Our guide for first time buyers

26th June 2018 posted in BUYERS

Making the decision to own your own home can be a daunting but exciting proposition, hopefully our advice and guidance will offer clarity and direction.

Rent or buy

You may be in rented accommodation and already know, but a lot of people looking to move into their own home make the mistake of thinking that rented accommodation is more affordable (after the deposit situation is dealt with) than buying. With current interest rates being so low, recent reports show that on average, mortgages are cheaper than rent for the same property.

Being able to afford to buy

The biggest stumbling block for most first time buyers is the deposit required. Although there are 95% mortgages available, the larger deposit you have, the better interest rate you’ll be offered. According to the Council of Mortgage lenders, 46% of first time buyers under 30 receive substantial help from relatives or the ‘bank of mum and dad’ to get them onto the property ladder. If you do only have a 5% deposit, don’t let this put you off. Speak to your nearest Country Properties office for mortgage quotes and free advice. Finding out what your financial parameters are before you go any further is essential.

Its not just because the monthly costs could be lower

There is pride in owning your home. You can decorate it to your own tastes, attach permanent fixtures and if you have a garden, lay it out to suit your needs. You can invest in it, don’t look for short term gains but long term, it will be an increasing asset. If nothing else, on a repayment mortgage you are reducing your debt, whereas with rent, it is dead money. Owning your own home also means you are there for as long as you want to be. With rent, there is always the risk the landlord will ask you to vacate at the end of the tenancy period.

Time to look – get busy

The major portals (like Rightmove) is where a lot of people start their search but be aware, some properties are viewed by potential buyers even before they go ‘live’ on the internet. Why is this? Because the moment proactive agents take on properties, they immediately contact their active potential purchasers before they even write up the details. So bearing this in mind, after you have carried out your initial research and have decided roughly the location you would like to live, make yourself busy and register with all the agents in that location. Make sure they call you if they take on something that would fit your price range. We say price and not ‘criteria’ because our advice is to be told of everything in your price band, you are then the decision maker - you can always say no thank you.

Get to see as many properties as you feel is necessary to enable you to achieve an understanding of local house prices. By the time you are ready to commit you ought to be fully acquainted with what is realistic for your requirements.

The right property

Location, location. You have probably heard that before and to a degree, it is true. A good tip is to think ahead as to when the time might come that you would want to sell it, does it have things about it that would either enhance or detract from it’s desirability and hence saleability. Generally, most buyers have to make compromises; it is not often that people find the absolutely perfect property. If you think you have found ‘the one’, view it a second or third time, maybe at different times of the day – just to make certain. Once you make an offer and it is accepted, you’ll then be investing money into the purchase, changing your mind at a later date could become costly.

Making an offer

Don’t be afraid to make an offer, the saying ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ is very true. Obviously if there are several potential buyers interested in the property then there is less likelihood of a low offer being accepted. The national average of offer levels being accepted is between 4-5% of the asking price.

What happens next

Once you have an offer accepted you can then apply for your mortgage and instruct a solicitor to handle the legal conveyance. The estate agent at this stage will write to all parties confirming the sale and purchase details.


The time it takes before you exchange contracts can vary greatly depending upon the chain you are involved in (where the seller is moving to etc). In a very straight forward scenario where the first time buyer is buying a property that offers vacant possession (no upward chain) then exchange of contracts normally would take place in a timescale of between 6-8 weeks with a completion date (when you take possession) of between 14-28 days thereafter.

Further Information

For any further information please do not hesitate in contacting any of our friendly staff who will be more than happy to explain things further.