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5 practical steps first-time buyers can take to make putting in an offer smoother

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Viewing properties when you’re searching for your first home is exciting. Yet, first-time buyers might also be unsure about the steps they could take to prepare to make buying a home smoother. Read on to learn five practical steps that could help you.

There are still lots of challenges many first-time buyers face when they’re stepping onto the property ladder. However, falling house prices could present you with an opportunity.

After years of climbing prices affecting mortgage affordability and how much deposit you need to save, high interest rates mean average prices are starting to fall.

The Halifax House Price Index found the average house price was almost £280,000 in September 2023 after it fell by around £14,000 over 12 months.

If you’re hoping to buy your first home in the coming months, here are some factors that could make your offer more attractive to sellers.

1. Apply for an agreement in principle

An agreement in principle gives you an indication of how much you can borrow through a mortgage. You can usually complete an application online and it won’t show up on your credit report.

While an agreement in principle doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to borrow the same amount when you apply for a mortgage, it’s useful for two reasons. It can:

  1. Help you set a realistic budget when you’re searching the property market

  2. Give the seller confidence that your offer is less likely to fall through.

Some estate agents may ask if you have an agreement in principle when you book a viewing or put in an offer.

A mortgage broker can help you secure an agreement in principle and offer advice about which lenders could be right for you.

2. Have your deposit ready

Selling a home can be a long process. Demonstrating that you’re in a position to buy the property with minimal delays could help your offer stand out.

Typically, first-time buyers will need a minimum deposit of 5% of the property’s value.

You won’t need to send the money until you exchange contracts with the seller and set a completion date. However, some estate agents may ask for proof you have the necessary deposit when reviewing your offer.

If some or all your deposit is a gift, is it possible to transfer the money to your account now? It could make buying a home smoother.

3. Let sellers know you’re a first-time buyer

Being a first-time buyer can put you in an attractive position as your purchase of the property isn’t dependent on the sale of another.

That means the process might be quicker and there’s less chance of the sale falling through. So, a seller may be persuaded to accept your offer over others if they’ve received a lot of interest.

4. Respond to queries promptly

When you’re buying a house, there will be a lot of steps you need to take, from applying for a mortgage to signing paperwork from your conveyancer. While not always avoidable, delays can be frustrating and make the process more stressful.

So, showing that you’ll be easy to work with could sway sellers in your favour.

Whether you’re responding to a question from the estate agent or a counteroffer from the seller, reply as promptly as you can.

Buying a home can be a big decision, and you may want time to review your options. Letting the seller know when you’ll be able to give them an answer could be a useful way to prevent frustration if they’re waiting for a response.

5. Have a conveyancer lined up

A conveyancer is a type of solicitor specialising in property. They’ll handle the legal aspects of buying a home for you, including drawing up the documents that will transfer the property to you.

Engaging with a conveyancer before you put in an offer can, again, show you’re ready to buy a property and reduce potential delays.

We can help you assess which mortgage lender is right for you

As a first-time buyer, applying for a mortgage can be stressful and you might have a lot of questions like:

  • Which mortgage lender should I use?

  • Which type of mortgage is right for me?

  • How will the interest rate affect my repayments?

We can help guide you throughout the process. As a mortgage broker, we’ll work with you to assess your mortgage needs and understand which options may be right for you. We’ll be on hand to offer advice and answer questions as you apply for a mortgage and purchase your first home.

If you’d like to talk to us about your mortgage, please get in touch to arrange a meeting.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

5 practical steps first-time buyers can take to make putting in an offer smoother

Approved by The Openwork Partnership on 09/10/2023.