First Time Buyer – Part Two

First Time Buyers – Part Two

Once you have sorted your mortgage as a first time buyer, the next step is the exciting part – viewing houses! The best tip to take on board when it comes to looking at your homes of choice, is to try and have an open mind and not be too restrictive on the types of houses you look at. The more houses you view means you can gauge a good understanding of the market and what’s on offer, therefore, you are likely to establish the type of property you see yourself living in. When you do find a house you’d like to put an offer on, it’s a good idea to take people you trust with you to see the house before you sign on the dotted line, as they can offer a different perspective and perhaps a different viewpoint that you haven’t thought about before. With the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be unable to take other people to the property. However, a lot of estate agents are offering virtual viewings, so now is a good opportunity to take those in abundance.

What do you need to ask the estate agent about the property you are interested in?

It’s important you gather as much information as you can on the property you’d like to put an offer on and the estate agent will be the best person to ask. As a first time buyer, it can be difficult to know what you should ask in the first place, but the following would be a good place to start:
  • How long has the property been on the market for? – This allows you to gauge how high or low you can offer. If your property has been on the market for a while, it’s a good idea to ask why this is the case
  • What’s the seller’s situation? –  It’s good to know if they have found a property to move into as you will need to gauge if there’s going to be a chain and how complicated this chain could potentially be.

How much should you offer for a house?

Once you have found the house you love, it’s time to put in an offer. When you’re going to put in an offer, it’s a good idea to research the area the house is in and how much other houses in the same area and even on the same road have previously sold for. From this, you can then gauge how much the property you are interested in is worth and the region your offer needs to be in for optimum success potential. It’s always a good idea to offer below the asking price for the property, as if you enter with the asking price, the sellers are then much more likely to push you higher – which could potentially cause you to pay thousands more for the property unnecessarily. On average, it’s best to offer around 10% below the asking price as your first initial offer. We also recommend having a price in mind that you don’t want to go above because it can be easy to get carried away and keep going higher and higher with your offer. Before you know it, you could be offering amounts that are considerably above your budget.

What happens after your offer has been accepted?

Once your offer has been accepted, your estate agent is likely to ask you for a few things – a copy of your decision in principle from your mortgage lender and they will also need a copy of your identification. It’s at this point that you will also need to instruct your solicitor (it’s important to note that lenders generally have a panel of solicitors that they will work with, so it’s best to check with your mortgage advisor or your lender that the solicitor that you want to use is on their panel). When all of this has been complete, you will then need to submit your mortgage application.


When you submit your mortgage application, your lender will want to carry out a survey on the property to ensure it’s suitable for your and your mortgage. This is a very basic survey and is usually free of charge, so it’s a good idea to also organise your own survey on the property alongside this one. There are various levels of surveys you can access. The next ‘level’ up from the basic survey is called a home buyers survey and the ‘top’ level survey you can have carried out on the property is called a structural survey. The level of survey you go for will largely depend on the type of property you are looking to buy and your surveyor can advise on the most suitable survey for your house in particular.

The Review

Once the survey has come back to the mortgage lender, all the components of the process will be reviewed by an underwriter and as long as everything matches up, you will receive a mortgage offer. Your solicitors will then conduct searches and inquiries on your property, which usually takes around 4 weeks as they will need to gather all the information they require from the local council. Once they have done all their checks, you will then exchange contracts, complete on the property and receive your keys!