McPartland Solicitors share their guide to buying a house for first time buyers.

House Buying Process: A Guide For First Time Buyers

For a first-time buyer, purchasing your first home can be a daunting process. From deposits and financial advisors, to solicitor’s fees and stamp duty – there can be a lot to get your head around. In this first-time buyers’ guide, McPartland Solicitors discuss what you need to know so you can unlock the door to your first home.

Why Buy Your Home?

This is the choice that so many first-time buyers face, and the decision isn’t always a simple one either. When you rent a home, you may have more freedom regarding where you live and how long you live there. Also, in most cases you may have fewer outgoings as your landlord should be obliged to fix any issues with the property. However, buying a home also comes with its’ own benefits such as having the option to improve your own home, having flexibility with mortgage choices and making an investment in your own property. For many people, this final point is key. When planning for the future or starting a family, owning a property helps someone feel they are putting down roots rather than simply signing a lease.

Setting Your Sights

If you have decided to make the choice to purchase your own home, it is important that you set a realistic budget.  Sitting down and going through your expenditures and outgoings, as well as meeting with a financial advisor, can help you plan wisely. If you have been considering buying a house for a while, you could already have a deposit saved.  If so, this can help when it comes to finding a home that you love.

Having a larger deposit can give you greater freedom when it comes to meeting with a mortgage advisor, considering a mortgage and interest rates. Once your finances are in order and you have an agreement in principle with a mortgage lender, the house hunting can begin as you will be in a position to put an offer down on a property.

Let’s Get Down to Business

Once you know your budget, you can view properties on the market with the intention to buy. Viewings are important as a first-time buyer as this will give you the opportunity to see the home and decide if you like it.

You may love the images online but try to cast a critical eye over the property. Remember, you are there to ask difficult questions and get a feel for what it would be like to live there. Why not bring someone with you who has been through the process before? A second pair of eyes could see something you may have missed.

If you find a house that you feel you could call a home, make a sensible offer based on what you can afford, and the figures discussed with your financial advisor. If the offer is accepted, it’s time to get down to business. Hiring a solicitor to act in a conveyancing capacity is a wise choice as they will act as an intermediary to ensure that all aspects of the process are completed correctly. At this point, you should contact a surveyor to check the property for any issues that only a trained eye will notice.

The Home Straight?

Assuming all of the previous steps go according to plan, it is time to sign and exchange contracts with the seller. Once this step has been completed, you are now the legal owner of the house – congratulations!

It is usually the case that, as a buyer, you take out insurance for the property to protect it against any damage. It is not a legal obligation, but most mortgage lenders will not let you have the funds unless you insure the property, so bear this in mind. Soon enough, it should be time to collect the keys, move into your new home and unlock the door to your future.

The house buying process can be lengthy and can even make the most seasoned of home buyers nervous. At McPartland Solicitors, we can guide you as you go down the path to owning your first home. Contact our offices in Lurgan or Lisburn and talk to a member of the team to find out how we can help you.