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    Journey of a First-Time Buyer in the UK: Dominika’s Experience

    By The reallymoving Team Updated 4th Apr, 2024

    We're always eager to hear about how real people bought their first home and what worked for them.

    This week, we're featuring Dominika, who was able to buy her first home on her own, with two rather large dogs and her tenancy coming to an end. Here's her story:

    Before I bought I did extensive research (MoneySavingExpert was great) in order to be prepared with all the documents I needed, and any contacts (like a solicitor), so when it came to buying I was not the one delaying the process.

    I was buying on my own so I used a Lifetime ISA from MoneyBox to help me.

    Finding a house

    The end of my tenancy was coming up so I had to get a place sorted and no one would take me on as a tenant with two big dogs, which is why decided to buy. I was restricted to a certain price as I was buying alone, which meant I was restricted to a type of house and area.

    I only viewed one property before the one I chose. The house I bought was a mid-terrace house in Antrim, Northern Ireland. I viewed it and put an offer in that day as I loved the area! There's so much greenery and fields for dog walks are only a few minutes from the house. I offered only slightly over the asking price and was thrilled when they agreed.

    The buying process

    The process of buying was relatively easy and took about 8 weeks overall, however I think communication was definitely not good enough from both the solicitors and the lender. Waiting for the lender to review and approve the mortgage, as well as follow-up questions delayed the process by about 8 days. But everything else went smoothly.

    First Time Buyer worries

    I didn’t encounter a lot of issues as a First Time Buyer actually because it was just me, I only had to worry about getting the finances and documents organised for myself. My mortgage advisor was helpful, ensuring I also received the best offer, meaning my post sale and legal costs were really minimised.

    My biggest worry before the process was timing, as I had 12 weeks before my lease ended. Also because I was First Time Buyer I wanted to be taken on seriously so before even putting in an offer I got my approval sorted and all my documents ready.

    My Advice

    My advice to other First Time Buyers would be that you need to be constantly on top of everything and chase the solicitors for updates as they might not provide much communication. Don’t just wait to be informed of the progress but keep checking weekly with your solicitor and mortgage advisor to understand the progress

    Also get all your documentation prepared prior to starting the process, that way it speeds up everything for you - when I was asked for a document, I could provide it within 24 hours - if not by post, at least by email.


    Reallymoving says: Dominika's story shows us that preparation is key when it comes to buying a house. Doing extensive research may seem like a chore, but it can be invaluable to making sure everything goes smoothly. Dominika was able to find and move into her new place under a tight deadline, thanks to her excellent preparation. So make sure to keep reading as much as you can about being a First Time Buyer, and be sure to get a mortgage in principle before you make an offer on a property.

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