Top tips for first time buyers from Adam Horton


Buying your first home can be daunting, but if you want to take your first step on the property ladder, it’s important to know the basics. Adam Horton of Hortons Estate Agents talks us through his advice for first time buyers.


Finding a property

It’s a good idea to register your details and requirements with all the local estate agents, that way they can give you a call about any suitable properties they are marketing. Set up notifications on Rightmove too, so you’re always kept up to date with the newest properties on the market.

Mortgages & finances

You should consider a mortgage broker to help you find the best deal out there. Make sure you have your money in place before you put an offer down on a property – you need to know how much you can borrow from your lender. It’s important to remember all the costs involved as they can add up: solicitor’s fees, mortgage arrangement, surveys, removal costs and any new furniture you need to buy, it’s easier than you think to go over your budget.

Help to Buy scheme

‘Help to Buy’ is a name given to several schemes that are all designed to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder. There is a Help to Buy ISA, Equity Loan, Shared Ownership, and Mortgage guarantee, which are all worth looking into to see if they can help you.


I’d encourage first time buyers to contact a solicitor when they start thinking about buying. They can provide upfront quotes for legal fees so you know exactly how much it’s going to cost. Your conveyancer will guide you through any of the tricky parts, and will liaise with your estate agent, mortgage lender or broker, and the seller’s solicitors.

What risks should I be aware of when buying my first home?

Be aware that nothing is guaranteed until you exchange contracts, meaning the deal could fall through at any time, however completing paperwork and moving things along as quick as possible will reduce the risk of this happening.  Make sure you keep a close eye on any deadlines, mortgage offers do expire and you’ll need to complete on a property before this happens. Once you make an offer it’s a good idea to make sure you’re fully informed about what you're buying. Getting a survey like a home buyers report done by a local surveyor can help to put your mind at ease and uncover any evidence of potential defects.

How long does it take to buy a home?

This can vary quite a bit but making preparations up front and getting everything in place can really help speed the process up.