New research from comparethemarket.com has found that half of homeowners feel they have made expensive mistakes during the process of buying their first property.

In a poll of over 2,000 homeowners, 15% wished they’d haggled more on the price of the house when buying their first property and 10% of respondents said they made a mistake in using all of their savings to fund the deposit on their first home, leaving them with no emergency savings and an inability to do any work to the property. Nearly one in ten (8%) wished they’d shopped around for a mortgage broker, and a small but significant proportion (6%) wished they’d ensured the survey was more thorough.

How to go about choosing a mortgage provider presents first-time buyers with a number of options, some of which can be confusing, expensive or involve a complex application process. Nearly a quarter (24%) of first-time buyers went to their bank to take out a mortgage rather than shopping around for the most competitive rate.

Nearly a fifth (19%) of first-time buyers felt that using a mortgage broker added no value to the process of buying a house, but 11% would be too nervous not to use one when buying their next home, demonstrating the lack of confidence many first-time buyers feel in making the best financial decisions. Only 12% of respondents consulted a price comparison website to understand the options available to them when choosing their mortgage.

Getting on the property ladder can feel like a daunting task, but would-be first-time buyers can learn from those who have gone before them. The areas in which people felt they could cut costs when purchasing their next home included:

Costs Percentage of property owners looking to cut costs
Mortgage Broker Fees 31%
Removal Company Fees 25%
Solicitors’ Fees 20%
Survey Costs 13%
Other (Inc. Estate Agent Fees) 5%

Furthermore, over a quarter (27%) felt they paid over the odds to intermediaries and service providers, with 7% disclosing they felt they had significantly overpaid.

Mark Gordon, Head of Mortgages at  comparethemarket.com said “People with no prior experience in purchasing a property may not be aware which services and products offered to them on the home buying journey are mandatory and which are discretionary and, importantly, whether they are good value or uncompetitive.

“The whole buying procedure can be intimidating, particularly for those going through the process for the first time.  Fears around hidden fees and dealing with estate agents, lawyers, surveyors and mortgage companies are legitimate and strong enough to put off people from trying to make a purchase. Before putting in an offer on a property, make sure you do your research online, speak to family and friends about the process, use the variety of free tools available to check your eligibility for a mortgage, and get useful tips on how to avoid paying over the odds.”