Expert advice for first time buyers


Laura McFadzean ELPBuying your first property can be a very exciting yet very nerve-wracking process.  It will almost certainly be the most important purchase you have made in your life so far, and it can be difficult to know where to start.  Laura MacFadzean, partner at ELP Solicitor, gives a couple of pieces of advice for first time buyers which will hopefully help you along the way.

Think about the long term

First of all, you should think about the longer term when deciding which property to buy.  Before the recession, first time buyers might have expected to stay in their first property for a couple of years and then sell up and buy something bigger or in a better area.  In the current market, however, many first time owners are finding it difficult to sell their property and make that move up the ladder.  You should therefore think carefully about various factors before deciding to buy a property. Here are a few examples.

Size is important. Will this property still be big enough for you in, say, five years’ time, or will you soon need an extra bedroom or a bigger kitchen?

boxes and clutter

Location, location, location

Location is also something to think about. You could think about factors which will affect where you are likely to want to live in the longer term, for example your job, local amenities, travel links, and school catchment areas.

Repairs, renovations and re-saleability

The topic of repairs and renovations may also be worth discussing. It is important to take into account the cost of any repairs or renovations which will be required to a property so that you can budget for these and make a more accurate comparison of the cost of different properties.

The idea of future re-saleability should also be at the forefront of your mind when deciding on a property. Make sure that you choose a property which will appeal to as wide a range of future potential purchasers as possible so that you maximise your chances of selling the property quickly and for a good price in future.

After considering factors such as these, you may well decide to go for a different type of property entirely from the kind you originally envisaged.

Take advantage of buyers' market

Secondly, I would advise all first time buyers to take full advantage of their position as an attractive purchaser in a buyers’ market.  Don’t be shy about going for the best possible deal for you in terms of price, date of entry, or anything else which may be important to you (for example, asking the seller to fix a defect in the property for you).  Chances are the seller will agree to a slightly lower price, or a date of entry that suits you, or any other reasonable condition you may have rather than risk losing the sale, particularly if their property has been on the market for a while.  This is where advice from your solicitor will be invaluable – s/he is best positioned to help you negotiate the best deal, and will have a feel as to just how far to push it and when to say no to the sellers’ agents’ attempts to push the price up just that little bit further.

Meeting with a solicitor

Get house hunting

So, now it’s time for you to have a look at the excellent range of properties available to buy through the ESPC, and take the next step towards buying your very first property.  If you haven’t already appointed a solicitor, use the ESPC Find A Solicitor search.

About the author

Laura McFadzean is a partner at ELP Solicitors with over 10 years’ experience of buying, selling and re-mortgaging residential property. With a wealth of experience, she is a great addition to the ESPC Paper Experts team!