You’ve decided it’s time to buy your first home, hurray! It’s an exciting time, but there’s a lot of money involved, so it pays to do your research! Our sales expert Karon Murphy gives us ten tips for those becoming a first-time homeowner!
1. Get your finances in order
Check your credit score and do everything you can to get it looking healthy – pay your bills on time and avoid making big purchases! You should speak to your bank, building society or mortgage broker for advice and to find out how much you can afford. Don’t forget there are plenty of other costs attached to buying a property – solicitors fees, stamp duty and home insurance – and these should be added in when you’re thinking about what price range you’ll be looking at!
2. Take the time to decide what you want
Write a list of what you want from your new home and split the list into must-haves and things you can compromise on. This will help you avoid making hasty decisions and get you thinking in detail about your ideal home! You’ve got to be realistic though!!
3. Register for Alerts
All the good properties get snapped up quickly, so make sure you’re registered to receive property alerts. This way, you’ll find out about new properties as soon as they come onto the market and can be one of the first to view. You can register for property alerts here. You should also keep checking the property portals!
4. Be flexible when you’re viewing!
A to-do list is great, but you also need to be flexible and that could mean viewing some wild card properties. Don’t miss out for instance on a perfectly suitable home because it’s located three miles out of your desired area, or because the bedroom doesn’t have a walk-in closet. Also be open-minded when viewing different properties and think outside the box – with a little creativity you can do some wonderful things with the décor of a house or the look of a garden.
5. Are you willing to invest in renovations?
Unless you’re specifically looking for a project, buying a property that needs renovation might not be right for you. If you do go for a home in need of work, make sure you arrange a thorough inspection to get a realistic overview of the property’s conditions. Renovations can be exciting and rewarding but make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
6. Learn more about your prospective home
So, you think you’ve found your dream home! Before making an offer, find out as much as you can about the house, and you might even want to get an expert in to check its condition. If it’s a new area, get to know the neighbourhood. Is there a convenience store nearby? What schools are in the catchment area? What’s your local pub or café like? Visit during the day and at night so you get a real feel for the place!
The price of the property is rarely set in stone and many sellers are often willing to negotiate on the asking price. But, don’t be too unrealistic and don’t insult them by reeling off a list of flaws to get the price down, instead look for solid reasons. Sellers, for instance, may be happy to come down in price because you’re as a first-time buyer and have no chain – this is why it’s so important you have your mortgage offer in place!
8. Get a good solicitor on board
Search for the right solicitor, someone trustworthy and someone you can rely on to work hard for you. As a first-time buyer, you will most likely need someone more experienced to manage any Stamp Duty charges, deal with Land Registry and draw up and explain contracts. Always use a different solicitor from the seller to make sure there no conflict.
9. Don’t feel pressured
Buying a house is a massive thing in your life, so you need to make sure your making the right decisions. It can sometimes feel like you’re under pressure to buy straight away, but if you don’t need to move immediately, shop around. However, houses can get snapped up very quickly so if you fall in love with a place, don’t hang around!
10. Enjoy it!
Yes, buying a house can be stressful at times, and it might take longer than you think, but it’s such a major milestone in your life and you have to enjoy it. That moment when you pick up the key will be the best feeling! Crack open the champers; you’ll deserve it!