If you’re interested in taking your first steps onto the property ladder, it’s important you make the right decisions so that your experience is a positive one.
Buying property has always been risky, but there are ways to approach the process that will help you make the right choice first time…
Get your finances in order
Gone are the days of 100% mortgages, so if you want to buy a property you’ll have to start doing what most first time buyers did years ago and start saving for a deposit. This might extend the period in which you can buy a home, but it will put you in good stead for the future as your mortgage will be lower and you will not have to endure a long repayment period as those on 100% mortgages.
Before you start looking for a property, make sure you arrange a meeting with a mortgage broker first and find out how much you can borrow. Once your finances are in place you will be able to conduct your search according to budget and find your perfect first home.
It’s always advisable to do a thorough evaluation of your finances including income and expenditure on monthly outgoings. For example, if you’ve been offered a mortgage up to 200k, ask yourself if you can live comfortably at the top end of your budget. You might find that it’s better to spend less than the forecasted maximum borrowing level so that you can accommodate changes to your lifestyle – such as a new baby, a job change or redundancy.
Choose your solicitor carefully
Make sure you choose a reliable solicitor who will act promptly and quickly and ensure the process moves as smoothly as possible. You may think you’re bagging yourself a bargain by choosing the cheapest solicitor, but they could slow the transaction down and cost you more money in the long run.
Ask your mortgage lender if they could recommend a solicitor or ask friends who they used when they were buying their properties.
Understanding the area
So, you’ve found your perfect house, but how well do you know the area? It’s really important that you do your research and find out what local amenities are close by including schools, public transport links and local amenities such as shops.
Do you know if you can get good broadband and internet connections, or how well your mobile network works in that area?
Are there shops or parks close by? Are these popular hang-out spots for teenagers in the evenings and would it bother you if they did?
Is the house close to a main road? Do you know what the traffic is like during peak travel times? What is the parking like close to your property? If you have two cars, is there sufficient road space to accommodate your requirements?
All these factors are important when choosing a home, so it’s vital you do your homework first.
Getting it right
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so it’s important you make practical decisions rather than emotion ones.
If the property you choose is cheaper than others in the area, investigate why this is. The last thing you want to do is buy a problem property that will be difficult to sell in the future.
One of the best things you can do is to invest in a full structural survey as this will give you a detailed report on the property you intend to buy and will highlight what work needs to be done to the house.
Relying on the lenders survey is risky as it is just a basic assessment and could cause you trouble later down the line if something structural goes wrong.