We were so happy last month to announce we’re now offering a new 95% loan-to-value (LTV) cashback mortgage offer for the Northern Ireland market. It’s available as an option for applicants in permanent contracted employment, with an individual or combined income over £40,000.

The introduction of 95% mortgages has made it possible for more first-time buyers with smaller deposits to get on the housing ladder - but, with new demand in the market and supply of housing stock relatively low, the house hunting process is growing increasingly difficult for many people.

We have three top tips to keep in mind when buying a house right now.

  1. Set a budget

    With increased activity in the market, the competition for houses is high and this often results in bidding wars. When you’ve found the house you want, it can be easy to get carried away and pay more than the house is worth - or more than you can afford. Set your ultimate budget, and don’t go beyond it no matter how much you love the house you’ve found.

    Remember to think long term about how much you can afford each month repaying the loan on top of additional savings for the likes of pensions and holidays. We may be spending a lot of time in our houses at the moment, but our social lives will return at some point in the future and you will want to be able to enjoy your lifestyle without being weighed down by a large mortgage repayment each month.

  2. Consider your options

    Many first-time buyers tend to gravitate toward houses that need little renovating, however, with the increased number of first-time buyers entering the market you might need to consider different options. Decide on your dealbreakers, which usually involve price, location, or style of house.

    Once you decide what isn’t negotiable, consider what options are available for you to choose from. You might consider a ‘fixer upper’ or looking in different areas. With demand high, figuring out which items on your house hunting ‘tick list’ are flexible and which are not will help you take that step onto the housing ladder.

  3. Do your homework and take your time

    This might seem like counter-productive advice when the housing market is moving at a whirlwind speed, but it’s essential not skip the over important house buying homework.

    You may need to act fast to get your offer accepted but remember that before contracts are officially signed, you can withdraw your offer.

    Research the area, are there any developments in works that could cause long term disruption to your life? Does the vendor have a good reputation?

Although your patience might be stretched thin while trying to secure a house, ensuring you haven’t overlooked the basics in a rush to complete will ensure the home you have found is the right one for you.

And of course, get in touch with us or your local mortgage broker if you have any questions or if you’d like to talk about the process.