New Year, New Home: Get on the property ladder in 2024
First time buyer guide to buying a home in the New Year
The last year has been a really challenging time for prospective buyers, with increasing interest and mortgage rates, the cost of living crisis and the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The property landscape has changed significantly across the UK, presenting many challenges for prospective owners. In turn, it has never been more important for budding buyers to understand the housing options available to them.
Now, as we bid farewell to 2023, it’s likely that people will be looking to the future with many dreaming of finally getting onto the property ladder. If your New Year’s Resolution is to buy your own home, we’ve taken a look at some of the ways you can make it happen!
What are your housing options?
With property prices on the increase and cost of living concerns, many aspiring buyers will be feeling priced out of the property market in the area where they live – but there are alternatives routes to homeownership that could work for you.
At Share to Buy, we offer information about various home-buying products including Shared Ownership, Older Persons Shared Ownership, First Homes, Deposit Unlock, Discount Full Ownership and Discount Market Sale.
There are also plenty of alternative rental options tailored to those who are aiming to get on the housing ladder in the next few years including Intermediate Rent, Rent to Buy and London Living Rent.
Can you afford to buy a home?
Whether you’re buying a home on the open market or through alternative housing schemes such as Shared Ownership, you will likely need to take out a mortgage. You can make sure you’re as prepared as possible by getting your finances in order, looking into your spending habits, and using online tools such as our mortgage calculator to see what might be affordable to you.
As well as raising the required deposit and getting a mortgage, there are other costs that budding buyers will need to factor in when buying their new home such as legal fees, valuation fees and moving costs. It’s therefore crucial to do that research before starting the process and prepare your finances accordingly.
We would also recommend speaking with a specialist financial advisor who will be able to assess your finances and discuss the options best suited to your circumstances.
What type of home do you want?
Buying your first home is likely to be the biggest decision you ever make, and will therefore require a lot of research. On top of comparing house prices, looking into different areas, and choosing a tenure that works for you, you’ll also need to decide which type of property suits your needs best.
Do you want a new-build apartment in a wider development which offers warranties and onsite amenities, or do you prefer the character of an older property in a community which already exists?
On Share to Buy, you can view thousands of property listings all across the country to help you narrow down your search. You can use filters such as tenure, number of bedrooms, location and accessibility to hone in on your ideal property, and can even register to receive alerts when new homes that fit your criteria are announced by email.
What services are available to first time buyers?
Buying your first home can be incredibly daunting, but there are lots of companies and firms offering services to help you on your way.
You may wish to work with a mortgage advisor who can look into your finances and make an assessment on how much you may be able to borrow. They will also be able to provide you with a mortgage offer in principle which proves to sellers that you can afford what’s on the table.
For the legal aspect of buying a home, you will need to appoint a solicitor or conveyancer; we would suggest doing lots of research, including checking reviews from other buyers and getting quotes from multiple companies as the costs can vary greatly between firms. If you choose to buy through Shared Ownership, we recommend using a specialist firm who have experience with the scheme.
How can you prepare to buy your first home?
There’s a number of things you can do to get started on your home-buying journey. As well as researching the different options and types of properties that are available, you may also want to view case studies and testimonials from other buyers who purchased through schemes such as Shared Ownership.
If you’re hoping to get on the property ladder as quickly as possible, one of the best ways to speed up the process is to make sure all of your paperwork is ready to go. Generally, lenders will require a number of supporting documents to accompany your mortgage application, including copies of your ID, proof of address and bank statements.
The team at Share to Buy would like to wish you all a happy start to the New Year! If you have any questions about the buying process, the different types of housing schemes available or any of the services we offer, please reach out to us on Facebook and Instagram.