Seven tips every first time buyer should consider

Research from Ocean Finance shows that one in three people take 30 minutes or less to decide to buy their a home during a viewing. What’s more, fewer than half the people they surveyed bothered checking out the property a second time, even though they knew they were going to spend thousands of pounds on it.

Buying a house is a big step and is not a decision to take lightly. It’s your future that you’re deciding, and rushing into a home might mean you miss warning signs and end up with costly and time consuming problems in the future.

Here are our tips for choosing your new home

1) Figure out what you can afford

We all have an image that comes to mind when we think of our dream home. Often these visions are grand and extravagant, and well out of the budget of a first time buyer. When you decide to buy a house, you need to sit down and work out exactly how much you can afford to pay each month, and what a realistic deposit would look like for you.

As well as your mortgage payments, calculate how much you can spend on bills, council tax and other household outgoings. You should also speak to a mortgage adviser to see what kind of mortgage you may be approved for. Traditional mortgage lending allows borrowing up to three times your gross annual salary, and couples can usually borrow three times the larger salary plus one times the smaller, or two-and-a-half times their joint salary.

2) Ask yourself exactly what you want

Is there anything you will require in your house due to family or medical history? For example, if you have children or pets you might require a garden, or you might have health problems that mean you’re better suited to a bungalow.

What kind of area are you looking for? Do you want to be near a bustling city centre or in the suburbs? Would you feel suited to a new development in an up-and-coming area, or a more traditional house? How many bedrooms do you want?

When you work out exactly what you want, it makes it much easier to begin searching.

3) Do your research

Most people begin looking for properties online, which allows you to check out the pictures and basic amenities of a property. At this stage, figure out if the property has everything that you require, otherwise you’re wasting your own time viewing it.  It also makes sense to check the access to local transport and amenities such as restaurants, shops, cinemas and gyms.

Before viewing a property, check if it is freehold or leasehold, how long the lease lasts and if there are any service charges.

When viewing the property, look at it’s surroundings. How do your potential neighbours seem? Is the street quiet and clean? Check if the outside is appealing and what condition the roof is in.

When in the house, check its condition; is there excessive amounts of black mould on paint, plaster and window frames? This could suggest damp; tide marks on the walls could suggest rising damp too which is even worse. Before attending, try to have a list of questions prepared to ask the current owner so you ensure you have made the most out of your visit.

4) Choose your area carefully

Location is one of, if not the, most important factors to consider when it comes to choosing a new home. You must think of the location in relation to local schools, the hospital, commuting distance from your work, access to public transport and proximity to family and friends.

What is the most important aspect of an area to you? Is it the crime rate, the access to local amenities or the scenery? If you’re thinking about moving to a small rural village, check for a local shop or post office. You will also need to bear in mind that village shops and pubs are closing at a fast pace, so don’t be dependant on just one.

You will also need to consider the nearby employment opportunities, not just for you but for your family now and in the future too. What happens if you leave your current job? Will there be future employment opportunities? These are important questions you have to ask yourself to make sure you are making a good long term decision.

5) Spend time in that area

Spend a few days exploring the area you’re interested in. After all, a large part of your life may be spent there, so it’s important to invest this time now to make sure you’ll be happy for years to come. Take a look around the parks, pubs and shops, have a read of the local paper and try out the local transport.

6) Think about your future

Unless you plan to move again in a couple of years, you will need to consider your future when making your decision. The bright lights of city centre apartments may seem attractive to you right now, but if you are considering buying, it’s well worth getting somewhere that you will grow into, rather than grow out of.

Cheap areas surrounded by expensive ones are likely to improve over time. Also an area with good value properties and impressive transport connections already in place is a good investment. This is because house prices often take years to catch up with transport improvements.

When looking for your home, consider whether you would like to have kids in the future and how that will affect what type of house you purchase. You will want your area to be child friendly with good schools (you can check the Ofsted website to clarify this)

7) Take your time

The best advice when looking for a new home is to take your time. You will most likely be living in your new place for a while, so it’s well worth taking a few months to make sure you make the right decision. Even if an estate agent is claiming that you must make your decision as soon as possible, first make sure that you are 100% happy with your decision. If something feels wrong, it probably is.

If you follow these steps, take your time and do your research, you’ll end up with a home that you can be confident you’ll love for years to come!

At Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust we believe that everyone should have their perfect home. If you want more great tips on home improvement, take a look at our blog; it’s brimming with ideas that will help to achieve your dream home.

Posted on: July 27, 2016

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