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By Dave Sayce, Founder and Director at Compare My Move


Buying a house for the first time is an exciting but complicated venture and coronavirus hasn’t made it any easier, with nearly half of first-time buyers delayed plans to buy a home in 2020.

But what parts of the buying process cause the most confusion? To find out, Compare My Move has analysed just how many of us are googling popular questions relating to buying a home for the first time.

Stamp Duty

Taking the number one spot is ‘what is stamp duty?’ which saw a staggering 14,800 average searches in the last year. To put this into perspective, in 2020 this question was searched on average 5400 times a month, an increase of 174 percent.

Stamp Duty is a tax that is paid on all residential property purchases over a certain amount. So, it’s not surprising this has seen such a high increase of searches after the Government introduced temporarily reduced rates from July 2020 until 30th June 2021. This saw buyers pay zero stamp duty on all property’s which were purchased at more than £500,000 or less.

While the rate has been reduced to £250,000 until September 2021, it doesn’t affect First-Time Buyers, as they currently don’t have to pay any Stamp Duty tax on properties up to £300,000.

How to buy a house?

First-time buyers asking, ‘how to buy a house?’ increased to 1000 average monthly searches in comparison to last year. From saving for a deposit and making an offer to securing a mortgage and moving, there is  so much information to absorb, FTB’s may find it difficult to know where to start.

However, if you can get your head around the basics of how it works, you’re less likely to be taken by surprise along the way. There are plenty of beginners guide on how to buy a house, outlining each important phase in the process, so you can confidently take the plunge.

How much deposit do I need to buy a house?

Saving for a deposit is one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to buying your first property. With first-time buyers hit the hardest financially over the last year due to the pandemic, will want to know how much they will need to save to get their foot on the property ladder.

Earlier this year, to encourage FTB’s the government introduced a new government-backed mortgage scheme where potential buyers have access to 95 percent loan-to-value mortgages, meaning they only need a more affordable five percent deposit.

How does Help to Buy work?

Average monthly searches increased by 24 percent from 2020 as a record number of first-time buyers benefitted from Help to Buy, with loans surpassing £20 billion.

As the government continues with its big push for more homeownership, the Help to Buy equity loan covers 5 to 20 percent of the property purchase price of a newly built home for first-time buyers, paying a minimum deposit of 5 percent of the purchase price.

It’s also worth looking at online Help to Buy calculators to find out how much you could borrow to help save for a more affordable deposit.

How to get a mortgage?

Securing a mortgage is the most important step – as most FTB’s are unable to pay for a property upfront – and with the uncertainty of the pandemic, more hopeful homeowners were searching this year by 22 percent from last year.

If you’re unsure of what to do, it’s always worth speaking to a bank or building society, or an independent mortgage broker to see what your options are in regards to how much you can borrow.

How long does it take to buy a house?

There are no shortcuts in purchasing your first property and the uncertainty of the pandemic had first-time buyers increasing the number of searches by over 50 percent than last year.

It’s not unusual for it to take between 12 weeks and six months from starting to look at properties to moving in. However, if there are delays at any stage of the process then it can take longer.

How much are solicitors fees for buying a house?

A solicitor is vital in the house buying process as they’re responsible for organising conveyancing searches, liaising with the seller’s solicitor, exchanging contracts and many other legal matters.

With average monthly searches doubling in the last year, it seems many First-Time Buyers were looking to understand how much this would cost.

With the average conveyancing fees for buying a house around £1,040, it’s not cheap, however, it’s always worth shopping around and receive several quotes from local solicitors before committing.



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