Handy Tips For Buying Your First Home

Handy Tips For Buying Your First Home

When it comes to property, it’s very much like the new ventures you take in your own business. It’s exciting, and there’s a mystery to what you’re going to get and the potential challenges you get along the way. So if this is your first time buying a property, here are some handy tips to help you understand the process.

Make Sure You Are Eligible For A Home Loan

Most first time buyers will make the mistake of getting too excited where they’ll start looking at properties before they’ve even checked to see if they are eligible for a home loan. This can end up being a huge waste of time for the agents you use and for yourself if you end up realising that you can’t get a lender. So before digging too deep into the process, make sure you qualify and contact several lenders to get an idea of just how much money you can borrow. This will also give you an idea of a figure of what you can afford. For residential buyers agent, information like this is extremely useful to have at the start of your house hunt.

You may also want to seek help from a financial advisor when it comes to lenders as you may find that they can give you better advice on which ones are more beneficial for you and your financial position. They can also give you more information on what type of loans are available and the difference between variable, fixed, interest-only and investment loans. You’ll want one that suits your needs best, so don’t rush this step, no matter how tempting it might be to say yes to the first one that accepts you.

Sort Out Any Outstanding Debt

The next thing you want to tackle is your outstanding debt. This can be a problem when it comes to getting your home loan approved. The more debt you have, the harder this may make it. You want to make sure that you can get rid of any debt you currently have, ideally before you start the house buying process. If you have debt hanging over your head, this can increase the likelihood of getting rejected by the lenders, and that can be a very frustrating and stressful experience. Focus on paying off the debts that you have both individually and as a couple. If you’re buying as a couple, the lenders will consider you as one entity, and that means they take into consideration both of your financial situations.

If paying off all of your debts isn’t possible, try to consolidate it all into one as this can help with lenders agreeing if the debts in question are just in the one place. Ideally, though, you want to pay off everything before applying to lenders.

Make Sure You Have A Deposit

Obviously, to buy a property, you need a deposit and a good-sized one at that. The pricier the property, the more deposit you’ll need to pay. The bigger your deposit is, the more you can borrow from your lenders so it’s important to save up as much as you can. When you’ve saved your chosen amount, make sure that you have enough for the type of properties you may be already looking at. If they are out of your price range, then it might be worth holding back for a few more months or years in order to save up the required amount.

Cater For Extra Expenses

The expenses for buying a home don’t just stop at your deposit, there are also extra expenses you need to prepare and cater for. You may encounter a few surprise costs along the way, so it’s good to have a fund that’s separate to your deposit in which you can use towards any of the unexpected charges. It’s also worth looking at potential concessions that you may be eligible for. These could be a first homeowners grant or concessions on your stamp duty. If eligible, you could save yourself a lot of money, so it’s worth doing the research ahead of time.

Shop Around For Agents

A lot of agents who sell homes will all have a reputation for either being good at what they do or the opposite. So like many things that you buy, it’s good to look at the reviews and ask around to family and friends as to who is reputable within the industry. It’s also worth choosing one or two agents so that you can get a feel for how active they are in finding properties and whether they are filling the quota that you’ve specified in terms of what you’re after from a property.

Know What You Want

Before you visit an estate agent, you want to know what you want. Going in there with no clue as to what you need will only make the property search more hit and miss. Providing little to no details can make the search very hard for the agent who would benefit more from knowing more about the needs you require from a property. So make a list of everything you need and mark them in order of preference. There’s going to be some that you want in a property more than others, so make a note of what’s most important to you. That way, you can walk into an agency and present your needs to them in your first meeting.

Ask Questions And Trust Your Gut

Viewing properties can be a very exciting part of buying a property and is likely to be the most fun you have from the whole process. However, it’s good to put on a wise head and ask plenty of questions when visiting a property. A few suggestions of questions to ask are below:

  • How long has the property been on the market?

The longer it’s been on the market, the more red flags it should make. Why hasn’t it sold?

  • Has there been much interest in viewing the property?

This one is always a bit tricky as the agent may tell a little white lay and say that there’s been lots of interest. This will often be a tactic to try and speed up a buyer’s decision, so take their answer with a pinch of salt.

  • What’s the neighbourhood like to live in?

This is a good one to ask the current owners if they’re in the property when you’re visiting as the agent may not necessarily know.

These are just a few questions to ask and if the answers you get aren’t sitting well, then trust your gut that this might not be the right property for you.

Be Nosy

Most owners will be out of the property when you’re viewing it with the agent. So don’t feel like you need to hold back. Test the water pressure by turning on taps and showers throughout the property. Have a look in cupboards and other closed areas that might show you how secure the property is from a structural point of view. There’s nothing stopping you from visiting the property a second or even third time, to see it on different days and to make sure that you’re still feeling the same way about the property that you felt the first time you viewed it.

Always Go In Low

When it comes to making an offer, the agent will usually recommend the best offer to make in relation to what they think the current owners will accept. However, it’s always worth going in slightly lower than what they are asking for as they might be in the position to accept it. It also gives you plenty of scope to go back and offer higher should your initial offer get rejected. If you go in with the most that you can offer, it might end up being the only offer you put in as there’s nowhere to go if it gets rejected.

Be Ready For The Paperwork

A lot of paperwork comes with buying a property, and it’s usually full of legal jargon that you might not understand. This is a great opportunity to question anything you might read with your solicitors. Don’t just ignore or skip past something you don’t understand as this may be something important that you’d like to question or don’t agree on. Once those documents are signed, there’s no going back so make sure you treat this part of the property buying process seriously.

Enjoy The Moving In Process

So with the offer accepted and all monies having been exchanged, you’ll now be given your move-in date. Even though moving may be a little stressful, it’s important you enjoy the process and relish in that moment that you finally get all of your belongings into a home that belongs to you for the first time.

Buying your first home can prove to be a little daunting, but if you follow these steps, it’ll surely make this new experience a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Alison Morgan