First-time buyers need to ‘do their homework’ and ‘wise-up’, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). A survey that the governing body of surveyors has recently commissioned states that nearly a third of Britons planning to buy their first home admit they are not aware of the processes they must go through when getting on to the property ladder.

More than a quarter of first-timers also confess they don’t know the differences between market valuation (the actual worth of the house), an agent’s appraisal (the value usually sought) and a survey (a surveyor’s evaluation based on the property’s condition). RICS warns, however, that being clueless about such major aspects of the buying process could be to the detriment of both buyers and sellers, sometimes resulting in unexpected costs and failure to carry out transactions.

RICS’ figures come amidst growing support for people wishing to buy their first home, such as the second stage of the Help to Buy programme. The scheme has underpinned demand for property, with 56% more chartered surveyors now predicting a rise in transaction levels rather than a decline by the end of the year.

The increase in the number of buyers is obvious and more and more sales now take place as a result of the market’s revival, RICS global residential director Peter Bolton-King said. But in view of the growing demand, it’s essential for people to be provided with the right information about buying and selling property, particularly first-time home buyers, who are yet to experience the process of buying their first home, he added.

If you’re a first-time buyer, we recommend seeking advice – whether it be professional, or simply asking friends or family who are already on the property ladder about the meaning of various terms.

It will make the whole process a far less stressful one.

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