The Most Common Mistakes of First Time Home Buyers – Guide 2024

The property market can be daunting when you start to venture into it for the first time. The amounts of money involved, the convoluted processes, and the fact that your dream home might be on the line all make first time home buying extremely stressful.

The good news is that by planning and preparing in advance, you can save yourself a lot of time and avoid many of the most common mistakes made by first-time buyers.

So if you’re about to jump on the property ladder for the first time, here are the most common mistakes you can easily avoid.

Mistake One: Hiring a Conveyancing Solicitor Too Late


At some point in the process of buying a new home, you’re going to need a conveyancing solicitor. Most people leave this until their offer is accepted, but this is a mistake.

Ideally, you want to hire your conveyancing solicitor as early into the property buying process as possible. If you’re not sure what a conveyancing solicitor is, you can find out more here. You can find

Your conveyancing solicitor will be able to get everything set up in advance. Conveyancing can be a lengthy process, so the more you can prep before making an offer, the better.

There are a lot of legal matters to take care of when you’re buying a home for the first time, so having a legal expert on your side as early as possible is only ever going to work in your favour.

Mistake Two: Delaying the Mortgage Agreement


Despite the stress of buying a new home, it can also be very exciting. Don’t get too swept up in that excitement, though, and always make sure you have a mortgage agreement in place. This should be done before you even consider starting to look at property.

An agreement in principle (also known as a mortgage promise or a decision in principle) is when your mortgage lender gives you a certificate highlighting how much money you can borrow for your house purchase.

While this isn’t the official offer from your mortgage lender, it is one of the best ways to make sure you’re looking for homes in the right price range, while also acting as a way to reassure estate agents and sellers that you can afford the home.

Mistake Three: Expecting a Quick Mortgage Decision


Never underestimate just how long it can take to get mortgage approval. It can take anything from two weeks to 40 days before a lender will officially approve a mortgage, but the process can take even longer in some cases.

So always start your application for a mortgage as early into your house buying as possible. If your mortgage does go through quickly, then all the better. But if it takes a while to get approval, you’ll be happy you started the application long beforehand.

Mistake Four: Forgetting to Check Your Credit Score

This is an extremely common mistake, and the effects can be very long-term. You need to check that your credit score is healthy before applying for a mortgage.

Lenders will look at your credit score so that they can make an informed decision about your financial situation. A poor credit score will limit who you can borrow from and how much they’ll agree to lend you.

If your credit score is low, it’s always worth spending time on improving it. That can take time, and if you’re in a hurry to buy a new home, you might just have to accept you’re not going to get a large mortgage.

However, if you take a few months to work on your debts and to build a better credit score, you will have a lot more mortgage options to choose from and will be able to borrow more for your dream home.

Mistake Five: Underestimating the Costs


While it’s the property itself that will be the biggest cost when buying a home, there are a lot of additional costs involved in a property purchase.

You’re going to have to pay for a valuation, as well as a surveyor to do a thorough inspection of the property. Then there are the legal fees and additional payments like insurance and hiring removal firms.

So always make sure you have a clear idea of who you’ll need to pay and how much. Surveyors and conveyancers should be transparent in the fees they charge, so don’t dismiss that information. The more you know about the final costs of buying a home, the easier it will be to manage your budget.

Mistake Six: Not Asking Questions

Property viewings can be great fun. Wandering through possible dream homes and imagining yourself living in them is very satisfying, but don’t get swept up in the moment.

Falling in love with a property based on a single walkthrough and making an immediate offer is always a blunder that should be avoided.

Before you view any property, always write a list of questions you can ask the estate agent. Find out as much as you can about the sellers (why they’re selling, how long they’ve lived in the house etc.). Always ask how long the house has been on the market too. If it’s been available for sale for a while, the sellers might accept a lower offer than the listed price.

Mistake Seven: Not Removing the Listing

Although this is the responsibility of the seller and their estate agent, it’s always a good idea to ask the estate agent to remove the property from their sales listings once you’ve made an approved offer.

If you and the seller have both agreed on a price, but the house stays available for sale, then you run the risk of being gazumped.

Gazumping is on the rise in the UK. It’s when someone comes in at the last minute, makes a higher offer than you, and the seller changes their mind about selling to you. There’s nothing illegal about this, but it can be extremely frustrating.

It’s even worse if you’ve already started paying surveyors and conveyancers because you’ll have lost that money. Gazumping is hard to avoid, but removing the property from sales listings can help lower the risk.

Get Prepared When Buying a Home

It’s an exciting time to be getting onto the property ladder. Always make sure you do plenty of research into the process so that you know exactly what’s happening at all times.

The more you know about what to expect, the easier it will be to save yourself from stressful headaches. That research can even lead to you spending less, so it’s always worth giving yourself plenty of time to learn as much as you can about what happens when buying a home.