10 Essential Home Buyer Tips for Mortgage Sharers

Once you've found someone you'd be happy to share a mortgage with to buy your first home (if you haven’t, join Share a Mortgage and we can help you!); you can now move to the 'business end' of securing your bricks and mortar.

Here's 10 'insider' tips to help turn your home-buying aspiration into a reality:

1 - Know what you can afford

Have you looked at Share a Mortgage's Home Buying Tools?

We've provided a number of great tools to help you work out what you can afford and what size of mortgage you can apply for etc.

If you haven't already, please check out the following:

You should all know what your credit position is and have recent copies of your credit scores, which should be good in order for you to apply for your mortgage. Click to find out more about credit, credit scores and how to improve them.

You'll need to have deposit funds of at least 5% of the selling price of the property you want to buy between you and you are going to have to factor in the costs of buying a home between you as well; your conveyancing (including property searches), your survey (your mortgage valuation but also your own home buyers survey, which you should always get), your property searches and other things such as your home removals are likely to cost you perhaps £2,000 to £3,000 in total.

The beauty of all this is you'll be splitting all these fixed costs between all the sharers!

Also, since November 2018, if you're buying a property in England, as long as you and anyone you're buying with have never owned or part-owned a place in any part of the world, the first £300,000 will now be exempt from stamp duty, up to a maximum value of £500,000. Click to read more about how first time buyer stamp duty relief works.

2 - Look at Government and other schemes

With Help to Buy you can have a deposit as low as 5% (but anything more than this always helps because you'll be able to get a lower interest rate on your borrowing). You might also wish to consider options such as shared ownership, where required deposits are lower because they're calculated only on the percentage of the property you want to buy.

Another scheme of note is Heylo Housing (click to find out more), where you can actually buy a property without a mortgage!

3 - Get Your Mortgage in Principle

Extra Tip: Talk to an Independent Mortgage Broker (for FREE!)

Getting a mortgage - and the right one - is fundamental to being able to share buying a home. There's a bewildering number of mortgages out there - more than 3,000 products and counting - and an independent mortgage broker can direct you to the right one for your individual needs.

You also want to get it right because if your mortgage application fails, it'll hurt your credit score which makes future applications more difficult. An independent mortgage broker isn't tied to any particular lender's products and can help you with your application, so you can put your best foot forward.

When your lender approves your mortgage application, they give you an agreement in principle. This is critical, because it demonstrates to sellers and estate agents that you're ready to move.

4 - Think hard about the kind of house you want

You've done well to organise your budget and your ability to buy, now you'll want to agree between you about matters such as where you're going to buy and the kind of property you want. Even though your choice may not be huge, you should still work out and agree what's best given the options you have.

Some people may hanker after a garden, some may have challenges with stairs. Regardless, if you can pinpoint as much as possible what works, that'll help immensely.

5 - Use online sources as intelligently as possible

You'll know about sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla and that you can home in on properties in terms of where they are, how many bedrooms they have, what types they are and the prices being asked. But you should refine your searches further if you can, looking at matters such as parking for example.

Also, don't overlook using these sites' advanced options for checking out things like travel times to specific locations and factor in any other questions that are particularly important for you and your mortgage buddies to have answers to (for example, where the local schools are if you have children).

6 - Make friends with your local estate agents!

Given that estate agents are gatekeepers when it comes to knowing about properties which have just been put up for sale, it really makes sense to get to know them and tell them what you're looking for: they'll want to help you because it's their livelihood after all...!

You become even more of a prospect if you have your mortgage in principle ready - your estate agent will know that you can proceed more quickly.

7 - Visit properties together - really make use of them

Something of a no-brainer perhaps but you should definitely visit properties together as you'll need to agree as to whether you put in an offer or not. And you should be as forensic and unemotional (yes, that may be difficult!) as possible: south facing garden? Any smell of damp? Cracks larger than the width of a 10p piece? What's the parking like? Ambient noise levels? Water pressure in the taps?

And you should be a 'geek' - take notes! Remember that you might end up visiting more than a dozen properties; you want to ensure that you remember one from another properly.

8 - Found a nice property? Check out comparable sold prices

Once you've agreed that you want to put in an offer on a particular property, you should then check out recently sold prices online for similar properties to give you a steer on what a good offer might be.

In no sense is this an exact science; allow for the fact that no two properties are the same but do your homework nonetheless: it might save you £1,000s.

9 - Don't shy away from negotiating!

It's always worth negotiating in business - and properties are items where this can mean £1,000s worth of difference. As first time buyers with a mortgage in principle you have got something to offer, not least you don't have a property to sell in turn so there'll be less potential delay for your seller.

10 - Keep organised until you have your new keys!

You'll all need to keep your momentum going until you move in; there's any number of jobs that you'll all have to do and things you'll all have to stay on the ball about.