Buying a home for the first time can be a pretty daunting experience. After all, for most of us, it will be the biggest, most expensive thing we’ve ever bought and not something to be rushed into.
Look at it like this, if you were thinking about buying an engagement ring, you would talk to a jeweler right? So, if you’re thinking about buying a home, you should talk to a mortgage specialist. This will help you get a clear idea of all your options – and it costs nothing.
There are a number of steps you will need to follow on the road to your first home. Actually there’s ten. Sounds like a lot, but knowing them really helps. Here they are.
- Step 1 – Work out what you can afford
- Step 2 – Think about where you want to live and what you really need in a home
- Step 3 – Get all your documents in order
- Step 4 – Find somewhere you like / make an offer
- Step 5 – Offer gets accepted
- Step 6 – Choose a solicitor
- Step 7 – Getting a survey done
- Step 8 – Get the right insurance
- Step 9 – Exchanging contracts
- Step 10 – Move in
Before starting your search for your new home, it’s really important to understand what size of mortgage you can afford. There are plenty of mortgage calculators available these days and these are a big help in working out your potential monthly repayments.
Second step – Think about where you want to live and what you really need in a home
This is the exciting bit. Once you have a good idea of how much you can afford, you can start looking properly. Its time to start thinking about what is important to you. Think about location, how many bedrooms you need, how far is it from work, what are the schools like and what kind of parking you need etc.
Third step – Get all your documents in order
This is something people often haven’t thought about. Your lender will need to see photo id, proof of income, proof of address and statements relating to any other loans you have. Get them ready from the start and this will make the process as smooth as possible down the line.
Fourth step – Find somewhere you like and make an offer
This one can be nerve-wracking, but it’s exciting too. You’ve found a house you love. You make the offer. You wait. Once your offer has been accepted, it will be confirmed in writing but the property isn’t officially yours until contracts are exchanged and the money’s been paid over.
Fifth step – Offer gets accepted
Once your offer has been accepted it’s important to move fast as mortgages can take a few weeks to sort out. Your mortgage specialist will complete the application with you and let you know if there’s any additional documentation required. Once everything is done, the bank will get a valuation of your new home done.
Sixth step – Choose a solicitor
You’ll be dealing with your solicitor a lot so it’s important to find someone that you know really knows their stuff. That way you’ll feel a whole lot better all the way through the process. It’s never a bad idea to talk to people you trust and ask them to recommend someone.
Seventh step – Getting a survey done
You’ve fallen in love with your potential new home, but you still need to be sure it’s as good as it looks. That’s why you need a surveyor. They’ll check the whole place from top to toe. When they’re finished and have written their report you’ll know exactly what you’re buying.
Eighth step – Make sure you’re insured
With almost any mortgage you’ll always need to have buildings insurance to cover your new home as well as life assurance. Contents insurance is optional but always a good idea to protect you and your belongings.
It’s time to exchange contracts. Your solicitor and seller’s solicitor will have drawn these up and they’re legally binding. So read them carefully before you sign. When your lender releases the mortgage funds to your solicitor who then transfers them to the seller’s solicitor, you become a homeowner.
There are things you need to do. Like getting the utilities transferred into your home. But most importantly, enjoy it. It’s a big day and you’ve earned it.
And that’s it. Oh one last thing that could really help. Ulster Bank are approving eight out of ten first time buyer mortgage applications*. With over 300 mortgage specialists ready to help, why not call into your local Ulster Bank branch , request a call back or call 1800 303004
Their next Big Yes could be yours. Happy home-hunting.
* Information correct as at 1 May 2014.