How to Save for Your First Home Whilst Paying Rent

Buying our first home is something that many of us dream of – it’s about gaining independence, freedom, and the ability to live where and how you want to.

But, for first time buyers, it can sometimes feel impossible. After all, if you’re currently living in rented accommodation, how can you also save up enough money to cover a deposit for your own home, never mind the rest of the costs?

The good news is, it is possible to save up a deposit whilst you’re living in rented accommodation – it just takes some carefully planning and budgeting.

Here’s our guide to overcoming these challenges and to saving for your first property whilst renting.

Tips for saving for a house whilst renting

Understand the costs

The first step to saving to buy a house is to have a realistic idea of how much money you need to save. There are a number of costs involved in buying your first property, including the initial costs related to the purchase plus the ongoing fees associated to property ownership – some of these can be seen below:

The cost of buying a new house:

  • Deposit
  • Mortgage
  • Stamp Duty
  • Surveyor Fees
  • Conveyancing Fees

The ongoing costs of home ownership:

  • Removal Fees
  • New Furniture
  • Home Insurance
  • Utility Bills
  • Council Tax

It’s always advisable to look into all of these costs to gain a good understanding of how much you’ll need to save whilst you’re still renting.

Set goals

Did you know that if you have a savings goal, it could help you save up to £550 more a year?

Set yourself both long and short-term goals, ensuring that they are realistic. This will not only spur you on to save, but it should also help you to calculate how long it will take to save for your first home.

Work out a budget

Once you’ve identified your savings goals, you need to figure out how you can achieve them – and that means budgeting. Putting together a budget will allow you to see exactly how much money you have coming in each month, how much you spend each month, how much you should have left over, and where you can make savings.

Of course, once you’ve worked out and balanced your budget, you’ll need to stick to it! Budgeting for small treats along the way should help you to stick to your budget in the long term.

Find the right savings plan

There is a wide range of savings plans available. If you’re looking to save for a house, it’s important that you understand the various products available and select the best one for you.

Different savings plans have different features, so you’ll need to think about factors such as how regularly you want to make payments into your savings, how much you want to save, how quickly you want to be able to withdraw your money, and whether or not you have a lump sum to invest.

Designed specifically to meet the needs of those who are trying to save for their first home, a Lifetime ISA is definitely worth considering when you’re trying to get your foot on the property ladder. Introduced in April 2017, the LISA is a savings account that allows those between the ages of 18-39 to save up to £4,000 a year towards their first home or for retirement, plus it has a 25% bonus from the government each year.

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this advice.

Saving for the future: Foresters Friendly Lifetime ISA Video

Saving for your future with a Lifetime ISA

At Foresters Friendly Society we understand how daunting it can be looking towards your future with any level of certainty.

Whether it is furthering your education, buying your first home, starting a family, or planning for your retirement, there’s a lot to consider and we want to help you by providing simple financial options to support your goals.

Whilst nobody can predict the future, you can certainly start to prepare for it, and that’s where the Foresters Friendly Society Lifetime ISA can help you save for your first home or your retirement.

Want to know more about the benefits of Lifetime ISAs and tax-free savings? Take a look at our short video above.

Video Transcription

You can never quite see into the future.

How do you know which path you’ll follow? Which doors you’ll open? Or how things will turn out?

What you do know is that rent and house prices are high, making it difficult to get on the property ladder.

And maybe you haven’t even thought about it yet, but you should be thinking about the cost of retirement too. You’re going to live longer and the state pension might not be enough to get by on.

Whether you’re dreaming of buying your first home or you’d like to enjoy a comfortable retirement, you know you’re going to need plenty of this …

And while you can’t predict the future, you can prepare for it.

To help you do that, the Government’s created a new tax-free savings account. You can use it to save towards a house deposit or savings for your retirement. It’s called a Lifetime ISA (or LISA).

If you’re between 18 and 39 you can open a LISA.

And you can save up to £4,000 a year, until you are 50.

What’s so special about a LISA?

  • When you save money in a LISA you don’t have to pay tax on the returns you get.

Tax rules may change and depend on individual circumstances.

  • The government will boost your savings by adding an extra 25% every year – so you could get up to £1,000 extra a year.
  • So, for every four pounds you save in a LISA, the government gives you an extra £1 for nothing. What’s not to like?

Designed for people who want to save for the medium to long term, typically five years or more.

The Foresters Stocks & Shares LISA aims to help your investment grow steadily while protecting it from the ups and downs of the stock market.

