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A First-time Buyers Guide to Making an Offer

If you’re a first-time buyer and have begun the hunt for your first home, you may think that once you’ve found the right one you simply offer what they ask for; job done! However, when it comes to making an offer on a home, there’s a bit more work that should go into it than simply offering the price advertised.

You need to be confident when making an offer that you’re not going to be stung by an inflated asking price or take yourself out of the running by offering too low. To help you prepare, we’ve put together the following information to help you through this stage of the home buying process.

Get some advice

The first and arguably most important step you need to take is speaking to an expert. If you’re a first-time buyer, then you probably don’t have a wealth of knowledge on how the market works and what you can and can’t afford. Get in touch with a mortgage advisor, get informed on how it all works and more importantly, find out what your price range is so when you do make a formal offer you can do so with confidence.

Research the local market

Once you know how much you’ll be able to spend, it’s time to get a better understanding of your local market. The more research the better. Take a look at what’s up for sale and find out what your budget will get you in each area.

Build a list of key features that your home will need, such as the number of bedrooms or a driveway. The chances of you moving into your dream property with your first move are somewhat slim; however, it’s important that you know what you’re looking for and how much it will cost you in each area.

It would be wise at this point to get in touch with a local estate agent. You can do as much research as possible, but a good local agent will always be a benefit as they will know the market like the back of their hand. This means that they can fill you in on what to expect from vendors and hopefully help you avoid any pitfalls.

Get out there and book some viewings

Now that you’ve done your research on what you want, what you can afford and what the market has to offer, it’s time to book some viewings and get out there. Things can move very quickly in the property market, so your previous work and research leading up to this point will come in handy as there’ll be no time wasted travelling to unsuitable areas or over-priced properties.

While viewing properties, be sure to check out the building’s structure and not just its décor. Check for any damage such as cracks in walls or damp. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting into and have a good idea of the current state of the home as it can help form your offer.

When you find the right home, be ready to act!

If you’ve managed to find the right home, then it would be best to act quickly as there’s a good chance you’re not the only one eyeing up that house. If you’re ready to make an offer, consider a few things before doing so. How much do other similar properties go for in the area? Does the property need some repairs? Have house prices dropped slightly since the home was first put on the market? We’d all love to knock a few thousand off the asking price, but the seller isn’t going to make such a concession easily, so if your offer is lower than the asking price, you’ll need to demonstrate why.

The Final Steps

Now before you finally put your offer on the table, try and organise all the other pieces of the puzzle beforehand so you are ready to go as soon as it’s accepted. If you’re a first-time buyer then one of your major benefits is that you don’t have to organise selling your own home, but if you can organise such things as surveys and solicitors then it’ll make the process much smoother.

Fife Properties Group Office Owner, Jim Parker said, “It is a daunting process of making an offer but the most important thing is to establish what funds you have. This means getting the financing right and speaking to a specialist mortgage broker to help get the best deal.”

If you want to book a FREE initial consultation with our specialists please tap the link to contact any of our local offices or book online

Home ownership rates for young families rise

After a three-decade-long hiatus during which it became even harder for young families to purchase their own property, official statistics from the Resolution Foundation thinktank have shown that ownership rates amongst this group are now on the rise.

According to the thinktank statistics, 190,000 more young families became homeowners over the course of the past two years with the biggest increases observed in Yorkshire and the Humber, Scotland and the North West, where the proportion of young families who are homeowners has risen by between 4.6% and 8.4%. The thinktank calculated the figures from government surveys dating back to 1961.

The last 30 years have seen a downward trend in ownership rates among young families, due to a variety of factors, including changes in the property market and fiscal instabilities. During the 1980s, homeownership peaked at 51% in 1989; however, this figure had halved to only 25% by 2016, being the lowest level since at least 1961 (the earliest government survey). By the end of 2018, the downward trend was finally bucked, with rates of homeownership increasing to 28%, with the numbers also trending upwards as we move into 2019.

Resolution suggested that the changes in trend are down to differences in mortgage offerings over the past two years, with lower-deposit and more flexible offerings now available as well as the availability of larger mortgages. In addition to changes in lending habits, there is the relative slowdown in house price growth and stamp duty relief for first-time buyers, which have also aided those looking to join the property market.

Daniel Tomlinson, a research and policy analyst at Resolution, said: “Recent conditions in the housing market as we move away from the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis are finally helping more young families to buy a home of their own, but the long-term drivers of lower ownership rates are here to stay.”

For many young families, the opportunities now available to them to help them join the property market are now being made the most of, and therefore we are seeing the upward trend in ownership rates. A willingness to be more flexible in terms of their finances, as well as a willingness to move away from the bigger cities and in to more affordable areas, are helping this group to purchase a family home, however the Institute for Fiscal Studies commented this year that average house prices had risen around seven times faster than the average income in the last 20 years, showing that property ownership is still no mean feat.

Fife Properties Group Office Owner, Jim Parker commented, “It is always great news to hear young families are now beginning to get on the property ladder after so long. Our biggest challenge is getting more houses to sell to accommodate them.” If you are looking to sell in 2019 then please feel free to book your FREE initial consultation by clicking on the following link:

The 2018 Budget and its impact on the property market

The recent Budget has ramifications for all of us – with the Chancellor setting out levels at which we pay income tax, fuel duty prices and the all-important “sin taxes” around cigarettes and alcohol. What, therefore, does the Budget 2018 mean for property?

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty has been abolished for all first-time buyers of shared ownership homes (whereby the buyer purchases a share of a home, with the local council or housing association owning the remainder) up to a value of £500,000. The policy will be retrospectively applied from the 2017 budget meaning those who already bought a shared ownership property within the past year will also benefit from the change. Further to this, first-time buyers do not pay any stamp duty on homes below £300,000.

Stamp duty rates in Scotland are now as follows:

  • First £145,000: 0% (£175,000 for First Time Buyers)
  • £145,001 to £250,000: 2%
  • £250,001 to £325,000: 5%
  • £325,001 to £750,000: 10%
  • £750,000+ : 12%

Help To Buy Scheme

There are a few changes being made to the Help to Buy scheme, one of the key points being that the term has been extended to 2023. Further to this extension, the new iteration of the scheme from 2021 to 2023 will only be available to first-time buyers rather than to all, as is the case with the current scheme.

Overseas Investors

A new tax will be introduced for overseas investors, the revenue from which will be used to tackle homelessness across the country. Overseas investors will face an extra charge of 1% to 3% when they buy a UK property, in addition to current stamp duty charges. As well as using the revenue to tackle the increasing problem of homelessness, the intended effect is to dissuade some of the rife competition from the London market which is making purchasing increasingly difficult in the capital.

New Homes

Although the Help to Buy scheme is being extended by two years, there are fears that the cessation of the scheme will slow down new-build homes as there will be fewer buyers able to purchase. The government is intending to give an extra £500 million to councils through the Housing Infrastructure Fund in order to promote the building of new homes and avoid any slowdown in the production of new properties.

Transformed High Streets

As part of a billion-pound boost to the UK’s struggling high streets, the Chancellor has announced a £675 million fund to help councils support their retail zones through this difficult period. An unexpected result of this could be the redesigning of empty retail units into homes – with the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Brian Berry, estimating that as many as 400,000 new homes could be created by making use of empty space above shops on high streets.

Group Office Owner Jim Parker said: “Stamp duty is one of the biggest cons in the government’s history. Raising taxes on what is a necessity while not actually adding any value to the transaction at all or putting anything back into the system. Plus the 3% extra duty on 2nd homes has not solved the initial problem at all, which was to stop overseas buyers.”