First Time Buyers – #4 Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome back First Time Buyers, this is the final part of a four-part blog series, written to guide you through the house-buying process. 
Part 4 answers your most frequently asked questions…

1. How long does it take to buy a house (estimation)?

There are many different stages of buying a property, which we appreciate may be daunting at first. However, providing each stage is completed efficiently by all parties, it should be a smooth, straightforward process, and we will be on hand for each step. The process can take 12-14 weeks*, from start to finish, and to make it as simple as possible we’ve broken down the main stages for you. Please view our buying process document for further advice. *Please note, this is just an estimation and will differ depending on individual circumstances.

2. What are the fee's that I have to pay?

  • Solicitors Fees
  • Mortgage fees
  • Homebuyers survey – If you wish to instruct a homebuyers survey, there will be an additional cost.
  • Removal fees
If you would like to organise quotes, please contact one of our agents and they will be more than happy to arrange these for you.

3. Do I need to pay estate agent fees?

No – As a buyer, you will only be expected to pay the fees mentioned above. Estate agent fees are only applicable to the seller of a property, so you would need to consider this if you decide to sell the property you’re buying at a later date.

4. What is a chain? & what does this mean for me?

If you’re purchasing a property where the sellers are also purchasing another home to move into, you will be in a chain. The sellers of the home they are buying could also need to purchase another home, and so on. As a first time buyer, you will be at the start of a chain of people moving to new homes. When involved in a chain of property transactions, each ‘link’ in the chain needs to be ready before exchange of contracts can take place and a completion date can be agreed. Completion dates must be agreed by all links in a chain.
The example below, includes 3 links in a chain.

5. What is help to buy? & how could it help me?

Help to Buy is a government scheme to help FTB’s purchase their first home, and get onto the property ladder. With HTB, you only require a 5% deposit rather than 10% or more, that is usually required.
For example*, the Help to Buy equity loan in England allows you to:
  • Put down a deposit of 5%
  • The government lends you up to 20% of the property’s value as an equity loan
  • You take out a mortgage on the rest of the property’s value (e.g 75% remaining)
You then start paying interest on the government load after 5 years.
*Terms & Conditions Apply. For further advice, visit the Help to Buy website here.

6. What is shared ownership? & how could it help me?

With shared ownership, you buy a percentage of a property and rent the rest. For example: 50% shared ownership = 50% mortgage / 50% rent. The schemes are useful for FTB’s who don’t have enough to buy a home outright. All shared ownership properties are leasehold – You do have the option to purchase a bigger share at a later date (commonly referred to as staircasing).

7. What is the difference between freehold and leasehold?

Freehold – In short, if you’re buying a freehold property, you will own the whole property and the land it stands on (usually including the garden, driveway etc).
Leasehold – When buying a leasehold property, you own the property itself but NOT the land it’s built on. For example, if buying an apartment, you own the apartment itself but not the land and communal areas (gardens, hallways, car park etc). Leasehold properties often include additional charges, maintenance costs and service charges, which go towards the upkeep of communal areas.
Please visit the money advice service for more information here

That’s the end of our First Time Buyer blog series! We hope that you’ve found this useful and invite you to follow us on socials for regular updates and new listings. We really do have something for everyone…

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