Buying your first home is an exciting time, finally moving out of home and being able to put your own stamp on your property. But it can also be a complicated and expensive process that catches many first-time buyers out.
If you have saved your deposit and are ready to get on the property ladder, make sure you have done your homework so there are no nasty surprises waiting for you.
Experienced estate agents Simon Gregory from Parkers Theale, Tilehurst and Tadley, and Craig Pearson from Parkers Reading, Earley and Woodley have put their heads together to come up with these top tips for first time buyers...
How much have you saved?
First of all, you need to work out how much of a deposit you will be able to put down on your property. If you are receiving money from family, confirm the amount and when they will be able to transfer the money to you.
Don't forget to factor fees such as solicitors and removal costs into your budget - will you need to take these costs out of the money set aside for your deposit?
Work out how much you can borrow
The larger the deposit you have to put down, the lower the interest rates on your mortgage deal will be, ultimately reducing your monthly mortgage payments.
Speak with a financial advisor to seek the best mortgage deals - online comparison websites don't always have access to the whole market.
If you're not sure where to find a trusted financial advisor, your local Parkers office will be happy to put you in touch with their contacts.
Always get a mortgage agreed in principle before commencing your property search to ensure you know what you can afford.
Make friends with your local estate agent
Your local estate agent will probably be the person you speak to the most for the next little while. Keep in regular contact with them to make sure you are one of the first to hear about new properties and get those viewings booked in quickly. Don't forget to let them know that you are a first-time buyer with no chain as this will appeal to many sellers.
Don't stop the communication once you have found your dream home, your estate agent can often recommend plenty of useful contacts including solicitors, removal companies and surveyors.
Take advice from your agent on what you need to be doing at various stages throughout the buying process to ensure a speedy transaction.
Have a solicitor ready
Before you begin your property search, have a solicitor ready to appoint so you can get moving fast when you do find that dream home.
Review any recommended solicitors and always get at least three quotes - the cheapest option is often not the best.
Think about your property search
Before you start your property search, consider the key things you need in your new home. Make a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves but try to keep an open mind when looking at properties.
Work out how far you can realistically travel to work every day and draw a search area on a map so you know the locations to focus on.
Don't be afraid to ask your estate agent any questions you may have - a good agent should have the answers or know where to find them.
Get a survey
Always get a full survey done on a prospective property, this will ensure you don't find any unexpected issues once you move in.
There are many different types of surveys available and it's worth knowing which kind you require. You can find more information on property surveys here.
If you are concerned about your survey, speak to your agent who can recommended electricians, plumbers or builders and help to obtain quotes for any urgent repairs