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Mortgage and Protection Consultant Jack A’Court recounts his experience as a first-time buyer, taking you through all the steps to give you an insight into what you can expect from the process.

For a while now, my partner and I have wanted to take our first steps on the property ladder and buy our first home. Working in the industry meant I had an advantage going into the purchase as I knew what to expect, but from speaking with my peers and my first-time buyer clients, I know the mortgage application process can seem daunting and stressful.

So, to help, I’ve written out my experience working with one of our MFB homebuyer brokers, from application to exchange of contracts.


The Pre-Offer Stage

November 2023 

Having saved for over two years, my partner and I were finally happy we’d built up enough of a deposit to start house hunting in November of 2023.  

Our first step was, of course, to speak to a broker. We talked to my colleague Emma Miller here at MFB, and she took the time to go through all the details with my partner, so she understood what to expect, and when.

Many estate agents ask to see a Decision in Principle (DIP) before you start to view properties to show that you aren’t just any Joe Bloggs off the street and are serious about purchasing a property. So, Emma reviewed our circumstances and quickly arranged a DIP on the best mortgage rate available.

Once we had the DIP, it allowed us to set a reasonable budget for our property search and gave us the confidence we needed to begin looking for our first home.   

December 2023

We viewed plenty of houses (some to our liking, some not so much), but as soon as we walked into the final property, we both knew it was the one.

We decided that we were going to wait until Christmas was out of the way before putting an offer in, as we were expecting a January surge of properties coming to market. However, just before Christmas, I was doing my daily check of Rightmove, and the property was no longer appearing. It wasn’t until I checked the sold subject-to-contract section that I saw an offer had been accepted on our dream home.


The Offer Stage

Between Christmas and New Year 2023

Out of pure desperation to make sure we got the house we both wanted (and out of fear, as I had been the one to convince my partner to wait until January!), I called the estate agents. We decided to put in a counteroffer at the top of our budget, and I heavily emphasised the benefits of us being first-time buyers. If the sellers were looking for a quick turnaround, we had the advantage of no chain and could move as quickly as they liked.

The estate agent put this across to the seller, who luckily agreed on our price and decided to sell to us!

That’s when Emma came into hand, as we needed to push things through as quickly as possible to show that we were serious. Having spoken to her about our DIP, she already had a thorough understanding of our circumstances and mortgage details, which meant time was on our side.

Emma managed to get our full mortgage application submitted the same day, and, despite the Christmas period, we received our mortgage offer within just five working days.

Then it was all over to the solicitors!


The Post-Offer Stage

6th January

As we loved the house so much, we already had a second viewing booked for the 6th of January before making our offer. Despite having had the offer accepted, the seller was happy for us to come and see the property again, giving us confirmation that we had made the right decision.

Early January

MFB have bespoke partnerships with leading industry providers to help with all areas of the property purchase process. With our permission, Emma used our conveyancing sourcing system to find us the best solicitors to use for our home purchase.

The solicitors then called us to introduce themselves and advised us on our next steps. What was particularly helpful was their app, which allowed us to send through any necessary documents easily and efficiently. Then began the legal side of the purchase!

15th February

MFB also has established partnerships with leading life insurance and buildings and contents insurance providers. As we approached the final stages of the purchase process, we spoke to both providers to ensure we had all our insurance in place in time for completion. We secured the best deals available to us on the market, saving us time and money.    

8th March

By this point, we had satisfied all our outstanding enquiries and were waiting for the seller to confirm a few final points with the solicitors.

Unfortunately, we were then met with further delays. The sellers at the top of the chain were going on holiday, so the dates were moved back slightly. At this point, the solicitors’ enquiries on the sellers side had completed, and our solicitor has asked us to sign one final document and post it back. Then, it was just a case of waiting to exchange.

14th March

We exchanged! The completion date was set for the 21st of March and we were one step away from picking up the keys to our first home.

Your first-time buyer purchase

Hopefully, this diary entry will give you an idea of what to expect with your mortgage application process and some rough time scales. For more information about the home purchase process, visit our dedicated purchase page here.

If you’d like to chat through any questions you may have, or to discuss your home purchase, call us on 0345 345 6788 or submit an enquiry here.  

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