Buying a new home for the first time can be a daunting prospect. There are many things to consider well in advance of getting the keys and moving in. To make things a bit more manageable, we have compiled a simple checklist of some of the most common concerns buyers face, which should help get you ready for the day you move in. For the first ten tips to help you on your way to home ownership, read on:

Have you registered on your local electoral roll?

Lenders use this information to confirm your name and address and to combat fraud, so contact your local council if you’re unsure whether you have registered. This can take up to 3 months to take effect, so register on the Electoral Roll early to help your chances of being granted a mortgage.

Have you got a savings account?

You will need enough money saved for a deposit on a mortgage, as well other associated costs, such as legal fees. A savings fund dedicated specifically to your new home might help you keep an eye on how you’re going.

Have you got a household budget?

Saving for a mortgage might mean you need to know where your money is currently being spent. If you start looking at what you’re spending it may help you get an idea of what you can afford.

Is your household changing?

Are you planning on starting a family? Are your children moving out of home? Consider what size property you will need when the time comes to reserve, as this may impact on your eligibility.

What are your priorities for your next home?

When looking for a property you need to know what criteria you want in your next home. Think about your priorities, you'll want to be ready when you find the right place so it's best you're already aware of what you're willing to compromise on, and what you're not.

How much furniture do you have?

Are you looking to upsize? Downsize? You may need to think about whether everything will fit into a smaller space, or whether you're looking for room to entertain and need a couple of extra chairs.

Do you currently own a car?

Some of our developments may be a car-free scheme – meaning there will be no parking spaces available at the development. It might pay to think about what the easiest way to commute would be; check out cycling / walking routes, public transport links, and travel card prices.

What community amenities do you use?

Do you have a regular place of worship, recreation or other community group? Check out what’s available in the area you’re looking to buy so you can familiarise yourself with their schedules and facilities.

Do you have accessibility requirements?

You may not know that some of our schemes are adaptable for wheelchairs, so that we can provide affordable purchase options to more customers via Shared Ownership.

Did you know we sell off-plan?

This means we sell the majority of our properties before they are completed. The process involves choosing the property size you want and using floor plans, brochures and computer generated imagery to select the property you wish to purchase.

How is your savings plan going?

Do you have a monthly target? If you're exceeding it, you may be able to save a larger deposit than you'd initially thought. If you're not meeting it, you may need to consider why this is, and whether your target needs reassessing.

Do you have a moving company in mind?

Getting ready before you find a property means you can compare costs and also determine how much space you’ll need. Plus it gives you time to recruit friends and family if they’ll need to lend a hand.

Do you have copies of your documentation?

A solicitor can help you with this closer to the time of purchase, but it wouldn’t hurt to start checking you have copies of necessary paperwork to help complete a purchase as quickly and easily as possible.

Do you know what to expect when purchasing?

Doing something for the first time can be daunting, so a good way to feel comfortable with purchasing a property is to know what to expect. Familiarise yourself with the sales process and sequence of events using our handy Guide to Shared Ownership.

Have you thought about choosing a mortgage lender?

Your mortgage adviser and solicitor can help you select the best product and lender for your needs closer to the time of purchase. However it’s never too early to start researching which products are available and which lenders cater for Shared Ownership.

Will your needs change in the future?

It might pay to have an idea in mind as to your future plans and how long you will be living in the property you wish to purchase. If you are looking at starting a family or already have children, researching local area schools and nurseries ahead of time could be useful.

Have you contacted a mortgage adviser?

When you make a viewing appointment, you'll need to bring along a completed Financial Assessment Form. You'll also need to provide various documents like Payslips, Bank Statements, etc. on the day. We advise you start collecting your documents ahead of time so check the full list of mortgage advisers.

Do you know your credit rating?

It is also very useful to have a copy of your Credit Reference File for your financial interview, either with Experian or Equifax. This will help you identify any issues in securing a mortgage. Find out more about your credit score at Experian.

Which solicitors are best to use?

We offer a panel of selected solicitors who are experts in Shared Ownership so can help you with what can at times be a daunting new step. It is beneficial to have a solicitor in mind at the viewing stage, so take a look at our panel of solicitors to help you get prepared.

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