Navigating The First-Time Homebuying Process: A Beginner’s Guide 🏡

Looking to buy your first home? We've got the steps to ensure a smooth purchase

Georgia Cave
Marketing Manager

New buyer? Nested have your back. 

Buying your first home can often feel overwhelming, even to the most seasoned of planners and executors.  

We’ve got the low-down on how to ensure you can hit the ground running when you’re out and about viewing homes. 5 top tips incoming…

  1. Get your budget in check 💸

Sounds simple right? In theory yes it should be, however, a lot of first-time buyers (FTB) don’t have a true understanding of their budget and end up getting burned. 

Take a good look at all of your sources of income, and your savings and use a mortgage checker (available on Rightmove & Zoopla) to get a rough estimate of exactly how much you can afford. 

If you’re buying with a friend or partner, now is the time to get brutally honest with any hidden sources of income, any loans or debts or anything else hidden away (believe us, it’ll all come out in the wash, so you might as well tell the truth now!)

Make sure you have a rough idea of ‘hidden’ or ‘forgotten’ costs such as property checks, solicitor fees and any potential stamp duty. If you’re wanting to refurnish or redecorate your home, get an idea of how much this will cost (including manual labour). Finally, decide how much you wish to have left in savings after the purchase. Setting clear boundaries might feel scary, but it’s the only way you’ll ensure budgets are adhered to. 

2. Mortgage in Principle 📋

A Mortgage in Principle or Agreement In Principle (AIP) usually lasts between 60-90 days (however this can be more) depending on the lender. ‘Soft’ credit checks are carried out by the lender to assess how much you can afford. This is a great way of showing estate agents and vendors that you’re a serious buyer, as you can offer straight away on a property. Renewing your Mortgage In Principle is fairly straightforward unless you have had a change in circumstances which may mean you can borrow more or less. If this happens, let your lender know as soon as possible so you can ensure a smooth process when you come to offer. 

3. Timelines ⏰

Renting? Ideally, placing yourself on a rolling contract can mean you can be even more flexible when it comes to finding and making an offer on your dream home. 

If that’s not possible, it may mean moving into the home of family or friends if need be. 

If that isn’t an option, short-term lets can be a saviour or even Airbnb offer monthly (or longer) rental units. 

If you have important life events such as weddings, children or even long-haul trips planned, assess how these will impact viewings, offers and moving out of current homes. 

4. Decide on how much work you want to do 🔨

Love watching home renovation shows? Make sure before you start to view, you know exactly how much work you want to do. It saves wasting your time (and everyone else's). 

There is a huge difference between wanting to refresh wallpaper and carpets, compared to ripping out floorboards and kitchens and re-installing the entire plumbing system. 

Take a look at your current lifestyle, how much free time you have, your experience decorating and renovating, and how these costs will impact your day-to-day. 

5. Location, location, location 🗺

Kirsty and Phil said it first, but they weren’t wrong. Visiting a location for the day is very different to living there permanently. Everyone has different requirements, but this is the time to consider what you actually want in your immediate vicinity. 

Love the gym? Passionate about verdant spaces? Thinking of getting a dog? Hate busy roads? 

These are all questions to ask yourself about your new area. If you don’t have a car, knowing where your nearest supermarket is, your nearest bus or train station and your nearest Doctor’s Surgery can all be key contributing factors in where you end up buying. Write a list of the non-negotiables (such as how long you want to walk to said locations) and how long you want your maximum commute to be. 

It’s also a good idea to view your chosen location in the evening as well as in the day. Places can take on completely different atmospheres at night time, and knowing what this is like in advance (including using transport) can mean there are no nasty surprises when you move in. 

If you’ve got any more questions, or if you would like to discuss your property search in more detail, contact us below! 

Selling your home?

Book a valuation with Nested, the modern estate agent. We combine expert local agents with the smartest technology to give you the best result from your sale.

Nested puts homeowners in control of their sale. Our agents provide you with smarter insights so you achieve the best price for your home on your timeframe. When you’ve found your new home, you have the power to move chain free, while we take care of your sale. Our buying agent will even negotiate up to 5% saving on your new home, so you get more home for your money.

If you’re interested in selling smarter, get in touch today. - The modern way to move.