you’re looking at about £500-£800, depending on purchase price.
These are another costly aspect to any purchase, with a typical survey costing £400 to £700. Many people pay for surveys on purchases that fall through, so budget for two or three.
From flaky paintwork to leaky sinks, put aside some cash for unexpected property maintenance. As Money Saver Delphinium says: “If it’s an old house, expect Frank Spencer to have done every piece of DIY work. Expect to undo everything and do 10 other things you didn’t expect to do before you start a job.”
This is the fee lenders charge for a valuation to check the property exists and that it also offers sufficient security for the loan. The cost varies according to lender and purchase price, but budget for £300.
Buy a property for more than £125,000 and you’ll have to pay stamp duty land tax on its purchase price (unless you’re a first-time buyer and your property is priced at less than £300,000).
Unless you can pile your belongings into the back of a car, factor in a removal van. These start at £100 for small local moves but can easily run to £1,000 for shifting a family’s worldly goods long distances.
Furniture and extras
Currently renting a furnished place? Remember you’ll need to buy everything from beds and sofas to lawnmowers and carpets.
Then there are the boring but essential extras: light bulbs, lamp shades, toilet brush, washing up bowl, door mats, hooks and extension leads. See how to furnish your pad for free on Freecycle and Freegle.
If you are looking to buy, we would love to meet to discuss your plans,
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Frequently Asked Questions
Find a property
Research the area, scour estate agents and search websites.
Offer to exchange
Offer to exchange: 2 to 6 weeks
You pay your deposit and can’t back out without major cost.
You hand over the rest of the cash in exchange for the keys and deeds. The property’s now legally yours.
Put in an offer
Tell the seller what you’re willing to pay and any conditions.
Now get a survey to check the property’s condition. Your solicitor checks any legal issues.
Exchange to sale
Exchange to sale: instantly to 4 weeks