Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Something For First Time Buyers To Think About

In the past ten years Britain has experienced a property boom, a property crash and a dramatic change in the housing market, making it harder for many people to get on the first rung of the property ladder. 

The days of the widely available low cost mortgage might not be with us any more, but that does not mean owning property is impossible. 

This blog is a short guide for prospective first time buyers who are looking to invest in bricks and mortar. 

Saving a deposit 
Early this year there was some sobering news for house buyers, when it was stated that an average deposit was now over £70,000. 

This staggering sum is due to the introduction of the stringent new lending rules imposed by the Treasury, to ensure that borrowers can repay their loans. 

If you live in Wales the situation is not quite as dire, with the average house price (calculated in December 2014) at £117,000, and a deposit of 30 percent coming to a total of £35,100. 

With deposits costing roughly what entire houses cost in the 1990s, it is essential to start saving as much as possible right away. 

If you are single, this will mean saving from one income.  Couples, with two incomes, obviously have something of an advantage.  You may be looking for answers to the question ‘How do I reduce my mortgage payments or at least spread the cost?’ 

This has led some groups of friends saving for properties together, and has also resulted in more people living with relatives for longer in order to afford a deposit. 

Fees involved 
You will need to take into account all the additional costs and charges that are incurred during the purchase of a house, from stamp duty to solicitors fees.

Stamp duty is a tax payable on all residential properties with a value of £125,001 or more. 

The amount of stamp duty due is calculated as a percentage of the property’s value, and there are several thresholds, depending on the value of the property. 

Between £125,001 and £250,000 stamp duty is two percent of the property’s value.  Property value from £250,001 to £925,000 has 5% stamp duty, £925,001 to £1.5 million has 10%, over £1.5 million its 12% stamp duty. 

Often mortgage lenders will include the cost of solicitors fees for conveyancing (the legal process of purchasing a property) into the mortgage itself.  You should calculate the cost of this over the life of the mortgage and decide whether it is cheaper to pay the solicitors fees yourself.  Another cost that often gets rolled into the mortgage is the surveyor’s fee. 

Without a survey of the property, most lenders will not consider offering a mortgage, they need to know that the house is not going to start falling apart days after you move in. 

Again, make sure you calculate over the long term how much this will really cost you and then make your decision accordingly. 

Help to Buy 
The best news for first time buyers facing exorbitant costs is the government’s Help To Buy scheme. Help to buy is not just limited to first time buyers, but they can access it to purchase any property up to the value of £600,000. 

The scheme works as follows. Buyers are expected to put down five percent of the property price, so on a £200,000 house that would mean a deposit of £10,000. 

This would be matched by a loan from the government of 20 percent or in this example £40,000, for which borrowers will not be charged for the first five years.

Thereafter they will pay a fee of 1.75 percent of the loan’s value.  There will be a variable fee based on the rate of interest in subsequent years. 

The more you pay off the actual capital of the loan, the lower the annual charges will be. 

Banks may look more favourably on borrowers if they are backed up by a relative offering to stand as a guarantor. 

This means that if the borrower defaults, the guarantor agrees to take on the loan repayments. Parents with equity in their own homes may well be the best people to offer this kind of guarantee. 


For more information please do not hesitate to contact the team at Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664 or by email on wwfs@wardwilliams.co.uk.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Guide To House Buying Jargon

When you buy a house, you hear lots of unusual terms.  

Here are our 'dictionary' definitions of terms used when buying a house to help you understand the confusing world of property jargon.  

Arrangement Fee
As the name suggests, it is the fee that the mortgage lender charges for arranging the loan.

To be behind with ones mortgage payments.

Building survey
The essential survey you must take out on the property, to assess its construction and condition, to make sure it does not collapse the moment you open the front door.

A ‘chain’ of buyers and sellers i.e. the people you are buying the property from are in a ‘chain’ with sellers they are buying from, and you might also be in a chain with buyers of your property. At any given time this chain might, and frequently does, break down.

A payment made to an estate agent on completion of the house sale.

When contracts, keys and monies have changed hands between buyer and seller.

A legally binding agreement.

The complicated legal work your solicitor does to help you buy a property and make sure your rights are protected.

A legal agreement specifying the uses of the land or property.

Credit check
An examination of your previous credit worthiness, debt repayments and defaults. A poor credit score can limit your chances of further borrowing

A document granting legal ownership to a person of a property.

Endowment mortgage
A mortgage paid off by an endowment, which is an investment policy that pays out after a specific and fixed period of time or on the holder’s death.

Exchange of contracts
Where two people exchange contracts over a property.

Fixed rate mortgage
Where the interest rate on a mortgage is fixed for a period of time, normally in anticipation of a future rate rise.

The land beneath the property.  Ownership of this is particularly important if you are buying a flat.

The rather dubious practice of offering a higher bid on a property to secure it, after it has been offered to somebody else.

The practice of demanding a lower price on a property at a crucial moment in the sale in the hope that the vendor will agree to prevent the sale from falling through.

Policies that pay out compensation to the holder in the event of accident, damage or ill health.

Interest only mortgage
A mortgage where the actual balance of the loan is not repaid, only the interest payments on the loan.

Land certificate
A document that verifies the ownership of a piece of land.

Land registration
The recording of ones ownership of a particular piece of land.

Land registry fee
The cost of the previous entry.

The ownership of a property for a fixed period of time, normally relating to flats. The leasehold ultimately belongs to the freeholder (see Freehold above).

Loan to value (LTV)
The ratio between the amount borrowed in a mortgage and the value of the property.

Local authority search
A search on a property carried out by your solicitor to find out who legally owns it and who has owned it in the past.

A property loan, typically 25 years in length.

Mortgage deed
The document that aforementioned loan agreement is contained within.

Mortgage indemnity guarantee
An insurance policy taken out by the lender to guarantee against the borrower from defaulting on their mortgage payments.

Mortgage offer
How much the bank will lend you.

Peppercorn rent
A nominal amount, normally £1, needed to satisfy the criteria for the creation of a legal contract.

Repayment mortgage
A mortgage where the borrower repays both the interest and the capital of the loan.

Stamp Duty
A compulsory tax due on all properties over the value of £125,000, calculated as a percentage of the property’s overall value.

Structural survey
 A general term to cover three different types of survey, the condition report, the homebuyer’s report and the building survey (see above Building Survey).

Subject to contract
The seller of a property has accepted an offer on the home but the deal is not complete until contracts are exchanged.

The professional who carries out the survey.

Title deeds
A document detailing the ownership of a property.

Under offer
A property where an offer has been accepted and paperwork is pending (see Subject To Contract).

The person(s) selling the property. 


For more information please do not hesitate to contact the team at Ward Williams Financial Services Ltd on 01932 830664 or by email on wwfs@wardwilliams.co.uk.