5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid, by Matt Stevens
During last year in the UK, first-time buyers made up 32 percent of all home buyers, and those who bought during the pandemic regretted how much they paid. Nearly a quarter of them paid a higher price compared to the year before. Making such a big commitment as buying your prospective home should not be the result of pressured and rushed decisions. You should be extra cautious, anticipating and avoiding these 5 first time buyer mistakes.
1. Failing to Check your Credit Score.As a first time buyer, one of the main steps when buying a house is to make sure that your credit score is spot on. A higher score means your application will more likely be accepted, and lenders will offer you better rates because you are low risk. Your credit score is calculated based on different information and criteria. Some of these variables are how much you own, how often you applied for credit and if the payments are made on time. To improve your score you can follow these pieces of advice:
- Register on the electoral roll at your current address.
- Build up your credit score history, for example by getting a credit card.
- Pay off your credit account on time.
- Keep to your credit utilisation law.
- Only borrow what you can afford.
2. Saving up too Little.Buying a house is much more than just the mortgage. One of the myths is that you will need 10% of the value (5% if you are buying it through a scheme). But this percentage will depend on your annual income and expenses as well as other variables depending on the lender, so sometimes this value could go up or down. You’ll also need to have in mind other additional costs such as getting a valuation, legal fees, house survey and on top of that, you should also consider the expenses you’ll have as a homeowner such as contents insurance, building insurance, council tax, among others. Based on statistics, the average monthly cost of buying a house during 2020 was £753. Spending all of your savings at once is one of the first time buyers' mistakes. Instead it is better to have at least three to six months of living expenses in a fund, even after you close the deal.
3. Not Getting an Agreement in Principle.Many buyers get caught up in the excitement of buying their dream home and start viewing before getting an agreement in principle from their lender. An agreement in principle is a certificate which shows how much money your lender will be likely to let you borrow. Knowing this in advance will help you establish your budget, so you will not fall for a house that you may not be able to get the loan for. In the current competitive market, not having an agreement could mean the loss of a property you are bidding for. So, before you fall in love with a house you’ve been eyeing up, make sure to get your pre-approval. This will send the message that you are a serious buyer with your credit and finances in order, which will make you a good candidate to get a mortgage.
4. Choosing the Wrong Type of Mortgage for You.When it comes to mortgages, it is best to take extra time making sure you gather all the documentation that you’ll need to determine whether or not you qualify for a mortgage and what mortgage will suit you. There are different types of mortgages on the market:
- Fixed-rate: These mortgages give you the same monthly payment until the agreed date, no matter what happens to interest rates in the market. It normally works in periods of 2,3 and 5 years.
- Tracker mortgages: In this case, the mortgage is based on the Bank of England’s Base Rate, and rises and falls along with it. The periods differ between “lifetime” and 2 or 3 years.
- Standard Variable Rate (SVR): The rates in a SVR are decided by your lender. Normally you’ll start with a fixed-rate or tracker mortgage period, and once it ends, you’ll move onto a SVR.