The New Year brings a fresh start and an opportunity for change, so it’s no wonder that thousands of first-time buyers get their moving plans into gear in January. If getting on the property ladder is your New Year’s resolution, here’s how to take your first step.
Saving up that crucial deposit could well be the most challenging part of the journey, so it’s important to know exactly what your savings goal is. Depending on your location, you may need to save for a deposit of at least 5% of the property price, which means you’ll also need a 95% mortgage. However, if you can afford to aim higher, a bigger deposit means you’ll be offered a mortgage with a lower interest rate, and seeing as interest rates have yet to recover from 2023’s economy, having a larger deposit could be crucial to securing a house in 2024.
Saving for a deposit is one thing, but there are a few additional costs that need to be factored into your overall budget. From conveyancing fees and surveys to removal companies, the finer details can add up quickly, so you must be prepared for them. 2023 saw permanent cuts to Stamp Duty land tax for first-time buyers, so at least there’s one less thing to add to the list.
If you’re eligible for a chance to top up your savings – which most first-time buyers are – don’t miss out on your opportunity to receive a helping hand. Government schemes are designed to help you get your foot onto the ladder faster, with some schemes offering a 25% bonus on your house savings. The government often provides incentives and schemes to support first-time buyers. Stay informed about initiatives such as Help to Buy, shared ownership, or stamp duty exemptions that may apply to your situation. Your estate agent can guide you through the application process and maximise the benefits available to you.
Once your deposit and budget are at the ready, you’ll be able to gauge how much you can borrow. It’s important to speak to a mortgage broker first, as they will be able to advise you on the best deals for your situation, and also the deals that your application is most likely to be approved for. It’s important to note that if you’re buying with another person, both your salaries will be taken into account, as well as the size of your deposit, your credit scores and your monthly outgoings.
Use our mortgage calculator to estimate how much you could borrow.
Getting an agreement in principle will fare well with whoever you’re buying from, as this shows that you’re a reliable applicant. In 2024, mortgage options are expanding, and finding the right one is essential. Research various mortgage products, interest rates, and repayment terms before making any decisions.
With your budget and financing in place, it's time to start the exciting journey of finding your dream home. Clearly define your priorities, such as location, property size, and amenities. Utilise online platforms, virtual tours, and expert advice from your estate agent to streamline your property search and find the perfect match.
Make this year one to remember. Contact your local Guild Member to help you get started on your journey towards homeownership.