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Top tips to get ahead of the competition

  • If you have a mortgage agreement in principle, tell the estate agent dealing with the marketing of the property you're keen on. Knowing your finance is in place can give you an edge on other prospective buyers.

  • House with a garden? Space to extend? Your own parking spot? What are the things you consider essential for any place you buy? Make a list of must-haves, maybes and non-essentials so you can narrow down a property search. Decide what, if any, red lines you have about location, size, price, etc.

  • Make friends with local estate agents in the area you're interested in. Many properties never make it on to online listings because estate agents have a list of keen would-be buyers ready to snap up a home as soon as it's on the market. Get yourself on that list.

  • Check out what similar properties have sold for recently to make sure you're not paying over the odds. Sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove have data going back several years that will help keep you informed.

  • Flex your negotiating muscles. As a first-time buyer, you come with no baggage – or a place to sell that could potentially hold up any purchase. Be bold in what you're willing to pay and what you want included.

  • Be patient. Property transactions rely on a myriad of people, information and finance eventually converging. As an individual buyer, you can only have minimal effect on how long conveyancing can take, so be prepared to wait – it will be worth it in the end.

  • Make sure you're on the electoral roll where you currently live. Lenders use this as one of their checks against identity fraud.

If you're a first-time buyer, check out Homeward Legal's comprehensive First-Time Buyers' Hub where all your questions about purchasing for the very first time are covered in detail.​

Free Guides for First Time Buyers

Homeward Legal has put together some handy guides to help you with your first property purchase. Let us know if there is anything we've missed, and as ever, feel free to call 0800 038 6699

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