Hoping to get on the property ladder soon? 8 tips for First Time Buyers

It's a huge, expensive step but can be done - so soak up these expert tips, says Vicky Shaw. This year could be a bit uncertain for the housing market, which may be making first-time buyers feel somewhat nervous. However, some recent figures may offer some reassurance for those trying to make the jump onto the property ladder.

Research from Yorkshire Building Society suggests the number of first-time buyers getting on the property ladder with a mortgage in the last year, was at its highest level since 2006. Across the UK, 367,038 first-time buyers secured mortgages in 2018, up from 362,800 in 2017, the analysis suggests.

There are also some steps first-time buyers could take, which may boost their chances of bagging a property. “Buying a first home can be as daunting as it is exciting, but there are a number of simple steps people can take to prepare themselves and make the process as smooth as possible,” says Chrysanthy Pispinis of Post Office Money.

Here are Post Office Money’s eight top tips for getting on the property ladder…

first time buyer top 8 tips

1. Set a savings goal

Three-quarters (75%) say that saving for a deposit is the biggest hurdle to home ownership, with first-time buyers spending four years adjusting their lifestyle to save for their starter home, according to a survey of people who recently got on the property ladder. So setting a savings target early is important to keeping you focused and on track.

2. Factor in the additional costs of moving

Aspiring homeowners must not forget additional costs associated with buying a home, such as removal firms, estate agent fees and surveyors. It’s important to consider these costs in advance and save little and often.

first time buyer top 8 tips

3. Take time to talk

Parents – as the ‘bank of mum and dad’ – are playing an increasingly important role helping many first-time buyers onto the property ladder, loaning on average £24,347, according to Post Office Money. But of the one in six first-time buyers funding their home purchase from a parental loan, 87% have no proper agreement in place, its research also found.

Therefore, it’s important everyone involved is clear about the nature of their agreement, so that everyone’s expectations are aligned. This includes making it clear whether the money is a gift or a loan that needs to be paid back. Post Office Money has a ‘bank of mum and dad conversation guide’, which could help with such conversations. (postoffice.co.uk/dam/jcr:93ea6a47-6444-4ac8-8a22-c091054a3541/Mortgages-Advice-Doc.pdf)

4. Calculate how much you can afford to borrow

Once your savings pot is up and running, consider using an online affordability calculator to get an idea of how much you’ll be able to borrow based on your income and outgoings. Although this should be used as a guide, the information will help you focus on properties that are within your price range.

first time buyer top 8 tips

5. Know the (credit) score

Before getting a mortgage, you will be credit checked, so now’s the time to check your own credit report and ensure all the information it contains is accurate and up-to-date. A good credit score can be the deciding factor in not only getting approved for a mortgage, but also the rate you are offered. Plan now to start paying down any outstanding debt, be sure not to miss any agreed payments on utility bills or mobile phone bills, and try to make more than the minimum repayment in the six months before your mortgage application.

6. Find the right mortgage for you

There are lots of mortgages out there aimed specifically at first-time buyers, including some very innovative deals.

first time buyer top 8 tips

7. Research affordability hotspots

You may have your heart set on a popular area – but so will many other buyers.

On average, new buyers will end up moving 5.2 miles away from where they originally intended. Consider widening the net to make your budget go further, so you can buy more bricks and mortar for your money. You could try searching in up-and-coming areas, which may become future property hotspots, rather than places where property prices have already increased by a lot.

8. Know the local rate of sale

On average, it takes 102 days for a property to sell in the UK. Understanding the rate at which property sells in the area you’re looking to buy in can potentially help when making buying decisions.

If you are starting your home buying journey and would like local, financial or property advice please pop in to your closest office for a cup of tea and a chat with our team, they will be delighted to give you all the help you need.
Estate Agents in Fleet
Estate Agents in Hartley Wintney
Estate Agents in Odiham

8 Key Money Moments to be Prepared for in 2019

It pays to be prepared - or at least means you'll be a little more in control of your money. Vicky Shaw reports on this year's financial forecast.

2019 money financial predictions

As with any year, 2019 is bound to bring some unexpected surprises. But, looking ahead, there are some money moments you may be able to prepare for – even if some are more certain than others.

“Uncertainty and change are a part of life, and we’ll be better placed to ride these waves if we’re prepared for whatever may come next,” says Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva. “We will all benefit from a couple of hours to prepare our finances for whatever 2019 may bring.”

So what can you do to help get prepared? Here, McQueen highlights some of the key 2019 money moments to get ready for…

2019 money financial predictions

1. Get ready for the rising state pension age

In 2018, the state pension age for men and women was equalised, at 65. Men and women will now experience a state pension age rising in tandem. The state pension continues to represent most peoples’ biggest source of income in retirement. So, in 2019, it could be a good idea to request a free state pension forecast from the government to understand when you will be entitled to yours, and how much you may receive (gov.uk/check-state-pension).

2. Get ready for a longer working life

Last year saw the number of people in work over the age of 50 reach a record 10 million. As our life expectancy rises, we can expect this trend to continue. Aviva expects one in three workers in the UK will be over the age of 50 in the next decade. So, looking ahead, it may be worth starting to re-frame your expectations towards a longer working life. Aviva is launching a new service called the ‘mid-life-MOT’, to help our people prepare for this longer working life.

2019 money financial predictions

3. Get ready for an increase in pension payments

Employers have duties to provide a workplace pension. Since 2012, this new system – called automatic enrolment – has introduced nearly 10 million new savers across the UK to pensions. It’s been a great success. In April 2019, the minimum pension payment will increase from 5% of your earnings to 8% of your earnings. At least 3% of this 8% must come from your employer. A workplace pension can be a valuable way of saving for later life. So, in 2019 think about preparing for this increase in payments. For your future, it will pay to save.

4. Get ready for potential further interest rate increases

After a near decade of record low interest rates, 2018 saw the Bank of England increase its base rate to 0.75%. Many commentators expect 2019 could see further small increases in the base rate, in a bid to ease rising price pressures. This would be good news for savers, but not so good for the millions of borrowers holding short-term loans and mortgages. So, in 2019, it would be a good idea to shop around for the best saving and borrowing rates. A small change could make a big difference.

2019 money financial predictions

5. Get ready for more people taking up pension freedoms

The new pension freedoms for over-55s have proven to be hugely popular. More than £20 billion has been withdrawn from private pensions in new flexible payments. If you’re over 50 and considering your options, it would be a good idea to consult the government’s free Pension Wise service for guidance (pensionwise.gov.uk).

6. Get ready for more ways to manage your money online

Many of us regularly go online to send emails, do a spot of shopping or catch up on social media. But using the internet to manage pensions and investments continues to be an afterthought for many. Most pension and investment providers now offer free online services to help you manage your money. So, in 2019, consider taking advantage of these services so you can make the most of your money, whenever and wherever you want.

2019 money financial predictions

7. Get ready for the new face of the Bank of England £50 note

The new face on this new note will be announced in summer 2019 – and the Bank has stated that it will be someone who has contributed to science.

8. Get ready for the long game

2019 looks set to be a time of volatility and change. At times like these, it is helpful to remember that investments are typically designed to navigate at least a five-year horizon, or even up to 40 years if it’s our investment in our retirement. So, in 2019 it would be a good idea to remember those longer-term goals.

2019 money financial predictions