There’s a lot to consider when buying your first home. Here are our top 5 things to keep in mind before taking that first step onto the property ladder:
- Consider all of the financial costs.
Take your time with this. It’s best to talk with a financial advisor to ensure you have everything in order. First on the agenda is to save up for the deposit, which must be at least 5-20% of the cost of the property. The bigger the deposit the better, so save for as long as you can. The Government have several home ownership schemes designed to aid first-time buyers. Then you need to find the best mortgage; make sure you do your research on this or speak to a mortgage broker. The size of the mortgage will depend on how much you can put down as a deposit. You’ll need to provide your lender with all the details of your financial situation when applying for a mortgage. You’ll have to dig up everything: your income (including proof of this, e.g. payslips), outgoings, any debt and your monthly expenditure.
- Budget thoroughly – and stick to it!
You then need to check all your finances so that you know how much you can afford to pay each month, which will include the mortgage, insurance, bills, maintenance, utilities, and taxes. Yes, this might mean you have to cut down on the number of takeaway coffees you buy each week. There are also various costs associated with moving such as survey costs, Stamp Duty (this calculator is useful), solicitor’s fees, removal costs, initial furnishing and decorating costs, mortgage arrangement and valuation fees. Be sure to think about the future too: you might want to have children or marry within a few years. When viewing a potential home, take into account how much time and money it will cost to maintain. Most of all, don’t lose sight of these costs. If your ‘dream’ home costs more than you can afford to keep, then this home will soon become a nightmare.
- Be open-minded.
As a first time buyer, you might have to sacrifice some of your must-haves. Often people find that they get a lot more space if they widened their search location. Split your requirements into to must-haves, nice-to-haves, and negotiables, ordered by rank in priority. Focus your efforts on making sure the property is in good working condition and all your basic requirements are met first; these are far more important than the luxuries. Remember to think about the sort of practical concerns that are easily forgotten. These include the number of electrical sockets in the room, whether the property is leasehold or freehold, the storage available, the plumbing and drainage, and the noise levels.
- Stay calm.
Buying a home is a stressful experience, and even more so if it’s your first home. Finding the right home can take a long time, and it’s good to view as many properties as possible before making any decisions. This gives you enough time to scope out the market and to work out what you really want. Prepare for the unexpected too, anything can change at any point throughout the process and sometimes this can involve complications to the deal itself. The main thing is to avoid panicking, especially about money. Remember that, by sticking to the above, you’re in the best possible position to make the right choice.