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What FTBs should know before buying a property

According to a new survey by My Home Move, almost a fifth of homeowners confessed that they didn’t realise their first home would need work doing to it.

700 homeowners across the UK shared the hard-learnt lessons of being a first-time buyer. They were asked: ‘What is the one key thing you wish you had known that nobody told you, before buying your first property?’

The top 5 responses were:

1. What work needed doing to the property (16%)

2. How much it would cost (15%)

3. More about what is involved in the legal process (13%)

4. To look for a home you could ‘grow into’ and add value to (11%)

5. Shop around for mortgages (11%)

Other comments included:

“Remember that there's no obligation on the seller to ensure a deep clean before handing the keys over.”

“Speak to the neighbours and check out the area at different times of the day.”

“Make sure to look at how old the boiler is.”

Doug Crawford, CEO of My Home Move, said: “It is common practice to seek the advice of our parents when making big decisions, but when it comes to property it seems that some of the biggest questions (and sometimes the ones that can add the most stress), there is clearly advice these homebuyers wish their mother had told them.

Aside from the cost of moving, making first-time buyers aware of the practical decisions they need to make when buying their first home will give them a better chance of being able to play the ‘property game’ long-term and benefit from being a homeowner. Our advice, and the advice of people that have already learnt these lessons, is to consider questions such as whether the property will increase in value, whether expensive DIY work is needed or whether your mortgage arrangement is going to work long-term.”

Regional findings

Regionally, homeowners in some areas differed on what their most valued piece of advice would be. For London buyers, finding a property that you can ‘grow into’ or add value to was a higher priority than other regions (15%), whereas for buyers in the North West and West Midlands, being aware of how much work needs doing to the property is a priority (25% and 20% respectively).

For homeowners in East Anglia, the East Midlands and Wales, more advice on the legal process would have been valued when buying their first home (19%, 19% and 21% respectively).

Doug concluded: “Having a better understanding of the legal process of buying a home ranks highly amongst the homeowners’ wish-lists across all regions, so it is clear that overall there is a lack of understanding amongst buyers as to what this entails. Although there is a lot of information to take in when going through the process, taking time to research what happens during the conveyancing process and the timeframe this takes will help first-time buyers feel more prepared and in control of their experience. As a conveyancing provider ourselves, we know it’s important to have these discussions with clients and we’re always happy to take the time to talk to people about the buying process.”

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