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Before you buy your first house

Buying your first house and committing to your first mortgage are big steps. It is currently a very difficult time to be getting on to the property ladder and there is therefore much to be considered. You should expect to need a large deposit and be prepared for vigorous credit checks from mortgage providers. It is a good idea to ensure that you've done some homework and considered your monthly repayments - an online mortgage calculator can help with this.

A mortgage calculator will help you gauge the amount you can borrow and show you what your monthly payments are likely to be. Be honest with yourself as to how much you can afford.

There are a number of factors driven by the current economic climate which are making it more difficult for first-time buyers. However, if you are serious and financially aware, then there is no reason why you shouldn't put in that offer on your first home.

Remember to take into account extra costs such as repairs and maintenance your home may need, as well as estate-agent fees, van hire, legal fees and buildings and contents insurance.

Joint Ownership

If you can't afford a house on your own, buying with friends or family members is a good way to get yourself on the property ladder. All costs can be shared, including the deposit and other initial payments. Ownership can be shared by up to four people.

Make sure that all parties will be able to meet their monthly repayments. This is where a mortgage calculator can help again. Be realistic about the repayments and don't be tempted to overstretch yourself.

While this can be a good way to buy your first home, you will need certain safeguards. It is highly advisable to draw up a legally binding agreement between all of the parties in case circumstances change. This will avoid disputes and arguments further down the line.

When buying a house as a joint venture there are different types of ownership. This will be a factor in deciding what would happen if someone changes their mind or if their personal circumstances change later on. You should also consider what would happen if you or any of the other joint buyers dies.

Buying a New House

Buying a newly built property can also be a great way to get started. Developers often offer good deals, such as paying for your stamp duty or contributing to your deposit. Fixtures and fixings such as carpets and curtains are often included in the price of a new house.

Buying a newly built home should also ensure that you will not face any hefty repair or maintenance bills for a few years.

 

Check that your builders are reputable. They should ideally be registered with the National House Building Council (NHBC), which will provide a warranty on certain aspects of the construction. Make sure you read your warranty carefully and understand what it covers.

The warranty on your new-build is not a substitute for buildings insurance - this is essential for any house and contents insurance is also highly advisable.

Interest rates are currently at an all-time low but there is every chance that they may increase in the future. Consider getting a flexible mortgage and making some overpayments now while the rates are low. This will help protect you against future rate rises.