Buying your first home is such an exciting experience, but it’s also probably the biggest purchase you’ll have made so far. This means you want to get it right. With so many things to consider, we’ve come up with our top three tips for First Time Buyers to help you find your dream home…
Get your mortgage sorted before you start
This is so important, as it’s not a great idea to find a property that you fall in love with, only to discover that you aren’t able to borrow the amount you need in order to buy it. So, save yourself the heartache and get your mortgage Agreement In Principle (AIP) before you step inside a show home. That way, not only will you know what sort of properties you can confidently view, knowing that they are within your budget, but as you will have an agreement in place with a lender, it will help to speed up the process once find a property you want to buy as your mortgage will already be sorted. It really is a no-brainer.
Think long-term when you’re looking
It’s always a good idea when you’re looking for your first property to think of it as five-year home at the absolute minimum. That’s because you need to make sure that it will accommodate you – and your partner, if you’re buying together – and your plans for the next few years. Why? Because although it’s likely that either you’ll be exempt from Stamp Duty or pay a reduced amount as a First Time Buyer, when you need a bit more space and decide to buy your next home, you’ll have to pay Stamp Duty on the purchase price, as well as moving costs, estate agent fees to sell your current property and legal fees. This can all add up to quite a bit. So, by making sure your first home will work for you for the next five years, not only are you going to save yourself a lot of hassle in the long run, you’ll also save yourself a lot of money too.
Make yourself a must-have list – and stick to it!
Whether you’re buying on your own or as a couple, it’s really important to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for so that you can view properties and compare them objectively when you start looking for your first home.
So, work out what your ‘non-negotiables’ are. Do you need off-road parking? How many bedrooms do you need? Is location important, for example do you need to be close to work or certain transport links? Write yourself a list of all the things that the property you buy has to have, and try to keep your list to a maximum of ten points long. That way, when you start looking at properties, if you can tick seven or more points off your list, it’s likely to be a serious contender. If you can only tick five or less, it may not work for you. Approaching buying your home this way can really help with your decision-making, particularly if you’ve seen a few properties and are feeling a bit overwhelmed with it all.
Most of all though, do try and enjoy the process. Buying your first home is a wonderful time and by approaching it in an organised way, you’ll be able to remove some of the stress so you can relax and make the right decision.