Where To Start When Buying Your First Home

It’s an exciting time when you decide to buy your first home - whether your motivation is getting married, starting a family or you are going it alone after finally saving up a decent deposit. Before you start planning that housewarming party, what do you need to think about before you buy your first house?


A lap top open to show a house hunting website to illustrate tips on choosing your first home.
Where to start when you decide to buy your first home


What Property Can You Afford?

The biggest factor which will influence what home you can buy is how much you can afford to borrow. The best way to understand that is to talk to a mortgage advisor and broker.

There are a huge variety of different mortgages and lenders and they can measure affordability in different ways so speaking to a specialist can help you to understand the price range of houses that you should be looking at. As well as providing expert advice, mortgage advisors can help you complete and send all the admin and paperwork, making the whole process much less confusing.


Decide Your Non-Negotiables

What are the most important aspects of a home for you? The essentials will be different for everyone so it can be a good idea to have a rough list of what you really, really want before you start looking at properties. 

How important is it for you to have a garden? Do you need off road parking? Do you want a property with gas (for both the hob and heating) or are you happy with electric? What’s the maximum time you are happy for your commute to work? Are you able to manage renovations or does your home need to be liveable in right away? 


Check Out a Range of Properties 

There are lots of apps you can download that will help you browse properties available in the areas you are interested in. They make it easy to filter by price and showcase lots of photos so you can get a better idea of the condition and location of a property (but be aware they often make rooms look bigger than they really are). 

If the market is moving quickly in your area you may need to register with estate agents because properties can often receive offers before they even make it online. Make sure you are clear with your estate agent on your requirements including maximum budget, area and number of bedrooms.


Choosing Your Property

There is a statistic that people spend less time looking at the property they decide to buy that they do choosing the curtains for it - and it’s not surprising if you want to buy in an area where houses go quickly. When you see something that ticks your boxes, you love and you can afford it makes sense to make an offer, but before you are committed it makes sense to visit the property at different times of day. 

Viewings can be arranged to show the best of a property so drive past (and stop) at different times of day. It might get particularly loud on a Saturday night, be impossible to park during school runs or have noisy neighbours that you just didn’t hear on your viewing. These might not be deal breakers but you will want to know about them before you move in.


Plan for Other Costs Associated With Moving

Of course it’s not just the mortgage, solicitors, surveys etc that you will need to pay for (your mortgage broker should be able to advise on likely costs of these), but there are other costs you will need to be prepared for including:

Furniture and furnishings: even if moving from a rented property with all your own furniture you will probably want to buy a few new items and decorate.

Removals: You might want to hire a removal firm to move everything, a man with a van, hire a van and do it yourself or just get friends to help you move.

Insurance: home and contents insurance is generally cheaper if paid for the year rather than in monthly payments, but it’s a big expense that needs planning for.

Locksmith: you should change the locks for the front and back door when you move in as you can never be sure you will have had all the existing keys handed over.

Redirect post: you can easily arrange to have your post redirected by Royal Mail for a period of time giving you more time to make sure you contact everyone.

Other bills: telephone, broadband, water, council tax, gas and electric will all need to be set up and monthly payments accounted for.

Essentials: there will almost certainly be things that need fixing that you didn’t realise or items taken that you didn’t expect so make sure you have a contingency fund just in case.


Be Prepared

The moving process can be long (even if you are chain free) and sales can fall through for all sorts of reasons. Fingers crossed everything will work out first time for you, but maybe don’t change your address on all your documentation until you have actually completed.

When it is finally moving day and you get those new keys in your hands, it is a special time. For the first time you own a home, but it’s also suddenly a lot of responsibility. If you viewed it full of furniture it will look different once empty (or even worse if they leave behind random items), not everything will be as you remember and you might have a little wobble. This is normal, but you will soon put your own stamp on it and will be planning your housewarming party.

***This Is A Collaborative Post***


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