Please be aware that in some investment conditions, you may not get back the full amount originally invested in a Stocks and Shares ISA

All this adds up to help you get the home, retirement and the life you want.

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this advice.

7 Savings Strategies for first time buyers

The thought of saving for a house deposit may seem as daunting as climbing Everest once you start to realise how much of a deposit you need to save for your first home and you might be wondering how exactly to get your hands on the money. It can be difficult to know where to start saving. You might have existing savings or family to help you, but even if you don’t, there are lots of ways you can save, whether you are starting from scratch or are a more accomplished saver.

How to save money for a house deposit

1. Save your change

As a first time buyer, it’s easy to think that your small change is just that – and that it’s unlikely to make a difference. But once you start putting it aside, you’ll be surprised by how it adds up. But once you start putting it aside, you’ll be surprised by how it adds up.

  • Round up your spending to the next pound or five pounds and transfer the extra into savings. Some bank accounts and apps help you do this.
  • Don’t spend your change. Keep it and put it into a jar with a narrow neck before paying it into your savings account. Or choose a certain type of coin or note – like £2 coins or £5 notes – and save them.

2. Watch your spending

So often we spend money without thinking about it; paying a little more attention can put you in a better position as a first time buyer and help you to control your spending and start saving.

  • It’s easier to be mindful about spending if you pay using cash rather than cards.
  • Take the £5 challenge. Once essentials and bills are taken care of, give yourself a limit of £5 a day to spend. Put anything that’s left into your savings account.
  • Review your spending and limit it where you can. Decide what you really can’t live without and then make sure you get the best deal on the things you do need. If you find it hard to know where your money goes, there are apps you can use to help you track your spending.

3. Make a switch

You can make big savings by reassessing what you consider to be ‘essential’. Here are some ideas.

  • See what swaps you can make to save yourself money. This could be as major as moving somewhere with cheaper rent or moving back in with family to help you save. Or as small as swapping your daily coffee-shop latte for one you make at home.
  • Try the ‘Downshift challenge’ – move your food shopping to cheaper supermarket own brands or basics brands. Or switch your whole supermarket shop to a budget supermarket like Aldi or Lidl.
  • If there’s something you often spend money on, see if there’s a cheaper or free option. Like switching from a TV subscription to watching on-demand TV on your computer. Or cancelling your gym membership and buying some weights to train at home instead. You could also look at swapping your mobile phone contract for a sim-only deal.

Remember to put the amount you’re saving into your savings account. It’s much easier to make little sacrifices if you can see your savings growing at the same time.

4. Save by planning ahead

If you’re serious about saving towards your first home, you’ll find a little bit of planning can go a long way…

  • Plan a realistic budget and stick to it. You could set up a budget in a spreadsheet, write it on the back of an envelope, or use an online budget calculator (MoneySavingExpert has a very comprehensive one. It’ll show you where your money goes each month and help you to manage it.
  • Plan and prepare your meals for the week in advance, including lunches.If you cook at home rather than eating out make sure you save the amount you would have spent. Avoid takeaways and learn to make the things you would normally get as a takeaway yourself.
  • If you tend to impulse buy in the supermarket, make a weekly meal plan and a shopping list, then only buy the things on your list (no cheating!). This is sometimes easier if you shop online, you can review your list at the end and remove anything that’s non-essential.

5. Out of sight, out of mind

Nobody likes paying bills and it’s easy to feel reluctant about locking your hard-earned cash away, so take the decision out of your hands by automating your finances.

Separate your spending, bills and savings into different accounts. Don’t touch the money in the bills and savings accounts and only have a card for your spending account. Put your savings somewhere you can’t easily access like a savings account with no card attached or one which doesn’t allow withdrawals. You could also avoid registering for an online account if you have a choice and don’t link it to your current account. Automate your savings and bills so the money comes out as soon as you get paid, and you’ll be less likely to miss it.

6. Shop around to save

Why pay more than you have to? Here are some tips to help you spend more efficiently.

Use comparison sites to find the cheapest mobile phone contracts, insurance and energy providers. Keep checking and always switch to the cheapest whenever you can. If you need to make a purchase, always check for offers or vouchers or try shopping through a cashback site to make your spending pay – the amount can really mount up.

7. Make the most of your savings

Finally, make sure all your work pays off by squirrelling what you save away into a hard-working savings account.

