What to Look for When Buying Your First Home

key in an open door

The start of May marks New Homeowners Day, the day that recognises the happiness and challenges of owning your first home. Moving into your own home can be exciting, but it’s easy to forget about what you really need in your house. With so much to consider, just where do you start?

 

Buying Your First House

It is an emotive decision. You walk into a property and ‘get the feeling’. You make an offer and after several weeks, move into your first pad.

The problem with making decisions with the heart can mean that we don’t always get the best. You may love it, but is it the right property? Thus, you need to consider what your head is saying too.

But what is it you need to bear in mind when buying your first pad?

 

#1 AFFORDABILITY

It is key that you can afford your new place. This includes the deposit, the mortgage payments, the fees and costs associated with buying property and the running costs of the property too.

All too often, buyers stretch themselves and that means spending months, sometimes years locked into ‘working to pay the mortgage with little disposable income’.

 

#2 OPEN-MINDED

On one hand, having an idea of what you are looking for in terms of style of property, location and affordability is one thing but being too picky is quite another.

You may find that in your price bracket, the pickings are not so rich so be prepared to compromise. That said, if there are some aspects you can or won’t compromise on – e.g. location – then stick to your guns but accept, it may be some time before you get the perfect pad in the perfect place.

 

#3 LOOK AROUND

Before you start booking viewings, take time to trawl estate agent websites to see what you can get for your money. This way, you get an understanding of the market, what’s on offer within your price range.

Don’t forget, the property market ebbs and flows so you may find that at the time you buy, there are many properties to choose from but with a sluggish market and your negotiating skills, you could bag a bargain.

 

#4 ESTATE AGENTS

There are many options for buying property today including through a traditional, high street estate agent as well as some online portals.

Register with their service to receive text and email updates, especially new to the market properties.

 

#5 FIRST VIEWINGS

Many buyers go by intuition on the first viewing – for example, do you like the area? Does the property ‘feel right’? Is it light, airy and does it smell nice?

Whilst this is a great way to be interested in a property, you need to be slightly more objective when making the biggest purchase of your life.

Don’t forget, a property is a long-term investment, and this should be ringing in your ears when you view for the second time.

 

#6 SECOND VIEWING

You will need a notepad and pen. Split the page into pros and cons and write down key questions. Look for things such as;

  • Will this property easily adapt to being a family home, if that is what you are aiming for?
  • Can you add value e.g. add an extension, convert the loft? How will you add value?
  • Is everything in good working order?
  • What needs to change before you can move in?
  • What will you change, for example, external stainless steel balustrades or internal decoration? What are the costs of doing so?
  • Could you get more for your money by looking for property outside of a popular area? Do you need more space?

 

#7 RUSHING IN

There is a saying that ‘fools rush in’, implying that by not considering all options, you will regret it. It is an important decision and so don’t feel pressured, or put pressure on yourself, to buy a property simply because you are in the market to buy.

Estate agents are good at selling – it’s what they do! – but always remember they are working for the vendor (the seller) and not you.

 

#8 BE PREPARED FOR DELAYS

Buying property in the UK is a notoriously slow and stressful process. With all kinds of searches and enquiries made during the process, what you think will be a straightforward process, turns into a long, drawn-out affair. But it is worth it in the end.

And so, view properties you like but pursue the ones that you can afford and that will offer you a return on your investment. Understand what you can and will compromise on but come to the process with an open mind.

There is your dream home out there, in the right place and at the right price too!

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