Buying your first home is both a joyful and stressful experience. On the one hand, you will finally be on the property ladder and have a place to call your own. But on the other hand, you could be faced with financial pressures and unforeseen expenses you cannot afford. This mixture of emotions can make buying a home a strange and confusing time, where you can easily make mistakes and errors in judgement. This can make the process even more strenuous on both your finances and relationships. Plus it takes all the excitement out of finding the perfect home. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as some people make it out to be. So if you want to buy your first home, read these home buying tips and get started on the best footing possible.
Determine your budget
As with many large purchases, it’s essential that you make a budget and stick to it. This should be an honest representation of how much you can comfortably pay towards your new home. Sit down and go through your monthly expenses by checking receipts and bank statements. Work out your current living costs and highlight any unnecessary expenses you pay each month. Doing this in advance will make it easier for you to apply for a mortgage or installment loans and start saving for a deposit. You will also need to consider starting an additional fund that can pay for legal fees, maintenance work and moving costs you may accumulate. Many of these extras are not foreseen by first-time buyers and take a huge chunk out of their savings before they have even moved in. This is not ideal as they may then be unable to pay for furniture, remodelling work or fix issues like burst pipes and boiler repairs. So it’s always better to define your budget and start preparing yourself financially beforehand.
If you think you can afford to buy your own home, but you’re unsure how to budget for it, always as a financial advisor. They should be able to discuss your options with you and create a budget that is tailored to your personal situation.
Do plenty of research
Buying a home for the first time has many aspects you need to get your head around before you put in an offer. Without doing thorough research, you could find your dream home is actually a nightmare. For example, you could be paying more than you need to or find that your chosen size and location is not ideal after all. So after sorting out your budget, you need to make sure you get clued up and start researching everything you can about buying a home. This extra knowledge will make the experience seem far less daunting as you can prepare yourself for each step in advance. Your research should cover everything from mortgage types to house locations. You could also use this opportunity to shop around for the best prices for building and removal services in your local area. This may seem premature, but it will give you some valuable insight. Plus it could also make you aware of warning signs you need to look out for when viewing houses and inform you of nearby transport links and schools. This research may even encourage you to alter your budget to make it more realistic. It should also reduce the chances of you getting overcharged or taken advantage of. Create a folder of useful information that you can refer to throughout the process, but make sure everything is relevant and up to date.
Also, visit possible areas you want to move to, as an addition to your research. Try to do this multiple times at different times of the day to get a better understanding of what living there could be like. Talk to the locals about what it’s like to live there for valuable insight you can’t get anywhere else.
Work out what is important to you
House hunting is one of the best parts of the home buying experience, especially when it’s your first time. But even though you have a set budget and have a broadened knowledge about the process, you are still not ready to start house hunting just yet. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of viewing potential houses and act entirely on impulse. This could lead you to put an offer in on a house that that is not quite right for you. So before you start you house hunting you need to determine exactly what is essential and what would be a bonus. Essentials, for example, would be a set number of bedrooms or bathrooms and located in a suitable area in relation to work and school. You may also want a home that has sufficient outdoor space and secure parking. These are the things you should prioritise when it comes to choosing which houses to view but try to keep an open mind. Otherwise, you may be reducing your search parameters and make the process more difficult. Bonuses are the things that come with a house that are not essential but make the home more appealing. These could include a utility room or an en-suite.
The best way to determine what is important is to discuss it with your family or partner. Create a list of everything that you deem to be essential to your day to day lives. This will give you some much-needed focus and prevent you from being lured into paying more than you would like. Also, consider the things that you are both willing to compromise on. It’s unlikely you will find a house that has every single thing on your list while keeping to your budget.
Start viewing and choosing an estate agent
Now you know what you ideally want, it’s time to start viewing. The internet has become a fast and accessible way to find homes that meet your criteria using property websites. These sites combine the listings from numerous estate agents for you to browse through. You can type in your ideal location, your budget and house type and be met with a whole host of options. There are numerous sites to choose from so don’t feel like you only have to stick to one. If there are not many options on one site, there may be more on another. Also, try to make your search criteria open to change and versatile. For instance, if you aren’t finding the properties you had in mind, you can widen the location or price search. Considering other locations and slightly higher priced properties could make things much easier.
Once you have found a few potential options, you can get in touch with the relevant estate agents. They should then be able to arrange a viewing, discuss the asking price and inform you of similar properties you might like. Before you get in touch, always check the estate agents licensing on their website and look for previous customer reviews. This should give you a good insight into whether they are the right agent for you. If when you meet them, they don’t put you at ease or understand what you want, ask the office for someone else or go elsewhere. This is one of the biggest decisions of your life, and you need the right guidance and support throughout the process. Especially when negotiating asking prices and putting in an offer.
These tips should get your home buying process off to a fantastic start. They should also make you feel more confident and eager to make this life changing decision. Always remember to seek advice from the experts if you need it to ensure you’re making the right choice.