FIRST TIME HOME BUYER S GUIDE - Ferbrache & Farrell

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FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER’S GUIDE

Table of contents1.Deposit 32.Budget3.Mortgage 44.Types of Mortgage5.Types of real estate ownership in Guernsey 66.Are there any other options available to first-timebuyers to enable them to get onto the property ladder? 77.Where do we go from here?2 357FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER’S GUIDE

We hope this guide will serve as a useful insight for anyfirst-time buyer wondering about the process of buying ahouse or a flat in Guernsey, including saving for a depositand applying for a mortgage.1. DepositBefore looking at properties, you will need to save for a deposit. Generally, youneed to try to save at least 10% to 20% of the cost of the home you would like.For example, if you want to buy a home costing 350,000, you’ll need to save atleast 35,000 (10%). The more you can save up by way of a deposit the better.2. BudgetAs a first-time home buyer, the most important thing to bear in mind is whetheryou can really afford to take this step. It’s wise to put together a budget for allthe costs of buying a home before you start looking for a property.You will need to work out how much Document duty you will pay whenbuying your property. It is often quite a large sum of money. Document duty ispayable on prescribed documents that are presented to the court. The levelof Document duty will usually vary depending on the value of the transactioninvolved. Your Advocate will be able to advise you on the rates of documentduty that are payable.There are also other costs you should be mindful of when buying a home andthese include: Survey costs (consider survey types i.e. home buyer or full structural, ascosts vary) Advocate’s fee Court and registration fees Immunity Certificate application fee (to protect you from earlier breaches ofplanning law) Removal costs Buildings insurance premium Initial furnishing and decorating costs Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees (Bank’s fees), and the fees of theBank’s AdvocatesFIRST-TIME HOME BUYER’S GUIDE 3

3. MortgageThe mortgage application process is subject tovery strict checks. Lenders will check you canafford the mortgage and also ‘stress test’ yourability to make your payments if interest rates wereto rise or if your circumstances changed, such as aplanned retirement date or if you started a family.As part of the mortgage application processyou’ll need to show the lender evidence of anyoutgoings you have and prove your income.Whichever mortgage you apply for, your lenderwill want to know you can continue to make yourrepayments. You’ll need to provide evidence ofyour income, and provide information of youroutgoings, including debts, household bills, andother costs, such as clothing, childcare and travel.To prove your income, you might have to producepayslips and bank statements.4 FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER’S GUIDE

4. Types of MortgageChoosing the right mortgage for you may prove tricky, so it is a good idea to do some research and talk tofinancial experts such as mortgage brokers. It is crucial to understand different types of mortgages.Type ofmortgageAdvantagesFixed ratemortgage The interest rate you pay will stay the samethroughout the length of the deal no matter whathappens to interest rates. Fixed rate deals are usuallyslightly higher than variablerate mortgages Peace of mind that your monthly payments will staythe same, helping you to budget. If interest rates fall, you won’tbenefitStandardvariable rate(SVR) Freedom – you can overpay or leave at any time Your rate can be changed atany time during the loan Freedom – you can overpayor leave at any timeDiscountmortgage Cost – the rate starts off cheaper which will keepmonthly repayments lower If the lender cuts its SVR, you’ll pay less each month.Budgeting – the lender isfree to raise its SVR at anytime This is a discount off the lender’s standard variablerate (SVR) and only applies for a certain length oftime, typically two or three years If Bank of England base ratesrise, you’ll probably see thediscount rate increase too. If the rate it is tracking falls, so will your mortgagepayments Tracker mortgages move directly in line with anotherinterest rate – normally the Bank of England’s baserate plus a few percentIf the rate it is trackingincreases, so will yourmortgage payments You might have to pay anearly repayment charge ifyou want to switch beforethe deal ends. Cheaper - your rate will fall if the SVR comes down. Certainty - your rate moves in line normally withthe lender’s SVR. But the cap means the rate can’trise above a certain level. But make sure you couldafford repayments if it rises to the level of the cap.The cap tends to be set quitehigh and the rate is generallyhigher than other variableand fixed rates; Your lender can change therate at any time up to thelevel of the cap. Monies tied up in savings.TrackermortgagesCapped ratemortgagesOffsetmortgages These work by linking your savings and currentaccount to your mortgage so that you only payinterest on the difference. You still repay your mortgage every month as usual,but your savings act as an overpayment which helpsto clear your mortgage early.DisadvantagesNB: When comparing these mortgages, don’t forget to look at the fees for taking them out, as well as the exitpenalties.FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER’S GUIDE 5

