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Beginners’ luck? Here’s how first-time buyers can thrive

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THIS year is expected to be a particularly uncertain one 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 get 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 says.

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…

Set a savings goal

Three-quarters (75%) say that saving for a deposit is the biggest hurdle to home ownership, with first-time buyers saving for four years for their starter home, according to a survey of people who recently got on the property ladder.

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.

Take time to talk

Parents 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. However, it’s important everyone involved is clear about the nature of their agreement. This includes making it clear whether the money is a gift or a loan.

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.

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.

Find the right mortgage for you

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

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.

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.