Buying a home is a huge financial commitment. There’s plenty to think about so it can be difficult to know where to start. The process of buying a house or flat can take from as little as six weeks to five months, depending on how quickly different stages of the house buying process are completed. During that time, you’ll need to pay several different costs along the way.
Before you start house hunting, it’s a good idea to work out the amount you can afford to spend on buying a property, and on your monthly mortgage payments. Consider how you'll cope if your financial situation changes, or interest rates rise, and be careful not to overstretch yourself.
Remember your savings will have to cover not just the deposit but expenses such as mortgage fees (typically anything between £0-£2000) and stamp duty on properties costing more than £125,000.
It’s never too early for you to start thinking about arranging a mortgage as this can be time consuming. You can get a mortgage from an independent financial adviser (IFA), mortgage broker or lender. Once you’ve found a mortgage provider, you agree a mortgage ‘in principle’. This tells you how much money the lender is likely to offer and the interest rate you'll pay. You may have to pay a booking fee to reserve the mortgage product you want. The typical cost for this is £99-£250.
It's important to remember that everyday living costs will need to be taken into account when working out how large a mortgage you can afford to take on.
- Living costs
- Council tax
- Water rates
- Food / clothing
- TV licence
- Home phone / broadband
- Home insurance
- Repairs and maintenance costs
It's also important that you don't overstretch yourself financially, as failure to keep up with your mortgage payments may result in you losing your home.
Take a look at the Citizens Advice Bureau's guide to buying a home for more information.
Shared ownership gives you the opportunity to purchase a percentage in a property whilst paying rent on the remainder. It helps those who wouldn't normally be able to buy their own home to get a foot on the property ladder.
Take a look at Gov.UK's affordable homes webpages for more information.