The Most Common Questions Asked By First-Time Buyers

Buying property for the first time can seem like a daunting task for many people, and with good reason too. After all, it is probably the largest purchase you will make in your life. As such, the process is usually accompanied by plenty of questions before the actual purchase is made. Whether it’s regarding new property developments or an old build, here are some of the most common questions asked by first-time buyers.

How much can I afford to borrow as a first-time buyer?

While this might seem like a very straightforward question, there are plenty of first-time buyers who aren’t sure about how much they can actually borrow. Although there is no simple answer to this query, it will in large part depend on what your income is – or your joint income, if you are looking to take out a mortgage with someone else.

Generally speaking, lenders will allow you to borrow 3-5 times the value of your annual salary for a mortgage. However, your credit score and previous borrowing history will also play a part in not only how much you can afford to borrow, but how much a bank will be willing to lend you.

You can borrow 3-5 times the value of  your annual salary for a mortgage

To work out how much you can afford to borrow, consider not only the amount you want to borrow but also the length of your mortgage as this will affect your monthly repayments. It is also worth remembering not to stretch yourself too thin when it comes to your mortgage, as you never know how your finances will look in the future, and you do not want to risk having your home repossessed.

What is included in the final sale price?

While this is an important question to ask, it’s one that isn’t simple to answer as there is no definite list of items which should be included in the final sale price of a property. This is why it is so important that you clarify what you are getting for your money before finalising the sale, to avoid any disappointment.

A row of colourful homes in Britain

It is also worth asking what the owners are willing to leave behind as this can save you a lot of money in the long run, especially when it comes to big-ticket items like white goods. Keep in mind, that sellers will often want to take easily moveable features and items with them, which could leave your new home looking far empties that you might expect.

How do I find the right area to buy a property in?

A big part of buying your first property is finding the right area to make this purchase in, especially as you are likely to be living there for quite a number of years. Of course, the right area will very much depend on what your needs are. For example, if you have a young family, then the right area for you might be one with highly-rated primary and secondary schools nearby. On the other hand, if your job is in the city, you will likely be looking for properties in areas which offer an easy commute.

What is a homebuyer survey?

A homebuyer survey is one of the multiple surveys offered by the Royal Institute of Chartered (RICS). A briefer version of the RICS Building Survey, the RICS Homebuyer Survey is used to assess the condition of the property you are looking to purchase.

Investing in a homebuyer survey can help you avoid much larger costs further down the line by ensuring that the property is in acceptable condition and has no major faults.

Investing in a homebuyer survey can help you avoid much larger costs further down the line by ensuring that the property is in acceptable condition and has no major faults. The survey will be able to identify any structural issues, including damp.

As it is a non-intrusive inspection of the property, if you are looking to buy a house which needs a more thorough inspection, including the electrics, then you should invest in a full building survey.

How much is the stamp duty?

Many first-time buyers still ask this question, despite the fact that they are no longer liable for stamp duty when purchasing a home with a value of less than £300,000. Normally, whenever a property or a piece of land is sold, the buyer is liable for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, first-time buyers are now exempt from this so you will have nothing to pay unless your property is valued at over £3000,000.

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