Buying a home for the first time can be a daunting prospect. There’s so many things to think about – and that’s before you’ve even considered the many mortgage products, rates, and lenders to choose from. To help you reduce the stress, here are our top tips for first-time buyers.
Budget Accurately - Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend on a house, and ensure the intended mortgage is affordable. Don’t forget to allow for furnishings, and remember older properties may require extensive work, such as re-flooring, tiling, or renewing the wiring. Make sure you budget for these likely expenses in addition to the purchase price, along with other fees such as conveyancing and stamp duty.
Ask for a Second Opinion - When buying for the first time, there may be several details to look out for that you may not be aware of. Always take an experienced home buyer with you when viewing a property. If this is difficult to arrange, make sure you at least get some assistance at the second viewing stage.
Remember the Bills - If you have been used to living at home with your parents, remember to budget for expenses such as council tax, gas and electricity bills, boiler servicing, and other home repairs.
Consider Council Tax - Make sure you know what the likely council tax charge will be in your new property. The selling agent should be able to help you.
Look at the Local Area - Even if you do not have children, remember that property in the catchment area of good local schools will always be much easier to sell on (though it may be reflected in a higher purchase price). Also, write down a list of local amenities which are important to you (shops, gym, cinema etc). Before making any final decision about where to move to, take a stroll or bike ride around the local area.
Speak to your Motor Insurer - If you have a car, your insurance premium may increase if you move to an area with a higher crime rate, or if you are trading off-street parking for on-street parking.
Check Transport Links - Consider the availability of public transport services, like local bus routes or the frequency of train services from your nearest station. Even if you drive everywhere, this information will be useful for anyone coming to visit you.
Check Connectivity - If you are a heavy internet user, check the broadband speeds available in the area you’re moving to. The selling agent should be able to provide this information.
Think About Commuting Time - Commuting can be one of the biggest household expenses. Since you’re likely to be spending much more time on domestic chores and/or DIY, minimising your commuting distance could be important. If property is more expensive nearer to your place of work, make sure you weigh up this additional expense when compared to the costs and time of commuting.
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