We have created some helpful guides to ensure that buying your new Tilia home is as simple as possible.

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28 June 2022

Seven things first time buyers need to know

Taking your first steps onto the property ladder means you’re probably feeling a mix of excitement and nerves. To help prepare for the road ahead, we’ve outlined seven top tips that all first time buyers need to know when starting their house buying journey…

1. Understand the Terminology

You may come across unfamiliar words and phrases at various points in the buying process. For instance, what is the difference between leasehold and freehold? What happens on exchange or completion? What does the acronym LTV actually mean? A Santander survey of 2,000 first time buyers revealed that more than two thirds had misunderstood these terms. Don’t fall into the same trap; instead, make sure you seek advice – and consult our glossary of terms for any unfamiliar words and phrases.

Similarly, to ensure you maximise available help for first time buyers, read up on housebuilder incentives and government schemes such as Help to Buy and First Homes. Our first time house buyers’ guide explains all these and more.

2. Get Pre-Qualified

Before you set your heart on your dream home, make sure your finances are in order. An easy way of checking your financial health is to obtain what is termed a ‘soft’ credit check. Be aware that too many credit checks can actually count against you; however your mortgage company can carry out this ‘soft’ version which won’t show on your credit file. This is what mortgage providers will use to assess your viability and is important to get in good shape. Then, talk to a financial advisor, they will be able to give you guidance on first time buyer deposits and any government help for first time buyers, as well as mortgage and savings advice.

Tilia Homes’ Central sales director, Lizzie Burda, adds: “Pre-qualification really helps speed up the process as customers can come prepared, safe in the knowledge of how much they can spend. This keeps expectations realistic and ensures we can focus on finding first time buyers their perfect home.”

3. Understand timescales

There are two ways to buy a new build home, buying something that’s already built and buying something off-plan. If you’re buying a built property, it takes on average around three months to complete the purchase before you move in. If you’re buying off-plan, the timescales might not have been set so you might have to wait for a completion date. However, you will often get the opportunity to personalise your new home by getting involved with the style or design of the property, and ultimately influencing how the finished build will look inside. For more help buying off-plan, visit this page.

4. Know Your Neighbourhood

Make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the location where you want to live, and this means getting out into the neighbourhood you would like to move to. Visit local cafes and pubs, check if there are useful amenities close by such as banks, a doctors’ surgery, post office or hairdressers, understand public transport options, and investigate phone, Wi-Fi and broadband connections. If you’re struggling to decide the right location for your first home, you can consult our handy guide for more advice.

5. Be Realistic About Costs

It can be easy to focus on saving your deposit but don’t forget there are additional costs when buying a house. You’ll need to cover conveyancing fees, surveys and valuations, home insurance, mortgage set-up, and any moving costs. For the majority, a first time buyer Stamp Duty exemption applies, providing the value of the property is less than £300,000. Anything over this is charged at 5% (up to £500,000). The government has a useful Stamp Duty calculator to help you work out any tax owed.

6. Be Timely

Trust your instincts when it’s time to make an offer; don’t be rushed or feel pressured that you might miss out – but equally don’t delay or overthink too much. Once you’ve made a reservation, try to remain as punctual as possible with your timekeeping; reply to solicitor and mortgage lender requests promptly, pay fees on time, be decisive with your choices. This will all keep the buying process running as smoothly as possible, meaning you can move quickly.

7. Ask Questions!

Ask your sales executive anything you’re unclear about; no question is too trivial or repetitive. It’s important you have peace of mind and know exactly what and how you’re buying. If you’ve bought off-plan, ask your developer if they have any nearby developments with a show home that matches your layout so you can view in real life and get a sense of scale. For further help for first time buyers, read our buying guide.

FTB blog 28.6.22

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