Guide For First Time House Buyers

keys in lock

If you're buying a home for the first time, the process can at times seem completely overwhelming. So what are the key stages as a first time buyer and are there some key things you should be aware of from the outset?

When you are starting out on the property ladder, buying a house for the first time can seem daunting - so the last thing you want to do is panic. For the majority of us, buying a house or flat is the most expensive thing we will ever do, so it's worth knowing exactly what's involved when starting out.

The following guide is intended to help you through the initial stages of buying a house for the first time by suggesting ways to make the process easier.

How Much To Spend

You may well be borrowing four times your annual salary, or even more. It will take years to repay the loan, so before starting out you should consider what you can comfortably afford. Once you have worked this out, it's a good idea to decide who your lender will be and the type of mortgage you will opt for. Bear in mind that your repayments do not end with the mortgage and you will also have to find the money for valuations, the cost of a surveyor, removals, taxes, insurance etc.

It is also worth setting aside some money for decorating or carrying out repairs once you have found your dream home. Do your homework and get a general idea of how much builders and decorators in your area charge for their services. You may be surprised at how much the costs of starting out on the property ladder mount up.

Approaching The Whole Thing

When you are planning to buy your first house try to approach it as a business transaction, no matter how emotional you may feel about the prospect of finding your perfect home. The process can be complicated, stressful and time-consuming, so you will need to develop a tough outlook. It will all be worth it once you are settled in your new home.

So know what you're looking for, roughly which area, what type of house you like and how much you are roughly looking to spend. This will manage your expectations from the outset and hopefully reduce the stress levels somewhat.

Compile Your 'Must Haves'

Before you even start searching, take the time to compile a list of all the things you are looking for in a flat or house. If you are buying with a friend or partner make sure that you are in agreement about what exactly you are looking for. Each time you visit a property, make a note of how many of your desired features it has.

Here are a few things you may wish to include on your list of priorities :

  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms required
  • Specific area
  • Secure parking
  • Close proximity to shops, public transport, schools, work etc
  • Garden

When you are viewing a property check if it's near business premises, as you may decide that the location is too noisy or busy. Some lenders may be unwilling to offer you a loan for a house or flat that is in close proximity to business premises and even if they do, you may find that you have to pay more for insurance.

How To Find Your Ideal Home

There are several ways to search for your ideal home. You can:

  • Go through an estate agent
  • Look on property websites
  • Look in newspapers
  • Walk or drive around your preferred area and take details of any suitable properties for sale

measurements, photos and other details before you view a property. Ask to be put on the agency's mailing list so you can be kept up-to-date with what is on offer.

If you use the internet you can view and compare the details of a selection of properties before you visit. Some websites contain details of homes offered for private sales, which means you will avoid the cost of an estate agent.

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