Third of first-time buyers clueless about house buying

5 November 2013

Almost a third of first time buyers in the UK claim they do not understand the processes involved when buying their first home, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The survey, revealing that 29% of first-time buyers who do not understand the home-buying process, comes at a time when there is a huge level of support for first-timers.

Government schemes such as the second part of the Help to Buy initiative are seeing demand increase rapidly, RICS said. A record 56% more chartered surveyors expect to see transaction levels increase rather than decrease between now and the end of the year.

But over a quarter of first-time buyers told RICS they do not know the difference between a market valuation (the property's actual worth), an agent's appraisal (an estimate as to what it can sell for) and a survey (a surveyor's assessment as to the condition of the property).

RICS said failing to grasp the fundamentals could create big problems for buyers and sellers alike and, in some cases, could lead to unexpected costs and even potential transactions falling through.

Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: "It's no secret buyer numbers are on the up and more and more sales are going through as the market begin to find its feet again.

With this in mind, it's a big concern that there isn't enough advice out there to help people buying and selling their homes, especially when it comes to first time buyers who haven't gone through the tricky and stressful process of purchasing their first home."

RICS has launched a new guide to buying your first home, available at:

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