Buying a home is often the biggest investment you’ll ever make — but too often people only think of the amount of money involved. They forget that you’ll also invest a huge amount of time into the process.

While we can help you save money in the long run by finding you the best property deals, we can also save you valuable time by equipping you with the right knowledge before you enter the market.

Our door is always open if you’d like to discuss buying a residential property, but to get you thinking in the meantime, we have selected some questions that many people have asked us about buying homes. Have a read, and if you’d like us to follow up on any of these topics, why not speak to us in person?

Before anything, your first step should be to establish your budget. Get in touch with your bank and schedule an appointment with a mortgage broker. They will be able to figure out how much you can borrow and at what rates, so you can be better prepared in terms of saving for a deposit.

Once you know how your finances stand, you should begin to look at websites and property portals to get an idea of the homes and the neighbourhoods within your budget. Start thinking about what you’d like in your home, as well as non-negotiables. These are different for every buyer – you might think outdoor space is essential, while another buyer might be more interested in location.

Generally, as a first-time buyer you will need to have a deposit of 10% of the purchase price from your savings. The maximum mortgage you can get for a property is 90%. You will also have to budget for legal fees, surveys, and other outlays.

Either bank mortgage brokers or independent mortgage brokers can arrange for you to apply for a mortgage. You will need to provide details of your income and other relevant information, such as other loans you might have.

There are various schemes home buyers can take advantage of to help offset the cost of buying. For example, if you’re purchasing a new home, you can apply for the Help-to-Buy Scheme. Visit our New Homes FAQs to learn more!

Initially, you will receive Approval in Principle (AIP), which means it's time to start house hunting. Set up alerts on property portal websites, so you know when new homes within your budget come to the market first. Have your list of negotiables and essentials ready, so you can be discerning about homes you want to view.

Be ready to set aside a few Saturdays to attend open viewings. At an open viewing, an agent will take you through the home and answer any questions you may have. They will also be your point-of-contact if you’ve found ‘the one’ and want to place a bid.

Get in touch with the selling agent. You can submit your offer either verbally or in writing. Bear in mind the name of the game is negotiation – you might end up in a bidding situation with multiple bids. As discussed earlier, you will still have to pay legal fees and surveys.

Offers submitted are on the basis that they are subject to contract, survey and formal loan approval.

If you do find yourself in a bidding situation, or one in which your bid has not been accepted, you should have an opportunity to make a counter or higher offer.

A good estate agent will be key here. Ask them to let you know of any offers received from other bidders, and if the final offer comes from another buyer, remind the agent that you are ready to buy and ask them to include you on their database for any other similar properties that come to the market. They might even know of a home you haven’t seen or thought about, one that could be perfect for your and your family!

There are a few steps left before you can call the moving van! You’ll first send a booking deposit to the estate agent. This is refundable until contracts are signed. From there, your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor will get in touch to hammer out contract details.

You’ll want to arrange a survey of the property before signing contracts, to ensure that the home you want to move into doesn’t have any hidden concerns. Once you have the OK from your surveyor, it’s time to exchange contracts, get the keys and pop open a bottle of bubbly – you’re ready to move in!

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