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A First Time Buyer’s Experience

Dining room table with four chairs

As part of Mutual’s First Time Buyers Month we have conducted a number of interviews with first time buyers asking them to describe their experieinces. Here we speak to Greg and Lucy who recently moved into their new home in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

1. Can you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about you?
Hi there! We are two primary teachers Greg and Lucy who have recently bought a 3-bedroom detached house in Kidderminster.

2. When did you first begin to save to buy?
We first began saving for a house a year ago. We cut back on everything, clothes, going out and chose to live with our parents who very kindly didn’t charge us rent so we could save as much as we could.

3. How much did you put down on your deposit?
We put down a 15% deposit to reduce the monthly expenditure each month. The mortgage is for 35 years but will reviewed after 2 years to try and improve on the rates.

4. What was your experience like with the Estate Agent handling the Sale?
The experience with our online estate agent was limited but easy. The estate agent put us in direct contact with the seller which then allowed us to move the process quickly. The house was an ex rental so the condition was great. It has to be serviced yearly as a rental so everything was in good shape.

Contact directly with the seller can go one of two ways I think. On reflection of this experience I would recommend not too have contact with the seller. Our experience was ok, but should either party say something that can be manterrupted, it may affect the sale. I didn’t realise this because as a first-time buyer, you are new to it, you just want to be friendly. However, solicitors and estate agents are paid a lot of money to do the talking for you. They may think that it’s a good idea to have direct communication with the seller, but that’s maybe because it saves them a job.

We paid around £1,300 for the solicitor’s fees. We did shop around and found cheaper deals. However, we wanted a quick move so went with a local solicitor. We wanted to build a relationship with the solicitor so we could move the sale quickly and not get pushed to the back of a cheaper online firm.

We also obtained a home-buyers report close to the moving date. I would 100% recommend this, even if the house appears that its in good condition. The home buyers report flagged up certain problems that would under the service. You can use this to deduct money of the price of the property if you wish. We fortunately didn’t need to do this but if can be really useful. We thought of it like a car that may be shiny on the outside but could need a new engine. It’s all money that you could be putting towards a swanky suede sofa rather than a boring boiler.

5. What were the main property features you were looking for in your home, and why?
We wanted our home to have room to grow. We didn’t want to have to do too much as we knew we wouldn’t have lots of time. We knew though that if the property had the potential to add a bathroom or extension, we would be able to make money on the asset we now had. We wanted the house to be in a good school catchment area too.

6. Do you have any advice for first-time buyers?
I would advise first-time byers to have everything ready before making an offer. I would advise to have an extra £5000 to fill the house with furnishings and decorations. You don’t think about the price of washers and dryers but they are basically essential. I would advise to use a free financial advisor. Many financial advisors are free for the service, you never personally pay them. The bank pays them when the mortgage has been successfully put through. A good mortgage advisor will sort a lot of paperwork that may cause a lot of stress. I would also advise to look for a house that has plenty of sun. In midlands, there aren’t many days of sun, so you wanted be sure you have a sunny spot on the rare chance that it does decided to come out! It may save you a little money to if your house is being warmed by the morning and afternoon sun. It also saves you on electricity because you won’t need the lights on during the day.