Buying your first home

The dream of owning a home is shared by everyone, and buying your first property is one of the most important investments you will ever make. It is an exciting and daunting step to take, but one that you don’t have to take alone. The process of purchasing a home can easily be one that buries you in fine print paperwork and keeps you up at night, but a skilled property management company with experienced real estate agents can help make the whole process an absolute pleasure.

In this post we will be discussing a few key factors first-time-buyers should consider when entering the property market, such as how you can go about alleviating financial stress during the purchasing process, the importance of the guidance of a professional and experienced estate agent, and what some of the most important questions are that you need to be asking yourself in order to close the deal confidently.

Where do I start?

calculator in front of villa house cost of homeownership concept

One of the first questions you should be asking yourself is whether or not this is the time for you to be buying your own home. This comes down to more than just low mortgage rates or that you heard it’s a ‘buyer’s market’ – you should want to be a homeowner. Perhaps you want to settle down somewhere for the next couple years, or you want to start a family and need your own space to do so. Whatever your reasons, you should only buy a home if you are financially ready to do so, because if you are not, you could ruin your financial portfolio for life.

Knowing what you can afford and what you have access to, in terms of funding, is key to starting the process of buying your first home. It is never too early to start putting money away for that deposit, or to set up a savings account for the monthly mortgage fees. The last thing you want is to walk into your dream home and then realise that you simply cannot afford it. The sooner you start preparing financially, the more open your options are, and the more likely it is that you will be able to afford that dream home.

This is where the Strawberry Star Group comes in. We are a professional and experienced property management company, aimed at delivering simplicity, quality and performance across the entire spectrum of real estate investment and sales. When it comes to first-time-buyers we know the challenges that you face, and our end-to-end service means that we can provide solutions to all of your real estate needs. This ensures that you have peace of mind and complete understanding throughout the entire purchasing process.

How do I know what I can afford?

estate agent hand holding a house and buyer signing contract with calculator

There are a lot of costs that come with homeownership, and you need to ask yourself some important questions: Are you able to afford your monthly mortgage payments? Can you afford the deposit? Do you have money set aside for expenses such as stamp duty, conveyancing and surveys? What are your costs in terms of ongoing maintenance?

While you might not be entirely sure of the answers to a lot of these questions, the experienced and skilled real estate agents at Strawberry Star will be able to take you through these costs and help you to understand where they fit into your budget, and will help you find a deal that works out financially for you. We pride ourselves on our ability to seek out the best possible real estate deals for our clients, and it is our utmost priority to ensure that we are able to maximise your investment and minimise your risk.

There are also government funding schemes that can help those who can’t afford a large deposit right away, and can make managing the payments on a home much easier – allowing you to move into the house of your dreams sooner, while giving you some breathing room and time to make the rest of the payments.

Reserve to Buy

concept of saving money for a new home with euros in glass jar

Strawberry Star supports initiatives to make owning property more accessible to first-time buyers. It’s hard to tick the boxes that make you a viable prospect for mainstream lenders in today’s property market, but we are stepping up to the plate.

Strawberry Star has introduced a new Reserve to Buy scheme that allows the buyer to purchase a property with only a £500 reservation fee and a 5% deposit, following qualification with our independent financial advisor. This gives you the opportunity to purchase an off-plan property of your choice, worth up to £600 000 at today’s market price, for just the reservation fee. Should the value of the property increase in the future, you will still only pay the price set on the day of reservation.

If you are a first-time-buyer but can’t quite manage the deposit on a property, then Reserve to Buy could be the solution for you. Contact us to find out more.

Shop smart for your new home

happy couple hugging in the light of the sunset in their new home

This is the fun stuff, and the part you’ve probably already started on. Shopping for your new home plays an important role in realising what it is that you actually want or need from your first home. But to really be able to start the shopping process you should already have an idea of your budget.

Start with your dream home, and imagine your ideal living space. Is it a large plot of land with room for dogs to run and play outside? Or is it a luxury London apartment high above the city lights? Know what you want and what makes that special for you. Be sure to look at new home developments too – your dream home might not be built yet.

Now, with your budget in mind, work backwards. You may have to forgo some of the luxuries you have imagined in your home, and there may be some you are willing to pay that little bit extra to hang onto. Here is where your trusty Strawberry Star real estate agent can provide you with invaluable advice.

Our experience and knowledge of the local market will enable your estate agent to search for properties for you, inform you of what the market is currently like, and how much added features (such as a swimming pool and extra en-suite bedroom) will add to the price of the property. We can help you make informed decisions based on your budget and the aspects you most value in a home; whether that’s a shorter drive to work or to drop the kids off at school, or an open plan kitchen and dining area.

What do I need to know about the process of purchasing my home?

There are several steps involved in the process of buying a home, and while all of them are important to know and understand, you get to have some fun during the process too. We can break these down into 10 simple steps that will give you a guideline of what to expect from the process.

Check your credit score.

Before contacting a lender, it is a good idea to get a credit report so that you understand what your financial portfolio is looking like and how much further credit you can afford.

Find a real estate agent.

Your estate agent should be someone who understands what you want, and has extensive experience and knowledge of the local area.

Assess finances and work out a budget.

Knowing what you can and can’t afford is crucial in helping your estate agent find the best home for you.

Get pre-approved by a lender.

Get pre-approved as early on as possible in your home search. If you end up in a multiple-offer scenario, being pre-approved could give you the edge in securing the property.

Start looking at homes.

By now you and your real estate agent should know what you are able to afford and what you’re looking for, so let the shopping fun begin!

Home inspections.

Drive, walk and explore the area you are interested in. This is an opportunity to learn what you can about the neighborhood and whether or not you’d be happy living there.

Make an offer.

Once you have found a home that you want to buy, work with your estate agent closely to craft an offer. Their experience will enable you to get the best possible deal and to put forward an offer that has a higher chance of being accepted.

Get insurance and establish utilities.

Insurance is an important part of protecting your investment, and lenders will require you to have homeowners insurance to qualify the mortgage deal.

Closing the deal.

You’re nearing the finish line and there are only a few papers to read and sign, and then a few more to read and sign. This can be exhausting, but all your hard work and patience is paying off.

Get the keys and move in!

You’ve done it! You are a first-time-buyer, and can now call yourself a ‘homeowner!’ Your contract will specify when you are able to move in, and then your property purchasing journey is over, and you can start your new life in your new home.

For more information on how Strawberry Star can assist you with the purchase of your first home, or for any information on property management and what we do, contact our offices and let us help your real estate dreams become a reality.