Your savings are hard-won, so make sure you have them in an account that gives you as much benefit as possible. A Lifetime ISA could be a good way to save up for a house deposit. It’s available to people aged between 18 and 39 and you can pay in up to £4,000 every year, plus the government tops up your savings with 25% of what you’ve saved that year (up to a total of £1,000).

Find out more about the different ISAs available and how to choose the best one for you

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this advice.

How much does it actually cost to buy your first home? What first time buyers need to know

Even if you’ve only just started thinking about buying your first house, you’ll know that it’s going to be expensive. But to help you plan ahead and avoid nasty surprises, it’s good to know more about the costs that are involved.

So, take a deep breath and read on to find out.

The cost of your first home is made up of:

  • Deposit
  • Mortgage
  • Stamp duty
  • Surveyor fees
  • Conveyancing fees

Don’t forget that once the purchase of your first home is confirmed, there are some other costs you should also consider, like removal fees, new furniture, home insurance, utility bills, council tax and the cost of maintaining your new home.

Deposit

What is a house deposit?

It’s the money you pay upfront towards the cost of your home. The size of your deposit can affect the size of mortgage you can get, and whether you can get one at all.

How much is a house deposit?

It’s usually between 5% and 20% of the cost of the home you are buying. According to the Halifax First Time Buyer Review (Jan 2018) in 2017 the average first-time deposit was just over £33,000 (or 16% ¬of the total cost of the property) although this varies depending on where you live.

How do I get a house deposit?

The short answer is that you’ll need to save up – unless you’ve already got savings, or family who can help. It might be hard and it could take a while. But it’s not impossible and there are even first time buyer saving schemes where the government will contribute to your savings, such as a Help to Buy ISA, or a Lifetime ISA.

Mortgage

What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a long-term loan from a bank or building society. It’s secured against your home until you pay it off, which means if you can’t keep up your repayments the lender can repossess (take back) your home and sell it to get their money back.

How much is a mortgage?

With that in mind, the size of mortgage you get depends on what the lender and you are confident that you can comfortably afford to pay back. Lenders will look at your income, outgoings and debts if you have them, before deciding how much to lend you. The interest you pay on the mortgage (or the ‘mortgage rate’) will affect how much the mortgage costs overall so you should bear this in mind when deciding what kind of mortgage to get.

Our guide for first time buyers has more tips to help you decide what you can afford.

How do I get a mortgage?

You can get a mortgage directly from a bank or building society or use a mortgage broker who may charge a fee, but will help you find the best rate and arrange the mortgage for you. It will help to have as big a deposit as you can, to have your finances in order, making sure your credit score is good and trying to reduce your debts.

Stamp Duty

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty Land Tax (to give it its full name) is a lump sum tax which you have to pay if you are buying property or land which costs more than £125,000 in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. In Scotland, you need to pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax instead of Stamp Duty.

How much is Stamp Duty?

How much you pay depends on the cost of the house you are buying: above certain amounts you will have to pay more tax. So up to £125,000 there is no Stamp Duty to pay, then on everything between £125,000 and £250,000 you pay 2% and so on. A Stamp Duty Calculator will help you work out the exact amount for the house you want to buy. You can use an equivalent Land and Buildings Transaction Tax Calculator for properties in Scotland and a Land Transaction Tax Calculator for properties bought in Wales.

Stamp Duty and First Time Buyers

Following the recent Budget announcement in November 2017, first time buyers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland no longer pay Stamp Duty on properties worth up to £300,000.

If the property you are purchasing is worth up to £500,000, as a first time buyer you will not be required to pay Stamp Duty on the first £300,000, but will pay Stamp Duty on the remaining amount. For example, if a property is worth £500,000 this would mean paying Stamp Duty on £200,000.

Stamp Duty will be paid as normal on properties worth over £500,000, whether you’re a first time buyer or not.

How do I pay Stamp Duty?

You have 30 days from the date of completion to pay Stamp Duty. Your solicitor will usually arrange payment and may ask for the money before you complete on the property so they can pay it straight away. It’s best if you can pay Stamp Duty upfront but if you can’t, it’s possible to add it to your mortgage, although you should be aware that the extra interest you’ll pay on this will really add up. A similar process is in place for Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

Surveyor fees

What is a survey?

While your mortgage lender will do a property valuation, you can also choose to have a thorough inspection of the property done so you are aware of any problems with it. You don’t have to have a survey, but you run the risk that the property you purchase could have serious issues. Plus, if your survey does find anything wrong, you may be able to use this to renegotiate the price of the house.

