Taking your Property Hunt Digital:
A First-Time Buyer Guide

In the current climate, many areas of normal life may feel like they are on pause – from Saturday brunch to your morning spin class. Thankfully for first-time buyers, your dreams of getting onto the property ladder needn’t come to a holt.  From online brochures, to virtual tours, to FaceTimeing sales agents, there is tonnes of accessible information online, and we are here to help in your search for the perfect property for you, contact us today to find out more.

Here are our top tips for how you can continue your property journey online:

1.  Nail the neighbourhood
Where you want to live is a natural starting point on a property hunt, and thanks to the wonders of technology, there’s plenty you can find out about an area from a quick Google. Local area guides on sites like Time Out and The Londonist will tell you about the best restaurants and shops, whilst street view on Google Maps gives a good feel for an area. For buyers in London, your commute on public transport may be a priority, so use sites like commutefrom.com to see the different areas which are a manageable distance from work. Once you have an idea of where you would like to live, then you can have a look at what developments are available.

2. Sort your finances 
With pubs and restaurants closed, and the high street quieter than ever, you may find that now is an excellent time to assess your finances. This will help you understand what you have available when it comes time to put down a deposit on a home. If you’re able to, think about putting a savings goal in place to give your deposit an extra boost. Now is also a great time to organise documents like payslips and utility bills, all of which a mortgage provider will ask for, and can be time consuming to compile. 

You can also start conversations with mortgage providers. Selected mortgage providers are continuing to lend, and more and more lenders are offering ‘desktop valuations’, which means that they can value the property using extensive data on the market in the area, without visiting the property.

3. Research your buying options
The government has a variety of schemes designed specifically to help first-time buyers become property owners, and now is a great chance to find the best fit for you.

Help to Buy is a government-backed scheme where you can purchase a home with just a 5% deposit. Through the Help to Buy: Equity Loan, you can borrow up to to 20% of the value of your property, or 40% if you’re buying in London, which remains interest free for the next five years, with a mortgage to cover the remaining value.

Shared Ownership is a part-buy part-rent scheme, where you purchase a percentage of a property, and pay rent on the remaining portion. With Shared Ownership, you only need a 5-10% deposit on the share you purchase, making it more affordable than buying on the open market. To find out more, check out this video with property blogger Jade Vanriel, filmed at our new Essex development, Blenheim Gardens.

4. Go on a virtual tour
One of the most exciting, and important, parts of the home buying process, is being able to tour a range of developments. Whilst our Sales and Marketing Suites are temporarily closed, we are arranging one-to-one video appointments with our sales team, offering guided walk-throughs of brand new virtual show home tours. Roam each room at your leisure with a 360-degree walk-through, whilst a member of our team answers any questions you may have. To help work around you and your schedule, we have also extended our opening times to 7 days a week at some of our developments, with appointments available over Facetime, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Once you find a Catalyst home that you love, you can reserve the property online, with the support of our sales team to talk you through the process.

Our sales team are still on hand to answer any of your questions, by phone, email or video call. Explore our developments and start your search for your dream home.