10 top tips for first time buyers in London

By SofiaOctober 8, 2021London's Blogs
Man and woman holding keys to new home

For first time buyers in London, the house buying experience can seem daunting. With the right information, financials, professional support and persistence, you can buy your ideal home in London.

Here are 10 top tips for first time buyers in London to help you make a well-informed purchase decision.

1. Start saving soon

If you’ve made the decision to buy your first home, it’s likely that you have savings already in the bank to get you started. Saving as much money as possible before going into the buying process will help the journey go much smoother. How long it takes to save will depend on how much money you can put aside each month. Setting up direct debits and savings plans will help you stay on track to reach your savings goals.

2. Utilise government schemes

The government has many schemes that support first time buyers to get on the property ladder. Help to Buy ISAs were closed to new accounts in November 2019, but if you opened an account before then, you can continue to save into your account and claim the 25% government bonus by November 2030. A Lifetime ISA gives you a tax-free bonus of up to £1,000 per year which must go towards buying your house.

3. Set your deposit and budget

With your savings and finances in order, you can set your deposit and budget for buying a property. Typically, a deposit ranges from 5%-20% of the property price. The bigger your deposit, the better rate you will get on your mortgage. London house prices are notoriously high, meaning your budget will be significantly higher than house prices elsewhere in the UK. You will also need to consider legal fees, stamp duty, surveys and valuations, and the cost of living in your budget.

4. Get a first time buyers mortgage

Securing a mortgage can seem daunting for first time buyers. Many banks provide free online mortgage calculators to work out how much you can afford to borrow from a mortgage lender. This is calculated based on your income, spending habits, and any debts you may have. After finding out how much you need to borrow, you can get an Agreement in Principle (AiP), which lasts for 90 days, to see if the bank can lend you the amount you require. Once you have your AiP and have found a property you want to purchase, you can directly apply for a mortgage to buy your new home.

5. Research your desired area in London

From Lewisham to Hackney, there are many areas and boroughs you can choose from when buying a property in London. All London areas differ in price depending on demand and location. Choosing an area that’s right for you will depend on your budget, workplace, lifestyle and future plans. It’s also important to factor in lifestyle costs and expenses such as commuting. Visit the areas you’re interested in multiple times and consider any local redevelopment plans that may impact the value of your property.

6. Work with the right professionals

Working with trustworthy and reliable professionals will make sure your first home buying process is as seamless as possible. Your house buying team should include mortgage lenders or a mortgage broker to discuss which mortgage options are available to you. You should register with local estate agents and build good relationships so they keep you top of mind. You will need a surveyor and valuer who will carry out assessments of the property to make sure you have all the information you need to make a purchase decision. A solicitor will support you once an offer has been accepted to check contracts and negotiate with the seller.

7. Get detailed surveys and valuations

Carrying out a property survey and valuation will make sure you’re confident in the property you’re buying. Working with an independent RICS-accredited surveyor like London’s Surveyors and Valuers will ensure you’re getting an unbiased assessment. Different types of surveys will give you different information about your property. Before arranging your survey, you should know what you want to get from the survey and how you want to use the information in your report.

Find out the different types of property surveys and how to arrange one with London’s Surveyors and Valuers.

8. Be efficient and organised

It’s crucial to be organised and stay on top of relevant requirements, documentation, dates and contact numbers. Being aware of milestones and deadlines will make sure the first time buying process is as efficient as possible, and that you can instruct the relevant professionals to proceed with decision making.

9. Be persistent and proactive

For first time buyers, the house buying process rarely happens quickly and easily. Even if you find a property you love, your offer could be rejected by the seller. This can leave you feeling deflated and close to throwing in the towel. Sticking with it, asking questions, chasing updates and being realistic about timeframes will make sure you make the right decision.

10. Enjoy it!

Buying your first home in London is an exciting time in your life, so enjoy it as much as you can. Keeping all of these tips in mind, and using the right professionals to support your journey, will make the house buying experience smooth and enjoyable.

At London’s Surveyors and Valuers, our RICS-accredited team of surveyors and valuers have over 200 years of combined experience. We can deliver bespoke surveys and valuations that give you the knowledge and information you need to make informed decisions about your property.

Complete our contact form and we’ll get back to you to discuss your requirements.

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