Getting onto the property ladder is rarely simple. Mortgages for first-time buyers, for example, require commitment and saving, much like so many other aspects of owning a property. However, with some smart budgeting and utilising government schemes, it is possible to save for your first mortgage and have the joy and benefits of owning your own home.
As it can be such a precarious thing to keep track of, some first-time mortgage advice is always helpful, so here are seven smart ways to save for your first mortgage that any soon-to-be homeowner should stick to.
- Budget and Start Saving Straight Away
You need to be committed to wanting a mortgage. This means holding back on any other large purchases, such as a car or even a holiday, unless absolutely necessary. Look at your expenses to see what could easily be cut down on, or eliminated altogether. Budgeting is crucial when it comes to saving for a mortgage; limiting those simple luxuries such as hair appointments and those regular Friday night drinks can make a big difference overall. It’s important to note that you need at least 5% of the property value for a deposit.
However, putting down up to 25% will give you more flexibility on mortgages and property. Aim for an amount closer to 25% in your budget and you’re more likely to save a strong amount of money to get you started.
- Use a Help to Buy ISA
If you’re saving for a mortgage and not already using the Help to Buy ISA, you need to do so right now.
There are a number of banks and building societies that offer the ISA, which is specifically for mortgages for first-time buyers. The government will boost your savings up to 25%, with a maximum of £3,000. To receive the full £3000, you will need to have saved £12000. The scheme can make a huge difference when saving for a mortgage and, as money-saving expert Martin Lewis says, “it’s a no-brainer.”
- Repay any Outstanding Debt
Any mortgage provider will look at whether you have any outstanding debt such as overdrafts, payday loans, credit and store cards. Your mortgage will be the biggest loan you ever take out, so removing those other debts first will help you immensely and demonstrate to providers that you are responsible for paying loans back. As a new homeowner, eliminating other debt before you get your mortgage will also make it easier to budget and keep on top of mortgage repayments.
- Check Your Credit Report
Any lender will look at your credit report and see the strength of it as a key factor in what they offer you, so checking this yourself first should be a priority. You can get a free credit report from a number of trustworthy websites. Find out if you have a high credit score or a low credit score and see how you can improve or maintain this.
- Have a Price in Mind
Property prices are wildly different depending on where in the country you want to buy and what kind of property it is. London house prices can differ massively, based on which area you’re looking at. It’s important to have an area in mind, as this will help you determine how much money you need to save for a deposit. Once you decide where you want to move to, you can budget accordingly and figure out how long it will take you to save.
You may find some great deals on house prices because a lot of renovation work is needed. While getting a smaller mortgage for a property like this might be easier, bear in mind that you’ll then need money to renovate the property.
- Buy Together
Buying a property with another person is a great way to double your savings for a deposit. For many couples, investing in a mortgage together is a big step and can help considerably with getting onto the property ladder. Buying with a friend is another viable option. For both friends and couples, it’s important to have a thorough discussion beforehand and be clear about the investment in case any disputes occur.
- Get Some First-Time Mortgage Advice
Mortgages for first-time buyers can certainly feel overwhelming. There are not only a variety of lenders, but also different types of mortgage repayment schemes and other additional fees such as stamp duty and surveyors. Opting for some first-time mortgage advice from an independent mortgage advisor can help immensely. You’ll be able to talk through which options are available and what works best for you and your finances.
Scott Farrell is the director of Rite Mortgages, offering independent mortgage advice to first-time buyers and plenty more. Scott and the team can help secure mortgages for first-time buyers with bad credit scores, freelance workers and many other situations.