So, you’re thinking of buying a new home? That’s great news! Is it a trendy three-bed terrace in a cul-de-sac? Or do you fancy a penthouse apartment with city views? Whatever the property type, we’re sure you’re excited about your soon-to-be new home.
But wait. It’s not all plain sailing? You’re getting a bit tired with all the costs involved with buying a home, you say?
We totes get that. After all, it’s enough having to pay for bricks and mortar, let alone all of the other costs associated with getting the keys to your new home.
Conveyancing, legal costs, high stamp duty if it’s your second home, mortgage fees – the list is endless. Which is why most homebuyers look to save a pretty penny wherever they can when buying a home. So, if you’re wondering how you can save some money when in your buying journey, stick with us, and we’ll give you some tip-top tips.
Before you start viewing a property and making offers, be sure to check your credit score. Taking an early look at your credit file means that you can identify ways to bump up the numbers. The higher your credit score, the more chance you have of getting a decent mortgage.
Use free mortgage calculators
If you’re still in the early stages of your house-buying experience, it’s always good to use a mortgage calculator, which will give you an idea of how much you can borrow. A trusty Google search will throw up plenty of options. Once you have an idea of how much you can borrow, search comparison websites to find the best offers on the market. Or why not go one better and speak to one of our mortgage advisors, who can give you first-hand advice and discuss your options?
Think about the overall cost
Calculating the costs associated with buying a home beforehand can be tricky. But it can also give you an indication of the overall total cost. Think about potential fees involved and try your best to budget accordingly. Aspects like mortgage arrangement fees, valuation fees, legal fees, stamp duty, removal costs, home repairs, surveys, furnishing etc could all play their part in your total spend. While knowing the costs won’t technically save you any money, it will stop any nasty surprises from springing up – and if you try and slightly over budget, you could be left pleasantly surprised by the time you get the keys.
Help to Buy ISA
First-time buyer can explore taking advantage of the government scheme that came into place in 2017. Lifetime ISA lets you save up to £4,000 a year either as a lump sum or by putting money aside when you can. The state then adds a 25% bonus on top if you use it towards a first home, with the government contributing a maximum of £32,000.
Too often, homebuyers (especially first-time-buyers) go for the first mortgage offer, hire the first solicitors they speak to and so on, all because they are so eager to get the ball rolling. Buying a new home isn’t a race, however. With the average transaction taking anywhere between three to six months, you have a bit of time on your side when it comes to making big decisions. Yes, the housing market is competitive, and good-quality properties can be snapped up quickly. But once an offer is accepted, you can take a bit more time looking for good deals for legal fees etc. The result could see you save a few hundred pounds.
Erm, wait until the right season to buy a home?
Use personal finance apps
Improved technology means more options for how to save money. Whether you’re in the deposit-saving process, or looking for the best deals along your buying journey, there are plenty of finance apps out there to help you save a quick buck here and there.
Monitor the market
The housing market isn’t too dissimilar to the stock market, in that it’s susceptible to peaks and dips (just not as frequently). Buying a home is a personal decision that shouldn’t be dictated by current trends. But having knowledge of house price averages will help you make more informed decisions.
Monitor the lease
Owning a leasehold flat essentially means that you’re renting it for the period of the lease. When buying, it’s essential to check the length of that lease. Short leasehold properties go on the market for lower prices but renewing the lease can be costly. Look for an apartment with more than 80 years left on the lease. The result will see you save in the long term and avoid having to worry about an expiring lease.
Understand service charge costs
Flats also come with services charges, which is the cost for maintaining the communal areas of the building. Service charges can cost anywhere between £80 and £150 pounds a month, though on some properties they are even more costly. They are calculated by the size of the building and split evenly with the number of apartments. An apartment building with a high volume of flats should equate to a lower service charge. Also take note of the amenities available: somewhere with a concierge, gym, swimming pool etc is likely to be more costly than a development with a communal garden. Always find out the service charges before making an offer.
Head to an auction
Ok, so this one is a bit left field, but if you haven’t found a property yet, buying at an auction could save you thousands. Auctioned properties are often priced lower than market value. As long as there isn’t a bidding war, they offer an opportunity to get a house at a cut-price deal.
Save, save, save
Buying a property can be a costly experience, but with these tips, you can save a little here and there, which all adds up. Whether you’re at the beginning of your search or already have an offer accepted, these tips are designed to help you save some cash when buying a home.
Haven’t found the perfect home yet? Search our latest properties and find a gem today.