Hey everyone! So it’s been a little over two months since Ollie and I reserved our new house so we are well into the buying process now. We’re currently choosing our options and it’s so much fun – it’s honestly like playing Sims but in real-life. We get to decide what kitchen worktops we want, cupboards, flooring, carpets and much more so it’s a lot to consider. I’ll write another blog post about the options process once we’ve finalised them but for now, here’s what our new house currently looks like!
I’ve learnt a lot so far about the house buying process and how to get onto the property ladder. It can be so overwhelming so here are my 5 tips on what to consider when buying a new build:
Speak to a Financial Advisor
It goes without saying that you need to 100% make sure that your finances are in order before considering buying a house. If you think you’ve saved enough for a deposit and you are pretty certain that you will be able to meet the mortgage repayments, speak to a Financial Advisor. When we sat down with Simon from Four Stages Finance, we felt re-assured that we were definitely making the right decision. Simon went through the whole house buying process, what to expect, how mortgages work and was more than happy to answer any of our questions (we had a lot!). Your Financial Advisor will take care of your mortgage application for you so you don’t need to worry about any of the technical stuff. Sometimes you’ll have to pay your Financial Advisor for their time but many don’t require you to pay anything as they get paid on commission.
Which house builder?
There are so many house builders to choose from nowadays – some good and some not so good. I’d recommend thoroughly researching each house builder that you are interested in before jumping in. Read the reviews online, find out about their customer service and ask friends and family about their experiences with buying from different house builders. As I said in my last post, we were certain that we were going to buy with Redrow but after an unpleasant experience with their customer service, we quickly started looking elsewhere. There are so many fantastic house builders out there so do your research and go and visit as many sites as possible to get a real feel for the quality of their homes, the development and their customer service!
Location, Location, Location!
Be open-minded about the location of your new home. When we were first looking, I was dead set on staying in the middle of Exeter. Ollie and the rest of my family kept telling me to consider looking elsewhere but I wasn’t having any of it for ages! I love Exeter, it really does feel like my home so I was really keen to stay. However, I soon came to realise that it was just unrealistic. House prices in the middle of the city are extortionate and way out of our price range so I slowly conformed to the idea that we would need to look on the outskirts. Now that we’ve found a lovely home, it really doesn’t bother me that I won’t be living in Exeter anymore. Sure, I’ll definitely miss it, but I see it as an exciting new adventure and it will be nice to live in a new location.
Help to Buy scheme
I would highly recommend using the government’s Help to Buy scheme if you are buying a new build house. Both first time buyers and existing home owners can use this scheme which makes it so much easier for you to take that first step or progress up the property ladder. By using the scheme, you only have to put down a 5% deposit. The government will then give you a 20% equity loan and the remaining 75% is covered by the mortgage. It just makes owning your own home so much more achievable. You have to pay off the government loan eventually but only when you come to sell the property. Find out more about the Help to Buy scheme here.
Help to Buy ISA
Want even more help from the government? Open a Help to Buy ISA. If you are saving for your first home, save the money into a Help to Buy ISA and the government will boost your savings by 25%. For every £200 you save, you’ll get £50 from the government. The maximum bonus you can get is £3,000. There’s no catch, you don’t need to pay this money back, it’s simply a way of rewarding people for saving for their first home and it can be a great helping hand! What’s more, if you are a couple, both of you can have Help to Buy ISAs and can use both bonuses to put towards your house. Find out more about the Help to Buy ISA here.
I hope these 5 tips have been helpful and if you have any questions, please just leave them in the comments below!