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Top 10 tips for first-time buyers

BUYING your first home? There's a lot to think about from rising property prices and tougher lending rules to legal bills and buying carpets and curtains. Shared ownership expert ALAN BRADLEY, Head of Sales at Bromford, offers homehunters his Top 10 Tips

Tip No 1 Start saving. You may already have a nest-egg. If not, make a regular commitment to save as much as you can sensibly afford and you may be surprised how quickly it mounts up. With shared ownership, a typical first-time buyer deposit is usually less than half what you'll be expected to pay for a traditional open-market home. The amount depends on local property prices and each buyer's finances but most put down £3,000-£5,000 as a 5% deposit.

Tip No 2 Pay your bills on time.  As a first-time buyer, you'll have to prove your credit worthiness to qualify for shared ownership and when applying for a mortgage. Missed or late payments for credit cards and other household bills can make a big difference to the success − or otherwise − of your application.

Joint buyers eat pizza

Tip No 3 Cut back on those trips to Nando's and Pizza Hut. Lenders expect a really detailed breakdown of your monthly spending now that tougher lending rules are in force.  The aim, of course, is to make sure that you can afford all your monthly payments, especially if − as is forecast − interest rates start to rise later this year or early in 2015.

Tip No 4 Get organised. That means making a list of all the must-have features you want in your new home. It means making sure that you have all the payslips, household bills, bank statements and receipts that lenders will want to see. It means staying on top of all the form filling, letter writing and phone calls when you're buying a home.

Deposit Match bumslap

Tip No 5 Location, location. Most buyers want to live near family and friends − and shared ownership can make that dream come true at a price that ordinary working people can afford. But think carefully about the cost of your daily journey to and from work. Is the home of your choice within walking distance of a train station or major bus route? If you buy a home there, can you manage with one car? It could save you £££s.

Tip No 6 Don't forget to budget for your solicitor's bill, the cost of hiring a van or removal firm and the expense of furnishing your new home. Try to keep back a contingency fund because no matter how well you plan your finances you can easily end up spending more than you planned.

Tip No 7 Watch out for special incentives. Bromford and other housing providers sometimes offer buyers free carpets with selected homes or other incentives such as our recent cashback deal at Colliers Green (pictured below). With the cost of carpeting or hard-flooring a typical two-bed home at £1,500 or more, these special deals are well worth having. My advice is to register for updates.

Colliers Green showhome lounge

Tip No 8 Buying with Bromford? Choose a solicitor who knows shared ownership. It makes life much easier and we can probably recommend you to someone who we know will have experience of helping first-time buyers through the buying process.

Tip No 9 Make friends with your new home sales consultant. We're all here to help you at every stage of the homebuying journey so make use of us and our expertise. You can call us, email or stay in touch through Twitter or Facebook if you prefer.

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Tip No 10 Keep saving. If you've been renting from a private landlord, you'll probably find your monthly outlay is lower with shared ownership. My advice is to put a little of that saved spending into a household "piggybank" for rainy days. Remember, you're a homeowner now. Your new home guarantee will cover you for any major problems that could arise but you're responsible if, for instance, your gutters or downpipes are blocked with leaves. Oh, and don't forget to make sure you've got all the insurance cover you need.

To find out more about low-cost home ownership and how it could make YOUR property dream come true, call one of our expert advisors on 0845 60 10 878 or register for updates. You can also keep in touch by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

* This is an updated version of the Top Tips story that was published on Thursday, August 14

15 August 2014