‘How to buy a house’: Back to school for nation’s home buyers

With the number of first time buyers hitting its highest in 12 years* and with more people treading the exciting first steps of the property ladder, we’ve taken a delve into the nation’s home buying knowledge to help plug the gap for the UK’s new wave of buyers.

Our latest Home Ownership Survey revealed that 80% of buyers believe that home buying should be added to the national curriculum, with household bills and credit scoring ranked highly as areas of limited understanding. 

Though over 60% of respondents knew what stamp duty was, but the survey found that 84% of buyers lacked general knowledge about home ownership, with only 16% knowing everything they needed to know about the home buying process.

Mark Hadfield, Regional Managing Director for Countryside, commented: “Help to Buy has contributed to more people being able to own their first home, which is amazing and our buyers are getting younger, which is a really positive trend. This proves just how financially savvy our buyers are becoming, but with this we are also seeing a gap in our buyers’ knowledge of the home buying process.

“What has been very interesting is that our recent survey has shown us that there are areas of inexperience for all of our buyers, whether buying their first, second or even third home. Gathering insight and feedback from our buyers is so important to the expert advice we provide, so that we can understand the gaps in their knowledge, which then enables us to give the best guidance and support possible.”

‘As first time buyers we went into this process completely blind’

Our buyers Hannah (23) and Sam (26), were able to save their deposit far sooner than hoped with some cost-cutting lifestyle changes. Sam commented: “We’ve been saving really hard, living at home, cutting down on takeaways and nights out and when we spoke to Countryside we realised we could buy far sooner than we thought.”

Hannah added: “As first time buyers we went into this process completely blind. It was unfamiliar territory for us but thankfully Countryside and our mortgage advisor were there to help along the way. Our priority was saving our deposit but little did we know, that was only the beginning.

“We knew that there would be solicitors fees but we were totally in the dark about what the cost would be. We also didn’t know about mortgage surveys, so there was a lot to learn as we went through the process. My advice to new buyers would be to plan for the unexpected and make sure you ask lots of questions.”

Countryside: Home Ownership Survey, September 2019: Total respondents 1,000

*UK Finance report, stating 370,000 newcomer mortgages completed in 2018, the highest number since 2006