Nathan John
AUTHOR Nathan John| CREATED 18 Jan 2016

Your first property: buying tips

You’ve scrimped. You’ve saved. You’ve trawled the estate agents’ windows. Now follow these top tips for a problem-free house purchase.

With the savings for a deposit in place, your next step is to secure a mortgage. Mortgages come in a range of shapes and sizes. Fixed-rate deals are great for budgeting, while variable-rate mortgages can save you money while interest rates are low. Compare the whole market before making your choice.

Don’t let your heart overrule your head

Don’t look at properties that are out of your reach. Let your head rule your heart – failing to keep up with mortgage repayments could lead to your home being repossessed. And don’t forget to consider the extra costs such as legal fees and stamp duty as well as the purchase price.

Get a ‘decision in principle’

Estate agents take you more seriously if you have a ‘decision in principle’ from your lender. Sorting out your financial arrangements before you start to look at properties will give you a better chance of bagging the perfect house.

Do your research

Researching the local area is vital before any house purchase. Gather information about local crime levels and hot-spots, noise levels, school league tables and more – it’s all available online. And nothing beats spending time in the area, meeting the locals and getting a feel for the place.

Choose your conveyancer carefully

Conveyancers can be expensive and are renowned for holding up property purchases. Avoid poor service by asking friends and relatives to recommend a good solicitor or licensed conveyancer.

Don’t bid too low – or pay too much

Only enter a very low bid for a house if you are happy to lose the property to another buyer. Remember too that aggressive bidding can increase the chances of being gazumped (having someone else outbid you, even after you’ve agreed a sale). At the same time, it is important not to overpay and regret your actions later on, so take advice from those you trust about how to negotiate, when to agree a deal and when to walk away.

Communicate with the seller

Raise any queries you have about the purchase immediately with the seller. And don’t risk derailing the whole process by disappearing on holiday for two weeks without letting all the necessary parties know.

A mortgage adviser can help answer any questions you have on buying your first house. If you don’t have an adviser and would like to find one in your area, check out our ‘Find an Adviser’ tool.


Nathan John

UK Investments Expert Old Mutual Wealth

Nathan has worked for Skandia and Old Mutual for over nine years focusing on both the UK and International markets. His current role covers the marketing and technical communications relating to funds and investment products, specifically focused on investment planning and portfolio construction including asset allocation, risk and diversification, and portfolio optimisation. 

Expert in Funds, Investment Planning, Portfolio Construction