Ready, steady, step up: 5 tips for first time home buyers

Ready, steady, step up: 5 tips for first time home buyers


First time buyers were the largest group of property buyers in 2022. And according to Zoopla’s latest report, they will be “a strong source of new sales again in 2023.”

Nothing seems to dent the dream of home ownership, not even the recent cost of living increases and mortgage rate hikes. This spring, we have already welcomed a record number of first time buyers to our offices in Westminster, London Bridge and Kennington.

That’s why we are taking the opportunity to explore the steps to buying a house for the first time.

Here are some of the key home buyer requirements you’ll need to consider as you climb on the first rung on the property ladder.

1) Break down your budget

Get a head start by establishing your budget, including short term costs and long term expenditures.

Short term costs include:

  • Buyer’s deposit
  • Stamp duty
  • Conveyancing, survey, mortgage valuation fee, and other professional fees
  • Moving costs

 Long term costs include:

  • Monthly mortgage payments
  • Maintenance costs
  • Insurance
  • Council tax
  • Utilities (Gas, Electricity, TV)
  • Any other charges (i.e. concierge fees or parking charges).

2) Pre-arrange your mortgage

Once you have calculated how much you can afford on a monthly basis, you can apply for a mortgage offer in principle. One of the best tips to finding a new home is to get a pre-approved mortgage offer: this allows you to act quickly as soon as you discover your dream home.

A mortgage broker can pick out the best deal for your personal circumstances. Mortgage rates have been going up recently, but the Bank of England predicts they will have peaked at 4.75 per cent by the end of this year.

3) Choose your location

Don’t have an ideal location in mind? Then spend some time familiarising yourself with each London neighbourhood. Our helpful area guides are a great place to start.

Much will depend on your lifestyle: do you want a buzzing nightlife right on your doorstep, or would you prefer an area with good schools and open green spaces? Do you need to commute to the office on a regular basis, or will you be working from home?

Draw up a wish list of ideal locations, but be prepared to compromise.

4) Capitalise on your estate agent’s knowledge

A good estate agent will have deep local knowledge of every street in their area. And they’ll often be the first to hear when a property becomes available. So most importantly share with your agent the main motivations for your move and they will help adjust the search accordingly.

If your heart is set on a desirable location that’s outside your budget, your agent can probably help. They may be able to guide you to a more accessibly-priced property: just outside your target area but close enough to enjoy all the local amenities.

5) Get in touch

As a family-run business, we take pride in offering a truly personal service to first time buyers. If you are searching for your first home and would like any help or advice, we’d love to hear from you.