Getting on the property ladder

Andrew Bradshaw 10

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial commitments you can undertake. It can be time-consuming, expensive and frustrating. The path to buying your first home can be made easier with the right advice and information. Here are some tips from Andrew Bradshaw, Director of Bradshaws Residential on getting onto the property ladder.

The first and most important step in a property purchase is determining how much you can spend, which depends on how much you borrow, which should always depend on how much you can afford. Traditional mortgages calculate loan limits at around three and-a-half times the main earner's income before tax, plus one times any second earner's income, although the affordability measures used by some lenders are perhaps more realistic as they take into account additional costs, such as dependents and debts. The important thing in budgeting is not to get carried away. Interest rates can and will go up, so don’t push your limits. Make sure you shop around and compare deals. Look at the lenders' standard variable rate as well as their starting offer. The variable rate is what you will move on to. The lower it is, the less likely you are to end up with a big jump in payments.

You also need to work out the costs of buying a home, which will inevitably be more than you expect. Figures vary around the country, but the contributing factors are the same. Costs will include mortgage arrangement fees, property valuation, surveys, legal and conveyance fees, stamp duty, land registry transfer and local authority search fees. You will also need building insurance, contents insurance, and once you move in there will be gas and electricity bills, council tax and water rates, ground rent and possibly service charges. Be realistic about the costs and budget accordingly.

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Once your budget is established it’s time for you to start looking. Use an agent you trust and be methodical in your viewings. Take notes and don’t be sidetracked by colour schemes or furnishings. Once you are sure, it is time to put in an offer. Remember that first-time buyers with finance in place have considerable bargaining power, as they are chain-free. If you can't strike a deal at a price you want – walk away.

For advice on buying or selling a property, please contact Bradshaws Residential, telephone 01223 472011 or visit www.bradshawsresidential.co.uk

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