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Most of us look forward to being able to own a home. It is ingrained in the British way of thinking. Apart from the sense of security and belonging, the practical advantages are obvious. Paying rent is ‘dead’ money that you’ll never see again, whereas every payment you make on your mortgage brings you that much closer to paying it off, and owning your home outright. Why pay someone else’s mortgage for them?

Property is also a sound investment. As the price of home ownership rises, so does the value of your property. That’s why it’s a good idea to get on the first step of the property ladder as soon as possible. Something that is becoming increasingly difficult for “generation rent” – young people that are being priced out of the market.

A lot has been written about how difficult it is for young people to buy their first home. This doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged, but it does mean that you should do your research, plan carefully and approach home ownership with a clear strategy to succeed.

Talking about budget

The first thing you need is the money for a deposit on your mortgage. Usually between 5 and 20% of the total amount you’re hoping to borrow. The bigger the deposit you can get together, the better the deal you’ll get.
Budgeting doesn’t stop with raising a deposit….. you also need to be sure that you can meet the regular payments – and convince your lender of this. Remember to budget for fees and expenses, such as stamp duty, insurance, conveyancing, surveys, moving in and furnishing your home, and any other work that needs doing on the property. Keep a sizable amount aside for unexpected costs as well.

Stick to your plan

When looking for a property, draw up a list of features that are essential, and those that are preferable. If a property doesn’t meet your essential criteria, don’t waste your time on it, no matter how good it may look otherwise. Be flexible on your preferable features, however, and be prepared to trade one thing off against another.

Use a conveyancer

The legal process in buying a home is complicated even when things go smoothly, and it’s very risky to attempt to manage it yourself. Hiring a qualified property conveyancer may seem like an extra expense, but going without one will almost certainly cost you more money in the long run.

Use it to your advantage

As a first-time buyer, you have the advantage of not having a chain behind you. This means that the seller will look favourably on you, as you won’t have to sell your old home before you can buy a new one. Remember this when making offers.

Buying your first property is best done by keeping a cool head and knowing when to compromise and when to stick to your guns. It may seem stressful at the time, but the outcome will definitely be worth it… you will have your foot “on the ladder”.

Read our full-length eBook guide to becoming a property landlord

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