Thinking of buying your first home? It’s a good idea to get online and check out lists like this one which will help you to remember all the things you need to do to buy your new home.
However, it’s also a good idea to get to know all of the things you shouldn’t do or should avoid. Many first-time buyers make the same mistakes – make sure you aren’t one of them!
Don’t underestimate how much everything will cost
It’s crucial that you don’t fall into the common trap of assuming that getting a mortgage is the same as renting a property, except that you get the money back at the end. There are many costs that you need to take into consideration before deciding that you can afford to buy your first home.
We would suggest that you make a list of all of your monthly outgoings, including bills, petrol, and social activities. After all of these costs have been deducted from your monthly income, you’ll have a rough idea of what you can afford. Remember that what is left will have to cover your mortgage payments and ongoing running costs.
Before you buy the house, you’ll have to have some money saved up for the buying process too. You’ll have to pay for solicitor fees, a survey, stamp duty, the deposit, a removal van, and more – it all adds up to quite a lot of money, so make sure that you are completely prepared.
If you’re a bit overwhelmed or worried, you can always speak to a financial advisor, who will help you to make sure everything is in order before you start the home buying process.
Don’t skip getting a survey
It’s important that you don’t rely on the mortgage valuation provided by the lender to tell you about the condition of the property, as it is not an in-depth survey. Make sure that you are fully clued up on your potential new home and all of it’s hidden defects by hiring a surveyor.
On average, homeowners that did not get a survey before they bought a house faced forking out £5,750 on repairing hidden faults!
Check out these blog posts for more information about getting a survey:
- 4 Big Reasons Why Home Buyers Should Get a Survey
- What to Expect from a Mortgage Valuation
- When Should I Book My Survey?
- Which Survey Should I Get?
Don’t be fussy when house hunting
Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that you will find your perfect home. If you’re after a home in a particular location at a particular price, chances are you’ll find one in the right location at the wrong price, or vice versa.
You need to be willing to compromise – make a list of all the things you want in a home (e.g. big garden for the dog, 2 bedrooms, a separate dining room, located near your child’s school…) and order it by priority. When you come to view a house, you’ll know that you can drop the items near the bottom of the list if you need to.
…but don’t compromise too much
If there’s something you really need or want in your new home, if it’s realistic, don’t stop looking until you find it. If it will be a huge annoyance in the future, don’t give up and go without just because you’re tired of house hunting, or feel like you’re annoying your estate agent.
The things at the top of your priority list should be what drive your property search. Don’t give up on finding a big garden for your dog because you don’t think you can find a better house in the area.
Don’t forget to get pre-approved
A lender can pre-approve you by evaluating your ability to keep up with mortgage repayments. Make sure you have a good credit score and talk to a mortgage advisor – pre-approval will make it unlikely that you’ll be refused a mortgage later in the process.
Don’t look for a home that can’t be improved
Unless you want to buy a new build [#link] or want to avoid any home improvement, you should look for homes that aren’t perfect. By choosing a property that could do with a new kitchen, or has outdated carpets or wallpaper, you can almost guarantee that you will get more than you paid for when you come to sell the house.
Check out this post for more ways to add value to a property.
Don’t be put off by what’s in front of you
Leading on from the point above, if the way a house is decorated isn’t to your taste, don’t let this affect your judgement. A room can look totally different after the carpet is replaced or the curtains are changed.
The property will also look very different when your furniture and possessions are moved in, so make sure you take a moment to consider how it will look after you have moved in and made the place your own home.
Don’t forget to check out the neighbourhood
Imagine moving into a place only to find out that the area doesn’t suit your lifestyle at all. There are a few things you should make sure you know about the area you’re moving to before you commit to anything. Is there a supermarket nearby? Does the town have a good gym? Is the area a safe place to live? Are there frequent buses/trains?
To get the answers to all of these questions and more, you should check out ZoomLocal, for an affordable report on your new neighbourhood. You should also make sure you ask the vendor these questions when viewing the property!