5. Types of real estate ownershipin GuernseyThe Cadastre administers and maintains the Register of Property Ownership (as well as the Tax on RealProperty (TRP) system of property taxation).If you want to buy a house, it’s likely you will buy the property and land it sits on.If you’re buying a flat, it is likely you will buy only the non-structural parts of the flat and a share of the buildingitself.Type ofownershipHouseAdvantagesDisadvantagesYou own the property outright, including theland it’s built on. If you buy this way, you’reresponsible for maintaining andinsuring your entire property andland, so you’ll need to budget forthese costs. You may need to pay a sum ofmoney for shared driveways You have no stake in the building orland; You cannot usually undertake anymajor works on the property withoutthe permission of the freeholder; You are subject to other restrictionson how you can use your property,such as subletting rooms or petownership etc.You don’t have to:Flat orApartment Worry about a lease running out; Deal with the freeholder (often known as thelandlord); Pay ground rent, services charges or anyother landlord charges. Good starter home; You won’t be responsible for maintaining andrunning of the entire building. The buildingowner (comprising the flat owners together)will do this or appoint a managing agent todo so for them. However, the flat ownersshare the costs of this by paying a servicecharge to the building owner; 6 Easy lifestyle (lock up & go);FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER’S GUIDE

6. Are there any other options available tofirst-time buyers to enable them to getonto the property ladder?Affordable home-buyer schemeGuarantor mortgageThis is known as partial ownership scheme forbuyers who cannot afford to buy a property in thenormal housing market but could afford to buypart of the cost of a property. This scheme worksreally well as only a portion of the property ispurchased and you only need to borrow a lessermore affordable amount from the bank and paya discounted rent on the part still owned by theGuernsey Housing Association.If you are struggling to obtain a mortgage to buyyour first home, you might want to consider aguarantor mortgage. This means that someoneelse can guarantee your mortgage i.e. aparent, guardian or close relative agrees to beresponsible for paying the mortgage if you can’t.You only purchase the maximum you can afford i.e.between 40% and 80% of the property values. Ata later date you can buy more of the property. Thisis usually done in multiples of 10%. There is alsono duty payable and there are no court fees.Guarantor mortgages shouldn’t be entered intolightly. They are legally binding arrangements.Your guarantor needs to be able to afford topay your mortgage if you get into financialdifficulty and they will need to seek independentlegal advice before entering into a guaranteedocument.7. Where do we go from here?So far, we have seen the highest transaction levels in the marketplace for several years, with unprecedentedlevels of demand from both the lower and the higher property price end.Whilst the confidence of those who intend to make the first step onto the property ladder has not abated,those buyers hoping for a house-price bargain sale may want to temper their expectations as the houseprices currently display no signs of falling.With interest rates already set to a historic low, bank savings rates have also taken a hit. This is anotherhurdle for first-time buyers trying to save for a deposit. And there are few indicators that the Bank of Englandplans to increase rates any time soon.In conclusion, whilst taking your first step on the property ladder is not a cheap and risk free option, withguidance and advice from your legal representatives the process should be smooth.FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER’S GUIDE 7

LucyBeereCarenVidamourKirstyHartAdvocateand PartnerSolicitor& r 44 (0) 1481 741304 44 (0) 1481 741323 44 (0) 1481 741310 44 (0) 1481 741309 44 (0) 1481 741 314 44 (0) 1481 741 326 44 (0) 1481 741 ell.comkirsty.hart@ferbrachefarrell.com

need to try to save at least 10% to 20% of the cost of the home you would like. For example, if you want to buy a home costing 350,000, you'll need to save at least 35,000 (10%). The more you can save up by way of a deposit the better. 2. Budget As a first-time home buyer, the most important thing to bear in mind is whether

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