If you ever hear anybody talking about buying their first home it is almost always accompanied by a look of wild excitement and fear. With so much to consider it is no wonder first time buyers have lots of questions about the process. Which house to buy? North facing or south facing garden? Driveway or garage? New-build or flat? Solicitor’s fees, stamp duty, deposit – the list is endless!

In recent months there has been a large focus on how hard it is to get on to the housing ladder without a huge deposit, with some predicting that First Time Buyers need to save for almost 12 years before accumulating enough funds to buy their own home! Couple this with the shortage of housing and difficulty in obtaining mortgages and it is easy to see why the process can be challenging.

It is not however, all doom and gloom! Recent research shows that first time buying costs almost £700 a year less than renting. Data from Halifax plc showed that in June 2015 the average monthly cost of a three bedroom home was around £666 compared to £722 for renting the same kind of property, a monthly saving of £56!

Cheaper mortgage rates, shared ownership schemes and government backed Help to Buy Schemes mean that lending is on the rise. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said it had seen a 24% increase on the previous month in the value of mortgages taken out by first-time buyers. Add this to the stamp duty changes we saw at the end of 2014 and things are looking up for first time buyers.

Getting the right advice is crucial, starting with financial advice, a knowledgeable agent and a helpful solicitor. Preparation is the key. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at each step on the journey to owning your own home. After all, it is probably the biggest financial commitment of your life!

To be prepared is half the victory!

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