When it comes to mortgages we love helping first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder. There is something particularly satisfying about seeing the excitement in people’s faces when they’re getting ready to pick up the keys to their own home for the first time.
And, as lockdown restrictions have eased in recent months, the market in Cumbria has really taken off, with huge interest in properties coming onto the market, quick sales and high prices.
We caught up with estate agents and branch managers from The Cumberland to find out their advice for first-time buyers.
In Kendal, Clare Hoban, director of estate agents Thomson Hayton Winkley says properties are attracting large amounts of viewings within hours, as well as multiple offers.
She says first-time buyers are often vying with those who have been in the property market for some time, meaning it is essential for them to have their mortgage offer agreed so they can move quickly and with confidence.
“When the property goes to best and final offer we need the proof of mortgage, we need your solicitors’ details and we need your proof of identity so they’re the things you really need to get organised,” she says.
“At present I can only see that prices are going to keep on rising so if you can act quickly then that’s probably for the best.”
Lyndsey Taylor, branch manager for The Cumberland in Kendal, says first-time buyers are making purchases across the town of properties of all types.
Incentives such as the government’s 95 per cent mortgage guarantee are also encouraging people to stretch their budget slightly to buy properties with more indoor and outdoor space.
“As people have been spending so much time at home during the pandemic they have definitely come to appreciate having that little bit more space,” Lyndsey says.
She says with properties selling so quickly in such a competitive market, preparation is key.
“Know exactly what your budget is and what you can afford and do some research into that before you start looking,” she says.
“You may find that you can afford a bit more than you thought, which might just help when it comes to putting in offers. If you have a chat with a mortgage adviser that can put you in a really strong position and you can be confident you’ll be able to borrow that money.”
David Corrie, managing director of estate agents Corrie and Co in Barrow, says properties are selling quickly with prices on the rise.
“What we’re selling is going for asking price or higher and it’s not unusual to have a number of competitive bids on a property,” he says.
“First-time buyers are definitely entering the market at a much higher price threshold than we’ve seen previously.
“We are seeing people moving in from Manchester and Newcastle and other cities and where they might have been buying a £300,000 or £400,000 apartment in the city they are now buying in the country.”
Rebecca Gibson, branch manager in Barrow for The Cumberland, says government-backed 95 per cent mortgages and a waiver on stamp duty were helping to drive more first-time buyers into the market.
“People might have been able to save a little bit during lockdown and they’ve decided it’s time to buy,” she says.
“However, it’s important to get an agreement in principle on your mortgage before you go out and start making offers. The agents will want to move quickly and they’ll want to know that you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage.”
She says The Cumberland can organise a consultation with one of our advisers to help people understand how much they can afford.
“We can set up a telephone call and also have a late night service which we run until 8pm,” says Rebecca.
“We’ll look at all the facts, your current working situation and your outgoings and make sure that you fit the criteria for the mortgage.”
Kate Patrick, head of estate agency for H&H Land and Estates, says in the Penrith area first-time buyers are purchasing everything from three-bed terraces to much larger properties in the Eden Valley.
“In the past first-time buyers were usually looking to buy smaller properties to get a foot on the ladder, but today a lot of people are looking to buy somewhere they intend to stay for a long time,” she says.
Glenn Howard, branch manager for H&H in Penrith, says: “The speed of sales in Penrith has been phenomenal. Although coronavirus has been tough for many, it has also been a time when others have been able to save towards a deposit. People have also had a long time to consider where and what type of property they want to live in.”
Barry McComb, branch manager for The Cumberland in Penrith, says in such a competitive market it is essential for prospective buyers to get mortgage advice as soon as possible.
“Organisation is key,” he says.
“Get a good understanding of your borrowing capacity and what you are comfortable with. We will go through a budget planner with you to help you understand this. We can talk through what your salary will allow you to borrow and give you an idea of what sort of deposit you need. This information will put you one step ahead of other buyers who haven’t yet done this.
“The seller and their estate agent will usually lean towards someone they know has got their mortgage organised and agreed. We know this, so we’ve recently made our mortgage process even faster, with some mortgage offers being issued within as little as seven days.”