Surprising statistics have revealed a major lack of knowledge among a lot of today’s first-time buyers, which could result in confusion and unexpected bills for many unless they do their research first.
As many as 67% of first-time buyers believe that estate agents or surveyors are responsible for carrying out searches including local authority searches, planning and flood risk reports, while only 63% are aware that it is their responsibility to pay for a mortgage valuation, homebuyers report or building survey.
Reallymoving’s chief executive Rob Houghton said: “Big problems can be avoided for the first-time buyer if they can learn about the basic principles involved in the home-buying process.
“We understand how complex purchasing a home can be and it makes sense for those first-time buyers to be as well briefed and aware of what it entails as possible.”
Understanding house buying terms
When asked about whose responsibility it is to pay for a survey, 36% assumed it was not the buyer’s, but down to the mortgage lender, the seller or shared between the vendor and the buyer.
A mere 60% questioned intended to obtain a mortgage offer ahead of making an offer on a property, and 37% mistakenly believed that an “exchange of contracts” was the day on which they could move in.
Meanwhile, while the stamp duty cut last November for first-time buyers has led to an increase in the number of first-timers, it seems the changes are lost on many. Almost a quarter (24%) think that the stamp duty bill is footed by the seller, while 8% think the stamp duty they pay goes to the vendor and 7.5% even believe it is a solicitor’s fee.
Houghton added: “Failure to grasp the fundamentals of the home-buying process will create big problems for first-time buyers and could lead to unexpected costs and transactions falling through.”
Opportunity for developers to educate and attract new buyers
While the government’s Help to Buy scheme has really boosted those seeking to get a first foot on the housing ladder, with some more “socially minded” developers offering moving packages to guide buyers in the process, there is definitely an opportunity for innovative housebuilders to broaden their buying education programmes to promote awareness and in turn generate interest among potential new buyers.
Organisations such as the Homeowners Alliance (HOA) are a useful source of information when it comes to top tips for first-time buyers considering buying a new-build property, offering ways to choose a developer, negotiate and how to avoid pitfalls in the buying process.
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