Consider government schemes

The Help to Buy ISA, Help to Buy London, Equity Loan, and Shared Ownership are all government backed schemes aimed at helping people get on the property ladder.

Shared ownership is less well known, but is a great way of buying a home if you can’t afford the mortgage on 100% of a home. With shared ownership, you can purchase a percentage of the property (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. You can buy larger shares later on if you can afford it.

You can browse our shared ownership properties here.

Use a local estate agent

Estate agents that are based in the local area will of course know a lot about it – and its many benefits. They will know the transport links, the best schools, and what the property market is like in the area. This will be extremely beneficial when buying your property; after all, you’re not just buying a home, but the area it’s in too.

Be realistic about your budget

Before you even look for a property, it’s important to set a budget. You’ll need to make sure you can afford your monthly repayments to have your mortgage approved, and the checks have become stricter. Lenders will not only check if you can afford the repayments in your current financial situation, but will also ‘stress test’ to see if you will still be able to afford it if inflation rates go up, or if your circumstances change (e.g having a baby).

Budget for the other costs

As well as the mortgage, you’ll also need to factor in:

  • Survey costs
  • Solicitor’s fees
  • Removal costs
  • Buildings insurance
  • Furniture and decoration
  • Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees
  • Stamp Duty

Get on the electoral roll

As a precaution against fraud, lenders will check that you’re on the electoral roll when deciding whether or not to lend to you. So if you haven’t already, get registered.

Read the small print

When you make an application for a mortgage, be sure to read the small print and make sure everything sounds correct. If you spot an issue after the application has been sent, this could harm your credit rating. Every application you make leaves a record, and lots of applications in a short time period may be a red flag for fraud, resulting in bad credit.

Compare the market

As well as shopping around for your mortgage, make sure you compare property prices in the local area. Have a look at what similar properties were sold for, and how much their prices have changed over the years. This will give you an idea of how much you can sell it for in the future, as well as how much you should be paying now.