First-time buyer, getting your foot on the property ladder or buying a starter home – call it what you will but getting the keys to your own front door is an exciting rite of passage. But what exactly could you be looking for in your first home?
Many first-time buyers aim to have a deposit of £15,000 or more, usually achieved through saving and maybe a little help from their families. With 10% deposit mortgages widely available, this gives scope to look at properties on the market up to £150,000.
But having a budget doesn’t always narrow down your choice of houses to buy. Property expert Andrew Pearson has worked as an estate agent for fifteen years, selling hundreds of homes across Cumbria, including everything from auction houses to four million pound estates.
Andrew advised: “First time buyers should always ask themselves if this is a home they can grow into.
“Picture yourself in two or three years time. Where do you think your life will be? Is there a chance you’ll outgrow the property? If the answer is yes, is this really the right property for you?”
We’ve picked five properties under £150,000 that are suitable for first-time buyers, shared why we think they’re worth considering, and given an insight into what the professionals think of these houses too.
If you’re looking for character…
Mews Cottage, The Sands, Appleby-in-Westmorland
If you want to ease into first-time ownership with a house that doesn’t demand constant attention, then a refurbished cottage with a shared backyard could be the way to go.
This end-mews property has pocket-friendly fixtures such as integrated kitchen appliances and fitted bedroom furniture along with a washing machine in a conservatory which doubles as a utility.
These additions may help assuage the costs of running the electric heaters which are the property’s only source of heating.
Handy for Appleby railway station, the bypass, historic castle and walks along the River Eden, the cottage was flooded in 2015 but has been fully refurbished with a flood-resistant front door.
Andrew says: “Older houses can have the beautiful period features – look out for high ceilings, exposed beams and open fireplaces.
“If you’re after a big garden or parking, it’s not always guaranteed with an older house. Make a point of asking about on street parking if it isn’t obvious.”
In summary: While cottages and character homes often have the wow-factor, you might have to compromise on outdoor space.
Property details: Offers over £110,000 with PFK. See more here.
If you’re thinking about a family home…
Eden Place, Carlisle
Here’s an end of terrace property that ticks a lot of boxes for a family, being close to a good primary school and located in the heart of Stanwix, with riverside walks and parks close by too.
Two reception rooms could be a chance to offer separate areas for adults and children to do their own thing, and a spacious family bathroom means bedtime might be a little less chaotic. The property benefits from high ceilings, original fireplaces and stunning cornice work.
It’s not a work in progress but this characterful home may require some upgrading and carpeting would be money well spent for any purchaser.
In summary: When looking for a family home, you’ll get plenty of space and can generally be in a location close to amenities. However, there may be some upgrading or modernising required in properties in this price range.
Property details: For sale at £135,000 with Andrew Pearson. See more here.
If you’re looking for a slower pace…
Albert Street, Longtown
Longtown offers a slower pace of life, rolling countryside and a wide river crossed by arched bridge.
But it’s not all peaceful perfection – life here can get pretty noisy when thousands of sheep pass through the local mart, or pupils turn out to play at the town’s primary school.
The small town vibe is evident in a fairly limited range of shops but there’s a wider range of amenities in Carlisle, six miles away.
Longtown is a surprisingly affordable location given its green surroundings and proximity to the Scottish border. This two bedroom house benefits from a newish kitchen, conservatory, private garden and off-road parking.
Summary: Living outside of bigger cities and towns gives you space and a quieter lifestyle, but you may be required to travel further access to a wider range of amenities.
Property details: For sale at offers over £87,000 with C&D Rural. See more here.
If you’re looking for low maintenance…
Pow Avenue, Whitehaven
If fully-tiled walls in black are your thing then you’ll like the contemporary bathroom in this family home close to Whitehaven’s football and rugby clubs.
The large dining kitchen has also had a makeover with under-counter LED lighting, a breakfast bar and pantry.
The bay-windowed lounge is heated by a wall-mounted electric fire and the stairs to the first floor also have LED strip lighting.
Outside, a side passage runs from front garden to back with the rear also having a raised decked area, patio with water features and three useful stores.
Andrew says: “Modern homes are great if you want to move in right away. They’re perfect for busy professionals as they require minimum upkeep.
“Look past the showhome presentation of modern properties. Quite often a stylish interior can entice viewings and go some way in selling the house. But ultimately you don’t buy the furniture or the pictures on the wall. Try to picture the house empty, as that’s what you’ll get when you purchase the property.”
In summary: Modern homes are usually ready to move in with up-to-date fixtures and fittings, although sometimes you have to compromise on proximity to amenities.
Property details: For sale at £120,000 with Grisdales. See more here.
If you’re looking for The Cumberland’s property of the week…
Leececroft Yard, Stramongate, Kendal
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Kendal’s centre, yet still close enough to enjoy all the town’s amenities, this three-storey property exudes character with a stone façade, ceiling beams and leaded windows.
Thick walls and a log-burner keep the large living room warm in winter and cool in hotter months, when you can throw open the three windows or sit out on the small balcony from where steps lead down to a shared cobbled courtyard.
The ground floor houses a small but functional kitchen and bedroom with a larger bedroom on the second floor. This is open to the roof space and next to the bathroom where traditional tongue-and-groove panelling lends a rustic note.
Why is this The Cumberland’s property of the week?
Chloe Sorrenson has been The Cumberland’s mortgage advisor in Kendal for the last three years, helping hundreds of customers buy their first home. She’s chosen this at the first property of the week.
She says: “This property is ideal for any first time buyers looking to purchase their starter home. With us accepting applications for up to 90% loan to value (LTV) it would be achievable for the mortgage repayments to be less than any potential rental payments in the current market and a great first step on the property ladder.”
Property details: For sale at £149,500 with Milne Moser. See more here.
If any of these properties take your fancy, speak to our local experts, or quickly see what you can afford by using our mortgage calculator. Find out how much you’re able to borrow and get a clearer understanding of the price range of homes you can start searching for.