How To Navigate A First Time Mortgage

27th August 2019

Ben and I bought a house.

It still feels so strange to say/type, even stranger the fact that we have now lived in our little pad since May. We saved and saved and watched a lot of Netflix for 3 years in order to get our deposit, so because it was such a long time to save; in my mind, once we were done saving we would just stumble into a house and that would be that.

HAHAHA NO HUNNI, NO.

There is so much that blew my little mind and the most stressful 2 months getting everything in order. Therefore, it is almost my duty to ease the pain for any other first time buyers.

Buckle up kids, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

First of all let me break down the basics of a mortgage, as to be frank I was pretty in the dark about it all.

A mortgage is a loan from a bank that you are able to use to purchase a property. The mortgage will either be repayment; where you pay back a certain percentage of the loan over a period of time. E.g. a fixed rate percentage for 25 years. Or an interest only mortgage; where you will only pay off the interest that the mortgage is generating, and not the loan itself.

Check your credit score early

Sweet mother of Jesus I cannot stress this point enough. Check your credit score as soon as you decide you want to buy a property. Sign up for a free trial of Experian, fill in the details and see what your score is.

I did not do this, and it was only when a mortgage company was doing their final security checks that it came about ‘oh Jade, you’ve actually failed and thus we cannot approve your mortgage with us’. You can bet your bottom dollar I screamed like a banshee before the waterfall of tears.

Everything worked out alright but it could have resulted in some serious problems for Ben and I.

Experian is free to use, however the free trial is for the paid version which breaks down any problems with your credit score and things you can do to actually improve it. Like using a credit card and paying it off regularly, direct debits with phone contracts and car insurance. LOOK INTO IT.

Hire a mortgage advisor

Depending on where you go, a mortgage advisor is usually around the £150 mark (however it seems to be the world and his dog knows a mortgage advisor) however they are a solid investment. They basically take your information, tell you everything that you need to provide them and find you the best mortgage out there to suit you. They do the hard work and navigate the complex world of repayment periods, fixed percentages and so on. Basically hold your hand through the process which is littered with jargon and obstacles designed to trip you up. A mortgage advisor in my opinion pays for themselves in the stress they alleviate and the help they provide.

Never go in at asking price

It’s a suckers game and the estate agent isn’t working to help you, they’re working for the person selling the house. And of course, they want as much as they can for it and the estate agent wants as much commission as they can. The asking price is always over what it’s actually worth, so go in under. It is scary and they may not expect your offer, but if it’s meant to be it will be and you would have saved yourself thousands of £££.

Read all the paperwork

You will never have seen so much paperwork in your life, there will be references you don’t care about and all you want to do is accept and sign on the dotted line. However at the end of the day, it’s what you’re spending a HUGE amount of money on. You wouldn’t buy a car without a thorough inspection and wanting to know the history, so your home should be no different. Yes it’s beyond dull, but it’ll be worth it when everything is sorted.

Solicitors will make you want to gauge your eyes out

I understand they’re busy. I understand that we’re not their only client, but hot tamale why does it take a week to respond to an email? There is a lot of waiting, there is a lot of back and forth and they will charge you an eye watering amount of money to do it, but at the end of the day you cannot get your home without them. It’s the law. However, don’t be afraid to relentlessly chase and call. Lighting a fire under their butts never hurt anyone.

Set extra money aside for fees

Something Ben and I did was set a limit on what we wanted our deposit to be, and then we saved separately for all the fees that we were going to incur. On average it’s around £3,000 in solicitors fees for all the surveys, checks and whatnot. A huge amount of money and a massive chunk out of your deposit if you haven’t prepared for it.

Talk to other homeowners

When you get stressed out, and it will. It’ll all become too much to comprehend and understand, make sure you talk to someone who already has a mortgage. Your family, friends, colleagues, whoever. So many people have been there and know your struggles, they’ll be able to advise and instruct in areas that you’re struggling with. A problem shared is a problem halved.

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