Four things first-time buyers should be aware of when purchasing a home

New data from Rightmove highlights that buyer demand has risen by 55% this month compared to the two weeks before Christmas. On top of this, the total number of buyer inquiries has edged 4% higher than the same period in 2019. As major lenders including Nationwide, TSB and Halifax slash rates on hundreds of mortgage deals to levels not seen for 3 months, an increasing number of Brits are being tempted back into the property market. The recent fourth month slump in UK house prices also means that there is more room for increased negotiation and purchasing power, marking a welcome sign for first-time buyers looking to get their foot on the property ladder.

Despite a more stable property market outlook, proprietary research from property technology company, iPlace Global, found that 42% of Brits’ biggest anxiety is that they will be stuck renting for the rest of their life – this figure rises to 47% for millennials. To help first-time buyers make the most out an optimistic window in the market, CEO and founder of iPlace Global, Simon Bath, has created an advisory guide to ensure that they have a better understanding of the overwhelming process when it comes to home ownership. Make sure you’re prepared for the home-buying process:Simon explains that prospective buyers should always take the time to gain a strong understanding of the home buying and moving process. Having a proper understanding of the various steps that come with home ownership – such as conveyancing, insurance, exchanging contracts, deposits and relocations costs, for instance, will make the process more efficient, and ultimately less stressful. Even more importantly by having all your ducks in a row, this could help prevent additional delays throughout the rest of the home buying process.Find the right mortgage deal for you: Currently, there are around 4,000 residential mortgage deals on the market, giving the power of choice back to aspiring buyers. This figure has increased since September’s mini-Budget when it plummeted to 2,560 – with many fixed deals now settling around the 5% mark.Simon notes that given the cost-of-living crisis, it’s important for prospective homeowners to factor in the constraints around affordability. He explains that it is important to choose a mortgage deal that suits you best, whether it’s based on peace of mind or flexibility.

Tracker rates can offer greater flexibility for homeowners due to their short lifespan of anywhere from two to five years – although some lenders offer trackers for the whole duration of your mortgage repayments or until you switch to another deal. A standard variable rate also offers greater freedom for homeowners as they have the ability to leave at any given time.

A fixed-rate deal, however, offers borrowers a greater peace of mind – 75% of Britain’s homeowners are on fixed deals, meaning they’re not directly affected by the base rate. However, these deals often last for a longer period, and if you break your agreement, you will need to pay an early redemption fee.

Shared property ownership could be an affordable option for first-time buyers:An alternative option for those looking to get onto the property ladder right away is through shared partner ownership. Owning a property as beneficial joint tenants means that the property belongs to both owners jointly. The tenants must act together as a single owner for all transactions, including re-mortgaging and selling. As joint tenants, the owners do not own specific shares in the property and do not have the ability to give away a share of the home in a will. If either owner passes away, their interest in the property passes automatically to the other party.

Individuals can also own the property as tenants in common, meaning that the property belongs to the owners jointly, but each person also owns a specific share of its value. An owner can give away, sell, or mortgage their share, and if an owner dies, their share of the property passes to the beneficiary in their will.

Keep Your Eye Out for Regeneration Projects:When looking for an area to buy in, keep your eye out for regeneration projects, especially after a report from CBRE found that houses in these areas enjoy almost 5% above the average price growth. This means that your home will likely grow in value after purchasing which could provide you with some much-needed spending power if you ever decide to sell and upsize.