Tips for First Time Buyers

Property Viewing, Affordability

first time buyer advice
  • You need to be realistic when calculating how much you can afford. Don't forget that there are expenses other than just the purchase price; you will need money for a property valuation, mortgage fees, solicitors' fees and stamp duty. Even newly built houses need furniture / furnishings and older properties may need maintenance work carried out such as redecorating or on the more extreme side, rewiring of electrics, re-flooring or tiling.
  • It is a good idea to take an experienced home buyer with you when viewing a property such as a parent or friend that already owns a property. Their experience means they may be able to spot a number of details you may not have thought to check. If you aren't able to take an experienced person with you at the time, you can always arrange a second viewing to take them.

Utilities & the local area

first time buyer tips
  • You should make a list of the local amenities that are important to you such as schools, restaurants, shops, sports centres, cinemas or parks. Before making a decision to buy, you should look around the area and find out where and how far these facilities are.
  • If this is your first time living on your own, make sure you budget for household expenses such as gas, electric, water, council tax, phone & internet, central heating and general maintenance & repair. You will be surprised how quickly these can add up. To help with you budget, you can always try our Mortgage Affordability Calculator to give you a rough idea.
  • The amount of council tax you'll have to pay depends on the area the property is in, the type of property and your local authority. You should establish what council tax band your property falls under so you can see how much council tax you'll need to pay. Your estate agent will be able to tell you what band the property falls under when you view the property.
  • If you use the internet a lot or need to use a specific mobile phone operator, you should check to see that broadband is available where you are moving to and that the you particular mobile phone reception is adequate in the area.
  • Even if you don't have any children, you should consider that a property local to good schools will always be much easier to sell on due to the greater demand. However, you may also pay a higher purchase price for such a property.


first time buyer guide
  • If possible, you should try to find a property near to your place of work as commuting can be one of the biggest household expenses. A slightly more expensive property that is closer to work could save you money in the long term. If you know of a colleague that lives nearby that drives, consider the option of travelling together to reduce your expense.
  • You should consider how your regular travel arrangements will alter when you move in to your new house. If you travel by public transport, your fare may increase if you plan to move further away and should be included in your budget. If you own a car, your insurance may increase if you are moving to an area with a higher crime rate or will be leaving your car parked on the road instead of on a driveway or in a locked garage. If you travel by bicycle, you should see how 'cycle friendly' the roads are (i.e. cycle paths).
  • Check the availability of public transport services. You should find out the local bus routes, the distance to your nearest train station, the frequency of trains and even the where your nearest airport is. Even if you rarely use public transport and drive everywhere, this information could be useful for anyone coming to visit you.

Related Topics

  1. First time buyer
  2. First time buyer mortgage calculator

For more information about 'First Time Buyer Advice', you can call us on 020 8783 1337 or submit an online quote.