When it comes to buying your first home, the whole mortgage process can be quite overwhelming at first. However, once you get your head around how it all works, it’s fairly straightforward. It’s just a matter of understanding the financial factors and the different types of mortgage available and how each one works.
First and foremost it’s important to understand what the term mortgage means. A mortgage is simply the term for a loan secured against a property. As such, when you take out a mortgage, you’re required to keep to a pre-arranged payment plan and if you fail to do so, the lender can repossess the property. Don’t panic though, mortgages are designed so that the risk of falling behind is minimal and so you are only allowed to borrow an amount that you can afford to pay back.
Deposit: Once you have found a property that you are interested in and you agree to buy the property, you will be required to pay a deposit. This will normally depend upon your credit status and the price of the property. If the property you are purchasing is £150,000 and you are paying a 10% deposit, you will have to pay £15,000. If you can afford to pay a higher deposit than is required, it often makes sense, as this will lower your mortgage payments and make life a little easier.
Other costs: You will also need to put money aside for the associated costs of buying a house such as:
Conveyancing: The legal process of buying or selling a home is called conveyancing - you will need a solicitor to make sure that there are no legal problems with the house you are buying. On a property value of £150,000 the legal fees would be around £600 including VAT
Stamp Duty: This is a government tax. If you buy a home in the UK you have to pay this tax as soon as you become the legal owner (called exchange of contracts). The tax rates are as follows:
Up to £125,000 – 0%
£125,000 to £250,000 – 1%
£250,000 to £500,000 – 3%
£500,000 to £1m – 4%
£1m-£2m – 5%
Over £2m - 15%
Valuation Fee: Your lender may charge you a fee to have the property valued to ensure that the property is being sold at a fair value
Arrangement Fee: Your lender or mortgage advisor may charge an arrangement fee for organising the mortgage
House Purchase £150,000
10% Deposit £15,000
Stamp Duty £1,500
Valuation Fee £300
Arrangement Fee £500
Total Funds Required £17,900
Types of mortgage: There are essentially two different types of mortgage to suit people with different needs and with different priorities. A repayment mortgage will allow you to pay back the money you have borrowed, along with a set amount of interest over a set period, until you have paid back all that you owe. An interest only mortgage means that you only have to pay the interest on the property back. However, at the end of the period you will still owe the amount that you have borrowed. Interest only mortgages are not as common these days and most lenders will require that you have a plan in place to ensure that you have the required capital in place so that you can pay the balance at the end of the term.
How much can you borrow? Well that will depend on a variety of things, ranging from your income to your expenses. When you make an application, the lender will look at these things to ensure that you’re not borrowing too much. This is a good thing, as you won’t want to find yourself in arrears down the line.
Getting the right mortgage: Before diving in head first with one bank or another, it’s a good idea to shop around and see what each one is offering. This could also help with the decision process as it will help you see what options are available for you and your individual circumstances. Our advice would be to speak to an independent mortgage advisor who can quote the best rates from the whole market.
For more information on mortgages or for a mortgage quote on a property you would like to buy, please contact one of our independent mortgage advisors on 0800 298 1080.
Now the boring financial bit is out the way all that remains is finding the right home for you. By choosing a UK letting agent or estate agent with an excellent reputation and an extensive network, you will no doubt have a positive experience, whilst finding the right property at a good price.