Scott Clay at Together - the specialist lender - has shared a few tips for couples considering buying their first home together this year - to help ease the process.
Clay, distribution development manager at specialist lender Together, said: “Preparing to buy and move into your first home with your spouse or partner can feel a little daunting. Buying a house together is not only a commitment to each other but also a financial one. It’s important you both have a realistic sense of the finances involved besides the deposit to ensure the process is as smooth as possible from start to finish – and the pair of you don’t run into any nasty surprises.”
Here, he shares his 5 top tips to help ease the buying process for couples:
1. Find out exactly how much you can borrow
If you’re looking to buy a home together this year, or considering a remortgage, knowing how much you're able to borrow is essential. With the cost-of-living rising and spiking interest rates, budgets are likely to be much tighter. How much you can offer on a house will be driven by how much you can afford to spend each month on your mortgage payments, so you’ll want to make sure you can cover all your bills and afford to enjoy your life together in your new home. You should also be aware of all the mortgage options available to you, from specialist lenders to high street banks.
2. Set up a joint account
Honestly is always the best policy. Make sure you both have a clear understanding of each other’s finances and how much you can borrow without getting yourselves into unmanageable debt down the line. It might be sensible to set up a joint bank account to keep track of shared payments, such as mortgage repayments and household bills. Also make sure you have a budget for removal costs, solicitors’ fees, maintenance, decoration, and repairs.
3. Make sure you’re both legally covered
Early on, it’s important to have a frank conversation about the finer details when you’re buying a house with someone, you’re in a relationship with to ensure you’re both covered, legally and financially. If one of you takes out the mortgage and you split up, the other may not have a legal claim on the property. It may be wise to set out who’s contributed what in a cohabitation agreement, which your solicitor can draw up for you. You need to make sure you choose the right classification for your agreement too; if you’re happy for your other half to inherit the house in the event of your death, make sure you are ‘joint tenants’.
4. Don’t get carried away
You’ve fallen in love with a house and the life you’re going to build together, and you can’t imagine living anywhere else, but make sure your head and heart have equal say when it comes to making an offer.
Together’s research found more than a third of first-time buyers are more ambitious about owning their own home since the pandemic hit – yet a quarter haven’t been able to start saving for a deposit1. Decide what your ceiling price is together before you pick up the phone to the estate agent and stick to your guns. Also, remember the extra cost that comes with buying a home; things like furnishings, solicitor fees and valuations. And always play it cool when you’re negotiating, even if the whole process feels emotional - you’ll need to be there to support each other.
5. Remember the home insurance
Home insurance is essential to protect yourselves against any DIY disasters or burglaries, for example. It’s important to bear in mind the level of excess you might have to pay if you must make a claim. Seek professional advice to ensure you are fully informed and find the best deal for your personal circumstances. It’s vital you have the right level of protection so that everything's covered and you can concentrate on making lifelong memories together.
*Together is a specialist mortgage and secured loan provider