10 Things a First Time Buyer Should Know

Planning on buying your first property? It’s an exciting time, but the experience can also prove to be stressful if you don’t plan properly. Here are 10 of the most important things first time buyers need to know to make the experience a good one.

1. Decide how much you can afford to spend

The first thing you’ll need to work out is how much you can afford to spend. That will depend on the deposit you have saved up, or that you plan to save, and the mortgage that you will be able to get with this.

In addition, consider the amount that you will realistically be able to pay each month in mortgage payments. This can help to prevent you spending more than you can afford to when you find a property that you love.

2. Location

Decide on a location as soon as possible. You should have an idea in mind of where you want to live, and you can then look at prices in the area to determine whether it is within your budget.

If not, you can look slightly further away from your ideal area. This will help when it comes to viewing properties because there’s no point viewing in areas where you know you cannot afford to live.

3. What do you really need?

Decide what you really need from your property; whether that’s a specific location, number of rooms, a garden, etc. Write a list divided into things that are absolutely essential and things that are desirable, but that you could do without.

4. Choose the right mortgage

Start looking for a mortgage early on and find out whether you can get one, as well as how much you will need to save. There is no point looking for a property only to find that you cannot get a mortgage. Compare the loans on the market, and don’t just stick to your own bank - always look around.

5. Plan for other expenses

Buying a home involves a lot of other expenses in addition to the property itself, such as solicitor fees, stamp duty, and more. Make sure you plan for these or they can come as a nasty surprise.

6. Look at help to buy

You might want to look at the government’s Help to Buy scheme. With the Equity Loan, you could buy a property with just a 5% deposit. Or you could save up in the Help to Buy ISA and the government will add an extra 25% onto the money you save. There are lots of things to know, so check the website for full information.

7. Look at lots of homes

Always look at lots of properties, and don’t be tempted to go with the first one you find. Plan to spend weeks or months looking, and it’s best if you are in no particular rush. Don’t settle for one home if it is not quite right, instead spend a bit longer and find the perfect property.

8. Act quickly when you find a property you like

Having said that, don’t let your dream home slip through your fingers. Once you find the right place, act quickly and put in an offer so you don’t miss out.

9. Always get a survey

Even once you have found your dream property, always hire a surveyor and find out if there is anything wrong with it. They may find relatively minor things that you can fix, or they may find large problems that will affect the offer you make. You might be able to knock down the asking price or even save yourself from buying a property that has serious problems.

10. Be prepared to haggle on the price

Don’t be afraid of haggling. The asking price is just the starting point, so don’t be afraid to go a bit lower. You don’t want to go so low that you risk offending the seller, but don’t just go with the price they are asking.

Find out how long the property has been on the market and try to find out why they are selling if you can. This information can help you to make a more informed decision.

Make your first home-buying experience a good one

These are the top 10 things to know when you are buying your first home. Buying a property can be fun, exciting and stressful all at the same time, but you can make the experience a more enjoyable one by preparing properly. So remember the 10 things on this list and enjoy buying your new home.

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