7 Tips on Staying Financially Fit for First-Time Buyers

Throughout a lifetime, most people will spend more on a property than anything else.

Owning a home is a dream for a lot of people, but it is certainly not always an easy process. Mortgages, deposits, solicitor’s fees and more can all take a large dent out of your wallet before you even push your new keys into the lock.

In 2021, for the first time, there were over 400,000 first-time buyers, but this doesn’t mean house prices dropped. In fact, they experience a 9% rise.  

So, if you’re looking to buy, but you’re worried if you can cope with the price of purchasing your first home, let’s put your mind at ease with seven top tips on how first-time buyers can stay financially fit.

Cut the Costs

The famous saying goes ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’ and there is an element of truth to this.

When saving up to make the biggest purchase of your life, the saving needs to start early. This isn’t to say that you have to spend nothing, but it could mean cutting down on meals out at restaurants, expensive cars, and holidays.

A recent study found that 43% of Brits were more likely to save for a holiday than a home and that’s fine if that is the priority. But if your priority is finding a home, the best bet would be to sacrifice a sunny beach for a bigger bank balance.

One thing that is always helpful when saving is to note down all of the areas in which you think you spend too much and calculate exactly how much you can save by cutting down.

You may be surprised by the big savings that cutting down on little costs can make.

Shop Around

Like everything in modern commerce, it pays to shop around.

You can cut the costs on most things when you purchase a house, from your mortgage itself to the removal van that drives your belongings to a new property, just by comparing a few different quotes.

Plan what you need in advance. That way you have plenty of time to receive lots of quotes to compare.

It is never wise to go with the first choice straight away. They may be the best on the market, but how will you know until you’ve had a look at a few other options?

When you are finally in your home, you may have big ideas for new kitchens or bathrooms, or you may want to rip up the old carpet and put a new one down.

All of this costs money, so take some time to pick the best prices for you and always make sure you’re paying the best price.

Know Your Costs

A key factor in staying financially fit is knowing how much you are going to have to spend.

Throughout the buying process, you may have to pay fees to brokers, solicitors, conveyors and more, so make sure you have some money set aside for this.

And when you finally have the keys, you must keep on counting.

It may feel like a huge relief when all is paid off and you are sat in your new home, but don’t let unexpected bills put a dampener on your first few weeks.

Before committing to any big spending, make a note of how much your bills will cost. For example, utility bills cost on average over £1300 a year, which is a big chunk of money to anyone.

Council tax, water, gas and electric, television license, and home insurance are just some of the costs that you must account for.

A quick bit of research will give a good indication of what your outgoings will amount to. If you add your mortgage to this and then subtract from your monthly incomings, you will have a leftover figure. This will be a good indicator of roughly how much expendable money you have a month and will help when budgeting.

Don’t Forget to Insure

Moving into a new house is exciting and insuring your property may be the last thing on your mind, but it must be done.

Most mortgage companies require insurance to provide a mortgage, but it is up to you how basic you go when it comes to cover.

If you are operating on a small budget, it may be tempting to cut costs here. This can leave you in a perilous situation though, with high excess payments taking a large chunk out of your savings if something goes wrong.

The chances are nothing will go wrong with your home, and we hope that’s the case.

If something does happen though, one thing that can turn a disaster into something a bit more bearable is a good insurance policy. It may cost you a couple more quid a month, but it can make a huge difference in the long run.

Let Your Bank Save For You

For first-time buyers, there is government help that can boost your bank balance.

It’s never too early to open a Help to Buy ISA. This is a government scheme that can provide a whopping £3000 extra cash when it comes to buying your first home. That’s a lot of money to help pay off any fees owed.

Whether you’re thinking of buying a home in the next few months, or it may be years away yet, starting to deposit up to £200 a month into a Help to Buy ISA now will be very beneficial.

It’s not a loan. There’s no hidden catch. It’s financial help with no strings attached and can be a huge boost to keeping your bank balance looking fit and healthy.

Be Open to Brokers

When shopping around for the best mortgage deals, you don’t have to go at it alone.

There are many brokers who are experts in fishing out the best deals around and making sure you find a mortgage that works for you.

Some of these don’t even cost you a thing to use, instead taking a commission from the chosen mortgage provider.

Finding a mortgage is a big decision. Speaking to a mortgage broker doesn’t have to mean that you have to go with their choice. Some will simply provide you with good advice.

If you’re a first-time buyer, and you’re wondering how you can afford a house, or want a rough idea of how much you can borrow, then speaking to a broker can answer all of these questions in an instant.

Not only that, but they will also make sure you are finding a mortgage that will keep you financially fit, and never overspending.

Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score is important when it comes to getting a mortgage.

In a nutshell, this is a number that reflects on how well you have handled loans in the past. The better this is, the better deal a mortgage lender is going to provide.

Luckily, there are ways you can help boost your credit score immediately.

Simple tasks such as proving where you live on the electoral register and checking there are no mistakes in your details can boost your score, as well as ensuring and proving you are up to date on all payments.

Most of us now pay for TV and music subscriptions and phone contracts, so by showing that you have always paid these on time, you may be able to bag yourself a better deal on your mortgage.

Summary

Buying a home isn’t easy. The average first-time buyer is now in their 30s and this is due to the financial pressure it can put you under.

There are ways that you can make your money last longer though, and with these seven tips on staying financially fit, you can be sure to keep a healthy bank balance while enjoying your new home.

If you are looking to buy your first home, our team will be happy to offer advice.

Please feel free to get in touch here.