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First time buyers

First time buyers keep the property market afloat, allowing other home owners to trade up to their next property.  Since the last recession, it has been tough to get a foot on the first rung of the property ladder for many first time buyers. Making sure the property you are buying is everything you hope for and also understanding the journey, from viewing the property to picking up the keys on completion, will help keep the process as stress free as possible.

Ensure you have your finances in place and if you are obtaining a mortgage, make sure you have a lender who is willing to lend the amount you need. There is nothing more frustrating than finding the property of your dreams, only for the financing to fall through, which sadly is a common problem.

Make sure you understand what you are buying – is it a freehold or leasehold? If it is leasehold, there will be service charges and ground rent to take into account.  Understand therefore how much they will they be.  If possible consider any restrictions that there might be which mean you will not be allowed to use the property in the way you wish to, for example restrictions on running a business from home and build this into your monthly expenditure.

If it is a freehold property, you will be responsible for all the maintenance to the property both inside and out, so make sure you get an appropriate survey so you understand what work needs doing and use this as a way to negotiate on the sale price if need be.

You are very likely to be in a property chain and whilst this is very frustrating, it is important to remain calm.  If you ensure you have a good solicitor on your side, they will make sure the transaction is progressing as swiftly as possible.

Your solicitor will carry out all the relevant searches for the property to establish what you are buying, that it has all the relevant planning permission and that the person selling it is legally able to do so.  Don’t be afraid to discuss with them any concerns you have or to ask questions about additional searches which may be carried out on your behalf.

Once the solicitors on both sides of the transaction have satisfied themselves, and if you are in a property chain and if all the links in the chain have progressed similarly, then you will be in a position to exchange contracts.  Usually 10% is paid as a deposit at this point and the remainder on completion.

Finally on completion day, the property will officially become your own. Congratulations, time to celebrate!

Rina Patar can be contacted at and she has also produced a video guide for first time buyers, which can be downloaded from