Buying a property can be the biggest decision made in our lives. It is for this very reason that impartial advice is critical from competent and qualified advisers. Whether you are a first time buyer, looking to remortgage, purchase a second home or even looking to release equity to provide income in retirement.
For free, independent financial advice with no obligations, please feel free to contact Reel Estates so that we can arrange an appointment with our in house advisor from Genie Mortgages.
First Time Buyer
Buying a house is one of the most important purchases you will make, and buying a home for the first time will be an even more daunting prospect. Add to this the vast array of mortgage products available from a wide range of sources and you could be left with a high-stress, confusing decision. To help you with making the right decision we have put together 10 top tips for you
- Ensure that you are realistic when working out exactly how much you can afford to spend on your new house. You should ensure the intended mortgage is affordable (by doing a budget calculation) and it is wise to seek a Decision in Principle certificate, so that you know how much you can offer once you have found a suitable property. Even a newly built house will require some sort of furnishings, whereas older properties may require extensive work, such as re-flooring, tiling or renewing the wiring. Make sure that you factor in all these likely expenses, in addition to the purchase price, and other fees such as conveyancing and stamp duty.
- When buying for the first time, there may be a number of details in the houses you are looking at, which you may not pick up. Always take an experienced home buyer, such as one of your parents, or a home-owning friend, when looking at property. If this is difficult to arrange, then make sure you at least get some assistance once you have selected a property you like and are arranging a second viewing.
- If you have been used to living at home with your parents, remember to budget for expenses such as council tax, gas and electricity bills, boiler servicing, and other home repairs.
- Make sure you know what the likely council tax charge will be in your new property. The selling agent should be able to tell you what tax band the house you are interested in buying is in, and how the charges are levied by your local authority.
- Even if you do not have children, remember that property in the catchment area of good local schools will always be much easier to sell on. However, this may also be reflected in a higher purchase price.
- Always consider how your transport arrangements will change in your new house. If you have a car, your insurance premium may increase dramatically if you move from a town with relatively low crime into a city centre with higher crime rates or if you move from your parents' house with a locked garage to a smaller terraced house with on-street parking. If your car is insured in your parents' name in order to reduce premiums, be prepared for these to be increased when you move into your new property and become the first named driver.
- Consider the availability of public transport services, making sure you find out local bus routes, the frequency of train services from your nearest station, and, if you are moving a long distance, the range of flights available from your local airport. Even if you drive everywhere, this information will be useful for anyone coming to visit you who does not drive.
- Write down a list of local amenities which are important to you. This may include shops, restaurants, pubs, sports centres, parks, and cinemas. If you enjoy activities such as walking, or cycling, the neighbourhood you plan to move in to may be very different to the one your parents are living in, and may not have the same access to parks and other recreational facilities. Before making any final decision about where to move to, take a stroll or bike ride around the local area, and note down where the key facilities are.
- If you are a heavy internet user, check to see that broadband or other high speed internet is available in the street you are moving into. The selling agent should be able to tell you this.
- Try, where possible, to find somewhere to live that is close to your main place of work. Commuting can be one of the biggest household expenses, and as you are likely to be spending much more time on domestic chores and/or DIY, living somewhere which minimises your commuting distance will be very important. If property is more expensive nearer to your place of work, make sure you weigh up this additional expense, when compared to the costs and time of commuting. You may wish to ask colleagues in your workplace to see if there are possibilities to lift share with anyone from the area.
Remortgages can be used for various reasons. However, most people simply switch mortgages because it will work out cheaper for them. For example, the introductory discounted interest rate may have finished with your current lender; therefore you could potentially get a new discount rate, or a lower APR, with another lender. Another example is when you may need to re- mortgage to consolidate debts.
It is worth noting that a remortgage is not the best option in all cases. Even if the lender you are considering switching to is offering a lower APR, you must take into consideration the facts that:
- The new lender may charge you for valuation and solicitors fees, even if you have already paid these for your mortgage with your current lender.
- If you switch mortgage remember to look at the overall repayment period. You may be able to pay less monthly, but check the final repayment date of the mortgage as well.
Also you may be able to switch your mortgage deal with your current lender, avoiding any unnecessary costs. Many lenders will allow you to switch your mortgage deal reasonably frequently.
THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE SECURING OTHER DEBTS AGAINST YOUR HOME. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR OTHER DEBT SECURED AGAINST IT.
Securing short term debts against your home could increase the term over which they are paid and therefore increase the overall amount payable
You may have to pay an early repayment charge to your existing lender if you re-mortgage. You can choose how we are paid for mortgages; pay a fee or we can accept commission from the lender, or a combination of fee and commission.
Buy to Let
Becoming a private landlord should not be seen as an easy way of making money. It can be riskier and more complicated. It can also be very time consuming, more than most forms of investment, and there is no guarantee that house prices will rise. That said, having a second property to let to tenants could reap considerable financial rewards over time.
There are 3 main differences in buy to let mortgages:
- Rent Potential - the decision as to whether or not a mortgage will be offered is based on the rent you will earn as well as your income. In some cases your income is not ever considered.
- Interest Rate - buy to let mortgages have slightly higher interest.
- Larger Deposit - typically a minimum of 20% or 25% of the property's value is required as a deposit.
When buying a second property to let, you will need to decide whether your primary objective is income or capital growth. In other words, are you looking to make a profit month on month or are you looking to make a profit through increased equity from the second property if it increases in value over time? The decision may affect the type of property you purchase, and the location.
When you manage a property there are many costs involved in addition to the monthly mortgage repayments. As a guide, you should be aiming to achieve a gross rent of about 135% of the rental property's interest only mortgage repayments in order to cover your costs should anything go wrong.
These additional costs include:
- Property upkeep - maintenance costs for the property.
- Letting agent's fees - letting agents charge around 10% of the monthly rent for finding and vetting tenants with an additional cost of around 5% if you require a full management service.
- Ground rent / service charges - applicable to leasehold properties.
- Legal insurance - to cover costs from evicting tenants in the event of non-payment, very important, as this can be very expensive.
- Insurance - building insurance and contents insurance for the items provided as part of the rental agreement.
- Furnishings - the purchase of any furniture. If the property is to be let furnished, make sure you are covered for this by your home insurance.
- Gas / electrical appliances - cost of maintaining appliances and ensuring they comply with any regulations such as safety tests.
- Decorating costs - the property may require work ranging from painting, to a new bathroom suite before it is suitable for letting to tenants.
When choosing a property to let, it is wise to take advice from local letting agents to determine; what types of properties are in need and which parts of the town are best or most wanted. They can tell you if there is a University in the town, and if students are looking for somewhere to live.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage(s).