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Tips for First-Time Buyers and Bargain Hunters in Bath

Posted on May 16, 2024 by Thomas Firbank Removals
Tips for First-Time Buyers and Bargain Hunters in Bath

When it comes to life goals and ambitions, many of us will put being a homeowner near the top of any wish list. For people in a seemingly endless cycle of renting, the thought of having a house or apartment would be a dream come true, a significant milestone in their journey towards financial stability. Although house prices are decreasing, many obstacles remain before entering the property ladder.

However, there are numerous avenues for first-time buyers to secure a house or apartment without burdening themselves with unmanageable debt. At Thomas Firbank, we empower our followers and customers with comprehensive information and valuable tips, guiding them through the complexities of the property market. With this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the path to affordable homeownership. Here are some of our favourite pieces of advice on finding affordable properties.


  1. A Guide for First-Time Buyers in Bath
  2. Monitor Spending Habits and Budgeting
  3. Using Government-Backed Housing Schemes
  4. Consider Auctions and Fixer-Up Properties
  5. Home Buyer Checklist and Moving Tips
  6. Understanding the Mortgage Process
  7. Use Storage and Removal Services

A Guide for First-Time Buyers in Bath

Let’s review some of the practical steps towards homeownership so you can turn dreams into reality. This isn’t specifically for first-time buyers and includes anyone looking to become former tenants. However, we’ll emphasise points to ensure we cover the steps for those new to this.

What do first-time buyers need to know?

Obtaining a mortgage or similar loan is the typical route, which we’ll cover in more detail later in this blog. Learn about different mortgages and arrange a meeting with a broker or bank manager. Do your due diligence and see the current housing market in the area you’d like to live in.

We’ll cover best practices for saving for a deposit and alternative routes to purchasing an affordable property. The main thing to remember is that there is no such thing as too much research.

What’s the average deposit amount in the UK?

A sensible guide for deposits is 10% of the total value of the property. That’s approximately £25,000 for a £250,000 house and scaling upwards for higher-valued homes. The median property price for first-time buyers in the UK is £260,000, with a deposit rate of 8.67%.

Suppose you’re selling to facilitate the move. In that case, saving slightly more on top of that 8%—10% deposit rate for fees associated with home loan applications, surveys, and other expenses is likely beneficial.

What questions do you ask before buying a house?

  1. Surveys and Reports—Ask about any known repairs and ascertain structural damage. Even if the current owners aren’t the first, they must be transparent about the property and the site’s actual condition.
  2. Outstanding Repairs – Discuss any repairs and maintenance on the house or flat during the viewing and look for telltale signs, such as ceiling and wall cracks and dents.
  3. Neighbourhood – Ask for information on the area and your immediate neighbours, including noise levels, to ensure your family’s activities align with the overall location.
  4. Listed Status—Check the building’s status to ensure it’s not listed for older properties. Otherwise, there is no legal recourse in the event of a dispute.
  5. A bonus tip: If modifications exist, ask whether planning permission was obtained. It’s rare, but you want to avoid receiving nasty surprises after you’re the owner.

Monitor Spending Habits and Budgeting

Now, we’re moving into the nitty-gritty part of the process. This is where you replace lofty ambitions with actions, which may sound daunting, but it’s where you take your first steps towards homeownership.

Record Your Outgoings

You’ll need to start taking more care with your money and record everything you spend. Using a spreadsheet or Word document to note everything is easy enough. Also, keep any receipts and invoices. Put all the information from your receipts in once a week, and by the end of the month, you should see patterns emerge. Then, you can see areas where savings are possible.

Set a Monthly Budget

You must decide on a monthly budget, including your expenses and money for gym membership and entertainment. Anything left over should go into a savings account, so open one this week. If possible, set some monthly savings goals and apply the concept of gamification to help you meet targets – more on that here.

Research Mortgages and Deposits

Check online to see if there are examples of typical mortgage deposits and any advice on saving. We mentioned the typical deposit rate of 10%. Still, you’ll need to delve into the details to ensure you don’t save too little and find a shortfall in capital. Also, remember that the housing market value and mortgage rates fluctuate often, and the value of your target property might increase.

Using Government-Backed Housing Schemes

Now that you’ll be on your way to saving for a deposit, your following line of research is first-time buyers’ schemes. In their commitment to supporting first-time buyers and low-income households, the government is making it easier to get onto the property ladder. They offer a range of flexible and diverse schemes designed to suit different situations and provide a glimmer of hope for those aspiring to own their first home.

You’ll need to work out what sort of scheme fits your situation. Some examples are:

Government-backed housing schemes change often, as is frequently the case with the ever-changing political landscape. That said, public opinion is driving a renewed focus on homeownership with a general dissatisfaction with ownership levels compared to tenancy.

Consider Auctions and Fixer-Up Properties

When trying to find affordable properties, exploring other paths is possible. We’ll discuss two options: buying a house or apartment at a marked-down housing auction and fixer-up buildings.

Housing auctions in Bath are an excellent way to acquire a house or flat well below the typical market price. Several occur in Bath and Somerset, in addition to online auctions, with some overlap occurring when live auctions facilitate guest bidding.

The key is to see what information is available before the auction begins. Established auction houses provide more pre-auction details to encourage opening bids. Furthermore, auctioneers may have open-day viewings before the event, mainly if the event is run by an estate agency.

