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Buyers ‘worried about looking stupid’ to estate agents

First-time buyers have admitted to feeling overwhelmed or scared to talk to estate agents about the homebuying process.

A study of 2,000 homeowners by Skipton Building Society, which owns Connells, has identified the main questions first-time buyers have had when purchasing a property.

The research found that 54% were confused about the process, 60% admitted feeling overwhelmed when talking to the likes of estate agents, solicitors and mortgage advisors, and 68% were worried about looking stupid.


The top 40 questions asked by baffled first time buyers include “should I offer less than the advertised house price?” and “how much deposit will I need?” followed by ‘how long does my mortgage offer last for?’

As many as 36% of adults admitted they were puzzled by the whole sequence of events and four in 10 would have welcomed a helping hand, according to the survey.

Almost eight in 10 adults polled wished the home buying process was more simple and just under half were put off moving again due to how complicated and confusing they found things first time around. 

Charlotte Harrison, head of mortgage products at Skipton Building Society, said: “Purchasing a home can seem daunting for the first time.

“The process can be long and complicated at times, made harder if you don’t fully understand what needs to be done and by who. 

“Many people also don’t have the time to work out what has to be done at every step, or even know what every mortgage term means which is why we want to help first time buyers make the home buying process simpler and easier to understand.”


To help educate first time buyers, Skipton Building Society is planning to host a ‘Keys To Your First Home’ series of events to bring the home buying journey to life.

It has also partnered with language learning app Babbel to help bust the home buying jargon for first time buyers.

The most popular homebuying questions were:
1. What surveys do I need?
2. What is conveyancing?
3. What are the searches that solicitors carry out and what do they mean?
4. How much can I afford?
5. How do I choose a solicitor?
6. Do I have to do a survey on the property?
7. How long should I fix my mortgage rate for e.g. is 3 or 5 years best?
8. How much notice will I be given about the moving date?
9. Why is property buying so much hassle?
10. How do I know what’s the best mortgage for me?
11. What is indemnity insurance and why do you need it?
12. What’s the difference between a mortgage Decision in Principal and a mortgage offer?
13. What is stamp duty?
14. What does it mean for me if the vendor doesn’t have correct paperwork for the home? (for
example, boiler certificates are out of date)
15. How much deposit will I need?
16. How soon after paying do you get the keys?
17. Should I offer less than the advertised home price?
18. What role does a solicitor play?
19. What’s the difference between fixed rate and variable mortgage?
20. What insurance should I take out now I am a homeowner?
21. How much will everything else cost me each month, such as bills22. Do I have to pay stamp duty?
23. How much will mortgage payments be?
24. What’s the difference between leasehold and freehold?
25. How do you get a mortgage?
26. What are management fees?
27. When do you sort out a mortgage?
28. How long does my mortgage offer last for?
29. Why do solicitors charge me to print things?
30. When do I need to pay everyone for the work?
31. What do solicitors do all day?
32. Will it affect my mortgage repayments if I complete mid-month, is it best to complete at the end of the month?
33. What does the estate agent do?
34. Do I need to pay for brokers on top of everything else?
35. Is there a limit to how long a ‘chain’ can be?
36. Can I pull out of the purchase at any point?
37. Do I pay the deposit all in one go?
38. What’s a mortgage broker?
39. Do I need to pay everything in one go or do I pay the 10% deposit first and the rest later?
40. When do I pay my mortgage?

  • Rob Hailstone

    How to buy a home

    A guide to buying a home in England and Wales.

    Available on the gov.uk website


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