How much are surveyor fees?

Depending on the type of survey, which ranges from a Homebuyer Report to a full structural survey, this can vary from £400 up to around £2,000. Bear in mind that you could end up paying for a survey and the sale might later fall through.

How do I pay them?

You can sometimes ask your mortgage lender to upgrade their valuation to a full survey so you pay the difference. This can be cheaper, but if you have your own surveyor you will have more control over the process and be less likely to pay for surveys for purchases that fall through. You can get tips on finding a surveyor in our guide.

Conveyancing fees

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal work involved with passing ownership of a property from one owner to another – from the seller to the buyer. You will need to find a solicitor to do this for you. They will also check all the paperwork and do ‘searches’, which means checking for planning permission problems or environmental issues which could trip you up.

How much does it cost?

Depending on the cost of the home you are buying the total cost of conveyancing fees will be around £1,000 to £1,500. You’ll need to make some payments to the solicitor during the process as they incur costs on your behalf.

How do I find a solicitor?

Sometimes your lender will use their own solicitor and you won’t have to pay. But usually you will need to find your own solicitor. Download our first time buyers’ guide for more help on what to look out for when choosing a solicitor.

Estate agent fees

Don’t I need to pay the estate agent too?

No. The good news is that the seller pays the estate agent fees, so if you’re buying your first home, that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about.

Our guide has more advice to help you get the home you really want.

We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Mortgage Broker or Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this service.

How to buy a house – a guide for first time buyers

So, you’ve started thinking about buying your first house. You’re feeling daunted, your brain is refusing to compute the number of zeros involved and you keep coming across made-up sounding words like ‘conveyancing’ and ‘gazump’.

It’s hard to know where to start, the figures are eye-watering and you want to get it right. But relax, it’s not impossible.

It is worth remembering that last year, 335,750 people managed to buy their first home. So we’re confident you’ll manage it too. Just stay positive, keep in mind the reasons you want that new home and remember that home owners are statistically happier than renters.

To help you get started, our guide to buying a home aims to make the whole process clearer and takes you through it a step at a time.

How to buy a house: 7 easy steps to follow

  1. Work out what you can afford
  2. Save for a deposit
  3. Get a mortgage and find a solicitor and surveyor
  4. Decide where you want to live
  5. Be proactive about finding properties
  6. Ask the right questions when you view
  7. Make your offer

1. What can you afford?

To avoid being disappointed later, or ending up owning a house you can’t afford, carefully work out what you can afford to pay each month before you do anything else. Make a budget to see what you’re spending and what you’ll be able to afford to spend on a house every month.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to cover home insurance, council tax and utility bills on top of the cost of your mortgage. Plus, you should also factor in the cost of maintaining your home.

2. Save for a deposit

This can seem like an impossible challenge but, with time and determination, it is possible. Having already taken a cold, hard look at your finances when making a budget, you may already have some ideas of where you can save money. We often think of things as ‘essential’ which aren’t and it’s very easy to spend more than you need to without thinking. For example, are you sure you’re getting the best price on your energy bills? Can you change the way you cook and eat to help you save money? Or are there ways you can earn more money? If credit cards are holding you back we have 8 tips to help you pay off credit card debt so you can start saving.

Making lots of small changes can help you save money regularly. And if you stick to it, you’ll be surprised how it can start to mount up.

3. Be ready to pounce: get a mortgage and find a solicitor and surveyor

To give you the best chance of getting your dream house, it helps to be ready to strike as soon as you find it. As a first time buyer you won’t be part of a chain, which will be a big help. It’s also a good idea to have a mortgage offer in place and line up a solicitor and a surveyor before you start looking, to help things progress quickly.

4. Decide where you want to live

Bearing in mind what you can afford, decide what you’re looking for in a house and narrow down the area for your search. Make a list of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ for the neighbourhood and the property itself – and be prepared to compromise! Our guide has a list of resources to help you find out more about your chosen area.

5. Be the first to know

Meet estate agents in person and build a good relationship with them, so they’ll be keen to help you with your search. It’s worth signing up to alerts on online property sites so you’ll know as soon as new properties are on the market.

6. Search strategically

Bring your checklist with you when you go to viewings and score each property against the list to help you be objective. It’s a good idea to ask the neighbours and the estate agent specific questions (like the list of suggested questions you can find in our guide) to help you make up your mind – this will also help you when it comes to step 7.

