First Time House Buyer

keys in lock

If you are buying a home for the first time the process can at times seem overwhelming. What are the key stages and steps you should be aware of from the outset?

When you are starting out on the property ladder, buying a house for the first time can seem daunting - so the last thing you want to do is panic. For the majority of us, buying a house or flat is the most expensive thing we will ever do, so it's worth knowing exactly what's involved when starting out.

The following guide is intended to help you through the initial stages of buying a house for the first time by suggesting ways to make the process easier.

You may well be borrowing four times your annual salary, or even more. It will take years to repay the loan, so before starting out you should consider what you can comfortably afford. Once you have worked this out, it's a good idea to decide who your lender will be and the type of mortgage you will opt for. Bear in mind that your repayments do not end with the mortgage and you will also have to find the money for valuations, the cost of a surveyor, removals, taxes, insurance etc.

It is also worth setting aside some money for decorating or carrying out repairs once you have found your dream home. Do your homework and get a general idea of how much builders and decorators in your area charge for their services. You may be surprised at how much the costs of starting out on the property ladder mount up.

When you are planning to buy your first house try to approach it as a business transaction, no matter how emotional you may feel about the prospect of finding your perfect home. The process can be complicated, stressful and time-consuming, so you will need to develop a tough outlook. It will all be worth it once you are settled in your new home.

Before you even start searching, take the time to compile a list of all the things you are looking for in a flat or house. If you are buying with a friend or partner make sure that you are in agreement about what exactly you are looking for. Each time you visit a property, make a note of how many of your desired features it has. Here are a few things you may wish to include on your list of priorities :


  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms required
  • Specific area
  • Secure parking
  • Close proximity to shops, public transport, schools, work etc
  • Garden

When you are viewing a property check if it's near business premises, as you may decide that the location is too noisy or busy. Some lenders may be unwilling to offer you a loan for a house or flat that is in close proximity to business premises and even if they do, you may find that you have to pay more for insurance.

There are several ways to search for your ideal home. You can:

  • Go through an estate agent
  • Look on property websites
  • Look in newspapers
  • Walk or drive around your preferred area and take details of any suitable properties for sale

measurements, photos and other details before you view a property. Ask to be put on the agency's mailing list so you can be kept up-to-date with what is on offer.

If you use the internet you can view and compare the details of a selection of properties before you visit. Some websites contain details of homes offered for private sales, which means you will avoid the cost of an estate agent.

The information included in this article is based on the law applying on 1 January 2005. Please seek your own legal advice for more information regarding your rights.

Useful Websites

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  • Go Direct
    With a mortgage calculator, you can also compare over 5,000 mortgages including fixed, variable and repayment.
  • Calculator
    Offers a range of financial calculators and financial news
  • Estate Agent
    Industry resource directory highlighting letting, purchasing and financing resources.
  • Mortgage Payment Calculator
    Offers calculation software which can be used to estimate monthly payments for a wide variety of home loans.
  • Bad Credit Mortgages
    If you are looking for a mortgage and have bad credit, CCJ's, defaults or other past payment problems than A Mortgage 4 You can help.
  • Find That Mortgage
    The Complete Mortgage Service - specialists in debt consolidation, self cert, adverse credit mortgages and remortgages. Expert advice and quick decisions.
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Further Reading

  • Buying A House Your Options

    When buying a house think of all the ways possible so you get it right for you. Read our simple consumer guides to make sure you don't waste money or time!
  • Buying House Insurance Online

    House insurance is one of the most important things you need to do as a house owner. Check out our guide on how to get the cheapest deals online.
  • First Time Buyers Guide

    Read our first time buyers guide as a way to making sure you know what you're doing! A simple consumers guide from
  • Buying At Car Auctions

    Thought about buying at car auctions? Save money and grab yourself a bargain - if you know what to look for and how to bid right!
  • Buy A House At Auction

    Considered whether to buy at house auction as a way to get a bargain property? Increasingly popular, what are the pitfalls - read our simple consumer guides

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