Property development offers the chance to buy a building that needs renovation. You’ll have to be willing to manage the whole restoration project and your full-time job. There are sites like Trovit that specialise in fixer-up buildings at bargain prices. However, this is the most time-intensive route to homeownership.

You can read more about renovation properties and how removal and storage services can reduce costs and help maintain high standards.

Home Buyer Checklist and Moving Tips

Research is a vital aspect when house-hunting, especially for people who are looking for a bargain or are buying their first home. Look at a few areas within your chosen city, town, or county. You need to separate each one and read as much information on each place as possible. Find out everything you can about things like average house prices per location.

Property Wish List

Create a wish list of everything you’re looking for in a home. That includes the type of property, the number of rooms and bathrooms, and things like a garden, garage, and a conservatory. You’ll eventually have to compromise on some things, but you must be as specific as possible.

Use an Estate Agent

Contact an estate agent to help you search for suitable properties to view. Not only do they have filtered searches for homes that might suit you, but they also have a lot of knowledge and experience. You can share your wish list and budget and leave them to compile suitable places for block viewings.

Renter to Buyer Process

Many first-time buyers are trading the rental cycle for homeownership. Unfortunately, getting your full deposit back is far from straightforward, and landlords are renowned for adding bogus deductions.

Your best option is to work with professional cleaning companies specialising in end-of-tenancy cleaning. While Thomas Firbank doesn’t do this in-house, we work with a network of partners and can make referrals.

Understanding the Mortgage Process

Navigating the mortgage application process in the UK can seem daunting, but breaking it down into manageable steps can make it more approachable. We’ll cover an overview to help you navigate this journey:

Pre-Application Stage

  • Gather essential documentation such as proof of identification, address, income, and existing financial obligations. This groundwork ensures you’re prepared for the application process ahead.
  • Evaluate your financial landscape, including income, expenses, and outstanding debts. Understanding your financial standing clarifies what you can afford and helps you select the right mortgage.

Initial Application

  • Kickstart the process by contacting a lender for a Decision in Principle (DIP). This initial step secures a tentative agreement and provides a clear picture of your borrowing capacity.
  • Assemble all necessary paperwork and submit your official application directly to the lender or a mortgage broker. This step sets the wheels in motion for the formal assessment.

Assessment and Affordability Checks

  • The lender will meticulously review your application, requiring various documents to support your financial claims. This stage involves thorough scrutiny to ensure affordability and eligibility.
  • Expect ongoing communication with the lender as they assess your application. Updates on the progress of your application provide transparency and clarity throughout the process.

Formal Mortgage Application

  • Once the preliminary assessment is complete, gather all pertinent documents for the formal application submission. This comprehensive package is pivotal for the lender’s final decision.
  • The lender evaluates the property to ascertain its worth, aligning it with the loan amount sought.

Receive Mortgage Offers, Exchange Contracts, and Move-In

  • Upon approval, you’ll receive a formal mortgage offer from the lender, solidifying the agreement. This marks a significant milestone in the home-buying journey.
  • Proceed to exchange contracts with the seller’s solicitor, finalise paperwork, and prepare for the much-awaited move-in.

Completion Process

  • With contracts exchanged, the property legally transitions into your ownership, signalling the green light for occupancy.
  • Ensure all legal formalities are meticulously met, funds are securely transferred, and the completion date is mutually agreed upon.

While the process typically takes four to six weeks, individual circumstances and the lender’s pace can influence timelines. Commencing the application process before house hunting is advisable, as it provides a solid financial foundation and a competitive edge in the purchasing landscape.

Use Storage and Removal Services

If you find the ideal property, use it for moving dates. Even if you wait a few months, it’s better to use storage to secure the perfect house or apartment. Buying your first home takes work, and negotiations can be tricky. If you know the property is suitable, rent a self storage unit from Thomas Firbank.

Using a man & van removal service can cut costs if you take on a renovation project. It acts as your dedicated vehicle. Every Thomas Firbank Small Moves package has two team members to assist with heavy lifting. We charge by the hour, making this the most affordable removal service.

The smaller vehicles make access to most sites more accessible, and you can link with a storage unit to protect materials and tools overnight. The real advantage of this service is that you don’t need to buy or lease a vehicle. There’s a reason why professional interior designers and house flippers use this package.

Remember that reliable removal and storage providers can make all the difference. The Thomas Firbank team is here for you at every stage of your homeownership journey, including packing up and moving in.

Thomas Firbank – Bath’s Reliable and Affordable Removals Company

Thomas Firbank moves hundreds of first-time buyers and bargain hunters every year. We understand how difficult it can be to organise everything under a stringent budget. Our team are always on hand to provide helpful advice. That’s why we’re here to assist you as much as possible. The sooner you contact us, the more we can help.

Thomas Firbank’s ethos is that every customer has different needs. That’s why we get to know every person we work with as much as possible. This helps us create a picture of what they need from us. We’re always happy to talk through our range of services, even if it’s just a first inquiry. You’ll understand why we’re Bath’s favourite removal company from when you first phone us.

At Thomas Firbank, we understand that saving for your first home can be strenuous. Our removals and storage packages are affordable and well below the typical rates, and we ensure that our services are designed to cover all bases.

If you’re looking for affordable property and need some advice, please contact us today. We’ll assess your requirements, provide any helpful information, and discuss our range of services.