7. Make your offer

Once you find the house you want, think carefully about how much to offer. Too high, and you could overpay by thousands of pounds; too low, and you could be beaten by someone offering a higher price. Even after your offer’s been accepted, there’s always a risk you’ll be ‘gazumped’ (where the seller rejects your offer in favour of someone offering more money). Our downloadable guide looks at ways to help minimise this risk.

For more help on getting the home you really want, download our free guide now.

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this advice.

Why a Lifetime ISA could make buying your first home more affordable

First-time buyers looking to get their foot on the property ladder face more challenges than ever before. As house price rises continue unabated, the dream of getting even a toe on the property ladder is being pushed further out of reach. Research by the Halifax shows that the average price and average deposit paid by first time buyers reached new highs in 2016 and the average deposit has more than doubled over the past decade from £15,168 in 2006 to £32,321 in 2016, an increase of 113%.

But fear not, help is now at hand. The new Lifetime ISA could be the only hope for many young people of getting enough money together to buy their first home.

Here’s the scoop:

The Lifetime ISA (LISA), available from 6th April 2017, is a savings account that will allow those between the ages of 18-39 to save up to £4,000 a year towards their first home or for retirement.

25% government bonus of up to £1,000 each year

Here’s the best bit: the government will then add a whopping 25% annual bonus to these contributions. So if you save the maximum of £4,000, that means an additional £1,000 each year, up to the age of 50 – so it could add up to a substantial amount. Whether you use some or all of your savings towards buying your first home or your retirement, it is good to know your money has been given a big 25% boost.

Buying together bonus

For couples, there’s better news still. If you are using a Lifetime ISA to buy a first home, your partner can also use a LISA to save for the deposit meaning that you can benefit from two lots of government bonuses – doubling your savings effort. Once you have used your savings to buy your first property, you could continue saving into the Lifetime ISA to help towards your retirement and you will still receive the government bonuses.

How to get started

Even if you have only the vaguest of plans to buy your first property at some point in the not too distant future, then opening a Lifetime ISA could be a suitable option for you.

Find out more about the Foresters Lifetime ISA and how we can help you save for your first home or retirement

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this advice.

The new Lifetime ISA – what is it and how could it help my long-term savings?

Finding the thought of house deposits or future pension prospects daunting? Looking for ways to save for your future or that of your kids?

The new Lifetime ISA or LISA, announced by the government in the 2016 Budget, could be the answer you are looking for. This new savings account, a form of the better known ISA or NISA, has been designed to help people aged 18 – 39 save for both of these eventualities. All with the benefit of the government adding a bonus of up to £1,000 every year until the account holder reaches the age of 50.

What is the Lifetime ISA (LISA)?

In a nutshell, the Lifetime ISA has been designed to encourage tax-free long-term saving with two purposes in mind:

  • To help buy a first home
  • To help save for retirement.

How does the LISA work?

From April 2017, those aged 18 to 39 years old can open a Lifetime ISA and pay in up to £4,000 each tax year (a tax year runs from 6th April one year to 5th April the next).

Account holders will be able to make payments into the LISA up to the age of 50.

How does the government bonus work?

The government will add a 25% bonus to help boost your savings – meaning that individuals who save the maximum will receive a guaranteed £1,000 bonus each year from the government, in addition to any investment growth their LISA may achieve.

For example, if you open a LISA at age 18 and pay in the maximum £4,000 per year until age 50, you could earn a government bonus of £32,000 and end up with £160,000 in savings.

Another example could involve opening a LISA at age 20 and using it to save for a deposit on a new home for a period of 10 years. In this instance, paying in the maximum each year, you could earn a government bonus of £10,000 and end up with a house deposit totalling £50,000.

How can the LISA be used?

Funds saved in a LISA can be used in the following ways:

  • To help buy a first home worth up to £450,000 at any time from 12 months after you first pay into the LISA.
  • Funds can be withdrawn from the Lifetime ISA from age 60, tax-free, for any purpose.
  • Savers will also be able to access their funds if they become terminally ill with less than 12 months to live.

It’s worth noting that if you are using a Lifetime ISA to buy a first home, your partner can also use a LISA to save for the deposit meaning that you can benefit from two lots of government bonuses doubling your savings effort. Once you have used your savings to buy your first property, you can continue saving into the Lifetime ISA and you will still receive the government bonuses.

Are there any restrictions to the Lifetime ISA?

