Getting onto the housing ladder nowadays is a hard step to make. If you are in a position where you are about to buy your first home (congratulations!), then there is some important information that you should know and remember.
In this guide, we will teach you all about how to find the right house, what benefits are available to you and the best way to go about actually moving in.
What To Look For in A House
As silly as it may sound, finding the right house for you requires a lot more time and thought than you may anticipate. Here are a couple of things to consider if you haven’t thought about them already.
Now, this one is quite obvious, but when looking for a house it is imperative to look within your price range. There are a few aspects of this you need to consider in depth.
Of course, you have the price of the house itself – £250,000 is the average benchmark of affordability for first time buyers (this won’t be relative for everyone, though). It is the deposit and mortgage, however, that are perhaps more important to think about.
House deposits tend to be at least 10% of the house price, although there is always the option to put down a higher deposit if you wish. If you see a house that is higher than the average price, and you believe you will be able to afford the mortgage, work out what 10% of its price is first to ensure you have enough money saved to place a deposit on it.
On the flip side, you may have a sufficient amount of money saved to go towards a house deposit, but you will need to find out if you can afford the monthly mortgage repayments. A mortgage calculator can help you to figure out how much you would hypothetically be paying, however it is up to your bank to decide if they can grant you a mortgage. They decide this by comparing your annual earnings (after tax) with what your outgoings would be per month, determining whether you can realistically afford a mortgage for a certain property.
This is why you should also consider other bills you would be paying on top of mortgage repayments when looking at house prices.
How well-suited a house is to your personal needs is something that also requires ample thought, with allowance for compromises. Here are some key guiders to get you started:
- Location: This is fairly straightforward, but the location you’re looking at is important for a number of reasons. Do you think you would feel comfortable living in the area? How far is it from your work? What is the local crime rate? Are there amenities nearby – are these in walking distance or accessible by bus if you don’t have a car?
- Size: Be realistic with the size of the space you need compared to what you want. If you do find somewhere spacious and affordable – great! But don’t set your expectations too high. Will you be living alone or with someone else? Would you rather have a spacious kitchen or a spacious bathroom? Decide what qualities are most important to you and where you can compromise.
- Condition: Sometimes you will see pictures of houses and have to look past what you see to envision what it would look like if you lived there. Whilst this isn’t exactly a bad thing, it is worth noting what the general condition of the house is like. For example, is there any mould? Are the floors and walls too outdated and/or in bad condition? How well has the garden been maintained? If you find a house that would require lots of work (remember work = money), then it may be best to look elsewhere.
First-Time Buyer Benefits
A first-time buyer is defined as someone who has never owned a residency either in the UK or abroad. If this applies to you and you are looking to buy your first home, there are some benefits you may be able to take advantage of.
As well as being exempt (if the property you buy is below £425,000) from paying stamp duty (a tax which you are required to pay when purchasing a property), here are some of the other first-time buyer benefits that are available.
First Homes Scheme
In England, if you are a first-time buyer who is at least 18 years old, able to get a mortgage for at least half the price of the home and the total income of the residents will not exceed £80,000 (£90,000 if you live in London), then you are eligible for the First Homes scheme (with some exceptions depending on local council eligibility conditions).
The First Home scheme is where you are able to buy your first home for 30% to 50% less than its market value, assuming that is a new home built by a developer or you have bought it off someone else who, too, had bought it as part of the First Home scheme.
However, should you then sell the house in the future, the conditions of the scheme require you to sell it to another first-time buyer at the same percentage discount you originally bought it for. So, whilst this scheme is a great opportunity to buy your first house at a reduced rate, keep this in mind for if and when you want to move somewhere new in the future, since you may have difficulty affording a new house.
A lifetime individual savings account (LISA) is a savings account where the money can be used towards the deposit of your first home – as long as the property you buy is less than £450,000.
LISAs work by the government contributing 25% of whatever you put into the account, with a limit of £4,000 being the maximum amount you can deposit each tax year (working out as having a maximum potential of £1,000 government contribution each tax year). If you are buying your first home with someone else and they also have a LISA, both of you are at liberty to use your LISA to contribute to the deposit of the property.
An important thing to remember, though, is that the LISA is intended to be used towards a property deposit, therefore if you wish to withdraw money from your LISA for another reason then you will be charged a penalty of 25%.
When it comes to the physical part of moving into your first house, it should come as no surprise that this can be a tedious and lengthy process. One way you can make this process easier? Hire a removals company.
You will be surprised at how much stuff you actually have when you pack everything up ready for a big move, not to mention any new items you’ve bought (such as kitchen and bathroom necessities) ready for your new house. Unless you have access to a large van (which the majority probably don’t) there is a high likelihood that you’d have to make multiple trips to move all your belongings into your new home, which nobody wants in an ideal world – especially if you only have a small car that can’t fit much in or are planning to move far away.
The solution to this is to hire a removals company. In doing so, you can rest assured that all your packed belongings will be appropriately arranged into the moving van and secured so not to be damaged, ready to be transported safely to your new home. All of which can be done in one trip. This takes a lot of time, stress and pressure off you, allowing you to focus on other aspects of the move.
Top Tip: When packing all your belongings, try packing similar objects together and pack them according to the room they would be used in, i.e. marking boxes as ‘kitchen’, ‘bedroom’ or ‘misc.’, as well as labelling any boxes that contain fragile items (remember to wrap these in plenty of bubble wrap, too!) This will make your life much easier when it comes to unpacking again.
Local Removers Essex
Are you a first-time buyer looking for help moving into your new home? Essex Removal Services & Co are the local removers for you.
We offer professional and affordable domestic removal services in Essex, Collier Row and Romford, although we can also transport your possessions globally via our road service or sea-based transportation.