Seven Things I Hate About: Buying A House For The First Time

Our tough love guide for first time buyers

It’s a bittersweet time, buying your first house. Finally, you understand on a visceral level how fine the lines are drawn between love and hate, excitement and stress, vomit and sweat. One minute you are buying own brand coffee and diligently saving for your deposit, the next you are justifying why you bought a sofa for your cat and contemplating saving up for a time machine instead. While your gorgeous Islington maisonette absolutely is worth the hairs you tore out during the broker interview actually, it needn’t be a full-blown stress fest forever. In the name of rejecting toxic positivity, let’s embrace what we hate about buying your first house together, and learn some handy tips along the way…

Illustration of a man and woman sitting down with an estate agent, they are discussing buying your first house.

It costs money!?

Yep, there’s no way around this one. When buying your first house, you will need to save up for a deposit. Whatever the boomers might say – it’s going to cost more than a few rounds of avocado on toast. Rightmove recently declared that the average asking price for first-time buyers has hit a 2% annual rise of late, with the average deposit required now hovering around 10% according to Halifax. So, can you afford it? With average property values now prancing around at 7.6 times the average UK salary, nearly two thirds of first time property sales are in joint names. Which means as a single person it is getting more difficult to steady yourself on that first property ladder rung. But it is possible. Hey, if you can reach the tinned peas on the top shelf without the help of a long-armed other half, you can do anything.

I have to use calculators

YAWN. But before you start scrabbling around for that plastic little number you’ve had since school, we’re talking online calculators. To get a good idea of what you can effectively borrow when buying your first house, mortgage calculators are free to use and will let you know how much to save too. You can also work out the interest you’ll have to pay and have a little peek at your credit score through your fingers / from behind a pillow. It’s not that scary once you start! You might even be surprised at what’s possible. Remember the higher your number, the more you can borrow. Treat it like a game and beat your highest score. Then, be a real geek, download yourself a free credit score app and follow their tips on improving. You’ve got this!

I need to be “sensible” and “think ahead”

We know, it’s not a walk around Finsbury Park. Although that is actually quite a long walk. Once you’ve been brave, prised your fingers from your eyes and found out your credit score, it’s time to take the next steps to transforming yourself into a mortgage lender’s dream. If you’re not saving up already, start making lists of where you can cut back (are three flat whites necessary of a morning?) and how long it will take to reach your goal. Then, get in touch with mortgage brokers to help you find the right mortgage type for you – hello there self-employed, we’re looking at you – and whether a government scheme might be beneficial. If you feel like you’re wading through treacle right now, there are lots of options available. Check out schemes such as the mortgage guarantee scheme or the lifetime ISA. Don’t worry, they’ll explain everything to you over a coffee (which is most likely free).

Photo of young woman on her laptop

The costs don’t stop!

Stamp duty, building insurance and transfer fees – oh my! While saving for the deposit makes up a large chunk of the property purchase price, when buying your first house you’ll need to factor in all the other fees too. Avoid scaring the neighbours with panicked squeals of “conveyancing fees???!!” and inform yourself first of what’s to come. Costs to budget vary from the Land Registry fee of £90 – £140 and the mortgage fees themselves at around £1,000 to £2,000. While these additional fees are a bit of a pain in the armchair, they’re all beneficial in the long run – such as the homebuyer survey which will help you avoid snapping up a money pit of rising damp and dodgy electrics. Talk about a horror show…

There’s never-ending paperwork!

What’s that? We couldn’t hear you with all those official documents stuffed in your mouth like a Donald Trump toilet bowl. We know all too well the amount of paperwork involved with a house purchase, but remember that we are here to lighten that load. Because conversely, we LOVE paperwork – especially the stuff that gets you firmly on the property ladder and agreed in principle. That’s an official document from a lender that gives you an indication of the maximum amount they would let you borrow based on your income, spending and debts. Mmmm delicious. Once you get yourself that shiny, shiny *mortgage in principle*, you can dust off your peepers, wipe down your laptop and start looking at homes!

I’m lost in choice overload!

Analysis paralysis! The illusion of choice! Yesterday it might have felt like a luxury perusing two bed garden flats in N4, imagining yourself serving up a cocktail on that patio before picking out pot racks online. Now the property search is marred with ‘sensible’ questions about ‘priorities’ like, is there off street parking? Is there room to renovate? Do I need a school nearby to have a good Ofsted rating? Should I go back to school? And learn about property law? Do I want to move? Why am I bothering? What’s the point? Why does that house come with a tortoise?? Slooow down there Keith and take a breath. It might help to make a property wish list, a non-negotiable list of priorities, and then be prepared to compromise. A spare room might win over outside space if you live near a park for example – and you won’t have to look after any left over tortoises. For tips on sussing out the local area, check out our ultimate area vetting guide here.

I have to act fast!

Once you have found your brand spanking new dream home (or pretty good compromise), timing is of the essence. It’s worth getting an appropriate offer in there as quickly as possible. Now, finding the right price can also be a little bit of a minefield, but there are ways to work this step efficiently. For example, If you find yourself in the highly likely property chain position, check out our guide to avoiding chain pain here. Make sure to do your research first on similar properties sold in the area to get a good idea of price. Don’t fall into the trap of paying through the nose to beat the competition, and really consider what you can genuinely afford. Otherwise, congratulations! You’re almost halfway there….Phew. We know, it’s a long and winding road to getting the keys to your first home. But it’s worth the trek, and we’re here with you the whole way. From thinking about deposits to installing the cat flaps, Davies and Davies can provide help and information for each
individual situation.

Please note that all content contained within our website is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. All Content on this site is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. We advise seeking professional advice from a legal, financial, or other professional.

Contact us:

alex@daviesdavies.co.uk – Lettings Director (contact for lettings and property management)

mark@daviesdavies.co.uk – Sales Director (contact for sales, new homes and chartered surveying)

020 3820 2492

Davies & Davies Estate Agents, 85 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EG

Article & images by Barefaced Studios

You might also want to read other useful blog articles by clicking here.

28 June 2023
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