If you're saving up for your first home chances are you have already thought about your impending mortgage and you've probably even researched some deals. But what if I told you you were wasting your time? What if I told you that there are people out there willing to help you find the cheapest deal with minimal effort on your part, for free?
Now I've got your attention.
When Tom and I returned home from travelling in September 2015, we had very little money and nothing to show for our trip except for some really worn out backpacker attire and some cool photos! We quickly found work and got ourselves sorted with a car and when Christmas was over we started saving for our first home together. In June 2016 we moved into our new abode.
What we envisioned would be an arduous, painstaking process of saving, dreaming and wishing for the day to arrive where we could finally afford to properly look at new homes was actually a relatively painless and quick few months. Tom took me to look at some new builds on Valentines Day (yes, I'm a lucky girl!) and in April we reserved our perfect home. So if you've been saving for what feels like forever, or if you're just starting out on your journey to home ownership - here's my absolute #1 tip! (You can thank me later!)
See an independent financial adviser!
Money suddenly becomes even more important and precious when you're looking to buy a home than it has ever been before. Every pound you earn is another pound towards your deposit. Which is why it's important to start off your journey on the right path.
I'm an Estate Agent - that's my full time job. I work in the Land and New Homes department. I sell new build houses for a living. I speak to first time buyers on a daily basis. And I cannot stress enough just how useful it is to go and speak to a financial adviser who works for an estate agency. Tom and I spoke to one of my colleagues to get our mortgage - and it's not because it was a "perk of the job", it's because I genuinely believe and understand the benefits of speaking to an independent adviser. When you toddle off to the Halifax or Natwest, or some other bank, their advisers can only sell you their products. It could take you weeks, even months, to find the best deal! Why do that to yourself?
Find a local estate agent that offers their own independent mortgage advice. Or, if you've already found your new build home, ask the builder if they can recommend an adviser.
At work our advisers check a panel of over 200 lenders. The way I describe it to clients is it's like searching a compare website, except the adviser cuts out all the jargon and finds you the best deal. Tom and I did our own online search for comparison and the cheapest deal we found was a little over £420 with Natwest. My colleague managed to find us a mortgage for £387 a month + £200 cashback on completion with Nationwide. Our search with Nationwide didn't even come close to that. The adviser knows the tricks of the trade. If the service is free, which it usually is, let them find you the cheapest deal. There will likely be a cost involved when you take out the mortgage for the advisers services, but trust me you will likely not get as good a deal if you go to the bank direct and that adviser is worth his weight in gold if he can save you that level of moolah!
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that saving money on your mortgage repayments each month will save you money in the long run. So I ask you, what is the harm in spending just one hour with a financial adviser who can potentially save you hundreds of pounds?
It's a no-brainer to me.