For first time homebuyers, making the right decisions is absolutely vital. The first property you buy is likely to symbolise the largest purchase you’ve ever made, so it’s imperative that everything goes to plan.

One of the most important steps is to get the timing right. We’re all eager to set foot on the property ladder, but if you jump too early, you’re likely to experience an unceremonious slide right back down to the bottom.

But how will you know when you’re ready? Here’s a quick checklist to help you out…

Do you have job security?

When it comes to applying for a mortgage, one of the first factors that lenders will consider is whether or not you have job security. It is infamously difficult for the self-employed to borrow large sums of money, but there are other criteria that may also render you undesirable, and one of them is the likelihood of you losing your job.

Mortgage lenders like to see that you have a permanent employment contract, and that you’ve been in your current position for at least six months. If you can’t fulfil these requirements, you might find that it’s a good idea to look for alternative permanent roles, and make sure that you’re in your new position for at least six months before making any enquiries.

Do you have a positive credit history?

Another factor that will be used to assess your suitability is your credit history. A negative track record is never going to help your cause, but many people are surprised to find that their lack of a credit history is just as great an obstacle.

There are lots of places where you can check your rating online, so it’s a good idea to see how it currently stands before approaching any lenders. If it needs improving, it might be a good idea to take out a credit card for six months or so before applying for a mortgage, to help you gain the standing you need.

If your credit history is bad, the good news is, you can always change that will better financial habits. Start working on it today and make financial decisions that will significantly improve it. If you don’t have any credit history at all, make a bold attempt to get yourself on record.

Do you have a large enough deposit?

Although some lenders will let you borrow money as soon as you’ve managed to save five per cent of the purchase price, it’s usually a good idea to wait until you have access to a slightly more substantial deposit, especially if you anticipate additional costs that will accompany your purchase. Is your target home in good condition, or will it need a new roof as soon as you buy it? It’s a good idea to enlist the services of a contractor like Allstate Roofing to be able to plan for these costs and roll them into your mortgage deposit.

The reasoning is simple: the larger the deposit you save, the better the interest rates that you’ll be offered. Although it may mean putting your plans on the backburner for a while, try to save at least 15 per cent of the sales price before making any mortgage applications. Don’t rush into getting a mortgage at a bad deal when you could gotten yourself a better deal with a large enough deposit. It could take time to get the required amount but in the end it’s worth the wait.

So, are you ready to take the plunge or not?

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