For 2017/18 only, there will be no Government charge on withdrawals from Lifetime ISAs. However, if you want to withdraw from the Lifetime ISA in 2017/18, for any reason other than terminal illness, you must fully close the account. Doing so will essentially cancel your LISA account. There will be no Government charge due on the closed account, but there will also be no bonus paid on it at the end of the tax year. You will be able to open a separate, new LISA later on in that tax year if you wish to.

From April 2018 onwards, all withdrawals from a LISA (other than the statutory exceptions and accounts closed within the 30 day cancellation period for newly opened LISAs) will attract a 25% Government charge applied to the amount being withdrawn. This returns the government bonus element of the fund (including any interest or growth on that bonus) to the government with an additional 5% charge applied.

As with NISAs, will transfers be allowed?

LISA savers will be able to transfer their Lifetime ISA between ISA managers. There will be no limit on the amount that can be transferred.

During the 2017/18 tax year only, those already saving into a Help to Buy: ISA will be able to transfer any funds (including interest) built up before 6th April 2017 into a Lifetime ISA without the transfer counting towards the LISA contribution limit. They will also receive a 25% government bonus on the full value of the transferred funds.

Contributions to a Help to Buy: ISA made on or after 6th April 2017 can still be transferred but will count against the LISA contribution limit for the year in which they are transferred.

The Help to Buy: ISA will be open to new savers until 30th November 2019, and savers will be able to claim a bonus until 1st December 2030. Savers will be able to save into both a Help to Buy: ISA and a Lifetime ISA, but will only be able to use the government bonus from one of those accounts to buy their first home.

Will the Lifetime ISA provide more flexibility in the future?

Potentially. The government has already listened to industry feedback and simplified the product for the 2017/2018 tax year and is continuing to consider whether there should be the flexibility to borrow funds from the LISA without incurring a charge if the borrowed funds are fully repaid and whether there should be specific life events where individuals can have access to their Lifetime ISA without a charge.

However, these possible features will not be available at the time the product launches in April 2017. Watch this space…

What if I am not eligible for a Lifetime ISA?

If you fall outside of the 18-39 age bracket, unfortunately you will be unable to use the Lifetime ISA to save for either a first property or your pension. However, you can still make use of an ISA and use your tax-free savings allowance, currently £20,000 in the 2017/2018 tax year, to save for your future.

Request an information pack to find out more about the Foresters Lifetime ISA and how we can help you save for your first home or retirement.

The content of this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. We do not offer financial advice. If you’re unsure as to the suitability of a product you should seek advice from a Financial Adviser. You may have to pay for this advice.

You should also be aware that in some investment conditions and depending on the savings product you have chosen, you may get back less than you have paid in.

Buying a home: A simple guide to being prepared

If you’re using your hard-earned savings to help you buy a home, our simple guide offers helpful tips to help you plan ahead and secure the home you want as quickly and easily as possible

We first published our guide to buying a home last year. Since then reforms in stamp duty, fluctuations in mortgage rates and the Help to Buy scheme have all had a bearing on the property market, but there are two things that remain constant – house prices are on an upward trend, and indications are that there is simply not enough property to go round.

Why plan ahead?

The Countrywide Quarterly Market Review reveals that there were still 8.4 buyers to each new seller in the last quarter of 2014. True, this is slightly less than the previous year, when there were 9.7 buyers to each new seller, but it still goes to show how when you are buying a home, planning ahead and being prepared can help.

With this in mind, we’ve updated our guide for this year – it contains lots of useful tips that will almost certainly reduce the stress involved in buying a new home, and hopefully reduce the costs too – if you’re fully prepared and ready to proceed, a seller may even be more likely to accept a lower offer.

How to get the home you really want

Our guide is designed to help buyers get themselves in the best position possible to secure the home they want, within the budget they can afford and offers guidance on how to:

  • Get the essentials in place so you’re ready to move quickly when you find a home you like
  • Be clear about the type of property you want to buy before you start looking
  • Be the first to find out about new properties coming on to the market
  • Research an area
  • Give properties a good once-over for suitability and potential problems
  • Make the right offer

There may be others chasing the property you want, as the figures above show – but don’t be tempted to overspend if this happens to you. Use our guide so you know exactly where you stand financially and be prepared!

This blog is intended to provide information, not financial advice, to help you make an informed decision about savings and investments. We do not offer financial advice. You should contact a financial adviser, who may charge a fee, if you want financial advice.