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First-time buyer: Top tips

Are you a first-time buyer and unsure of where to start? Buying a home can be a confusing time and it’s often hard to know what steps are involved, and who you need to speak to. We've put together some top tips to help make your move onto the property ladder a bit smoother!


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  • Save for a deposit

    With Shared Ownership you may only need a deposit worth 5% of the share your purchasing. If you're buying 50% of a house valued at £250,000 you could need a deposit of just £6,250 to get onto the property ladder.

    But it’s worth saving as much as you can, a bigger deposit often means better mortgage deals and lower interest rates.

    Saving can be difficult once you take bills and monthly outgoings into account. Look into savings accounts like a Lifetime ISA (LISA) This can be opened by anyone aged between 18 and 39. You can save up to £4,000 a year in it towards your first home, and the government adds a cash bonus of up to £1,000 a year on top.
  • Find out how much money you can borrow

    Arrange to speak to an Independent Mortgage Advisor, they will complete a financial assessment to see how much a mortgage provider will lend you, this amount will depend on the size of your deposit, income and credit score. We have a recommended panel of Independent Financial Advisors and can put you in touch with someone. If you’re buying with other people, the mortgage provider will also take their finances into account.

    Having a good credit score increases your chances of getting a mortgage. You can help boost your credit score by:

    • registering on the electoral roll
    • not missing any direct debit payments
    • Catch up on over-due accounts.

Experian have a helpful blog with more information on how to improve your credit score, read more here: How to Improve Your Credit Score Fast - Experian

  • Research your choses area

    If you're moving to a new area, we we'd recommend visiting in advance to see if you like it. You could even stay overnight in a hotel or B&B to test out your commute to work, check out the nearest schools, shops, restaurants and cafes, to get a real feel for what life would be like.

  • Choose your new home

    Once you’ve found the perfect are it’s time to find your dream home. We have a range of both new build and resale houses and apartments available throughout the south and south west of England. Use our ‘Find a home’ search function to discover your dream home today. 

  • Reserving your new home  

    You’ve found your dream home and completed a financial assessment with an Independent Mortgage Advisor, so what’s next? Our friendly Sales Executive will talk you through the reservation process to take the property off the market and start your purchase. This includes paying a reservation fee of £500 that will be taken of the price of the property.  

  • Appointing a Solicitor

    Appoint a Solicitor, who will work on your behalf throughout the homebuying process, including the conveyancing and legal paperwork. You can use a Solicitor of your choosing, or we can put you in touch with one of our recommended Solicitors to help you buy your new home.

  • Applying for a Mortgage

    You'll need to think about what type of mortgage you want to apply for and how long you want to spend paying it off. Your Mortgage Advisor will be able to help with this. 
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  • Find a removal company

    If you don't have a lot of furniture to move, you could hire a removal van and do it yourself, but if you have a lot to move a removal company can help make the process a lot easier. Once you’ve found a company you like, remember to check their availability before agreeing a completion date.

  • Exchange of contracts

    The exchange of contracts is when the buyer and seller's Solicitor’s swap signed contracts and you pay your deposit through your solicitor, prior to this a completion date will be agreed usually within two weeks. Once contracts are exchanged, the agreement to buy the property is legally binding so the chances of it falling through from this moment are very low.

  • Completion day

    Congratulations, it's moving day! On completion day, the money will be transferred to the seller, and you can then collect your keys. If you’re buying with Abri Homes, we’ll be in touch before the completion day to let you know how and when we’ll give you the keys.

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