Buying a house is the biggest investment you’ll make, so make sure that you’ve done some thorough investigating before making any life changing decisions. It’s important to know what to look for when house hunting, and it definitely pays to be prepared. Make sure you follow these steps to ensure that you make the right choice.
Hire a Chartered Surveyor
When buying a house, your mortgage company will carry out a basic evaluation for you, in order to assess the value of your property. A chartered surveyor will assess the property thoroughly and carry out more detailed checks. They’ll be able to check for major and minor defects, the cost of repairs and any damp issues. They’ll also be able to detect any drain clearance issues. A property surveyor can also be hired to carry out a defect report if you suspect a specific issue with the building.
Find a Good Mortgage Advisor
For first time buyers, it’s important to find a mortgage advisor that will help you every step of the way. You can even find mortgage advisers that specifically specialise in first time buying. They are there to support you and protect you from money lenders and can help you make an informed decision about the type of mortgage you need. They also know the ins and outs of the industry, so you should feel that added sense of security when using their service.
Know What You’re Looking For
It’s important to assess your current situation and outline how you envision your future to look like. When you’ve got a clear idea in your head, then you can narrow down your search. Are you a young family looking to upscale? Or maybe you need to move house for career related reasons. Do you want a garden? Are you looking for a semi-detached or detached style property? Have a clear brief ready to give your agent. One thing you have to be sure on is that you are going to be living there for some time. Your home should be more than just an investment. It’s where you will be spending your time for many years to come, so that’s why it’s so important to think long term.
Know How to Haggle
The price of a property doesn’t have to be set in stone. It’s just a rough guideline of what you should be expected to pay. If you’re not good at bargaining, then you might want to get practicing, because buying a house is much easier when you can negotiate. You may be able to get the overall price lowered quite a bit if you can prove that the house has some minor defects.
Location Location Location
There are so many things to factor into buying a new house, and one of the most important is of course, location. You need to consider transport links and get a general feel for the neighbourhood. For young families or couples expecting a child, you’ll want to find out all you can about the local schools. Commuting to and from work plays a huge factor in your decision making. Ideally you want to be well connected to tube links and get a great deal when it comes to your travel costs.
Keep in Mind Other Expenses
Your deposit isn’t the only expense to consider when buying a house. You’ve got to take into consideration factors like furnishings, solicitor bills and surveyor costs. These aspects of home buying (let’s not forget stamp duty!) all have to fit into your budget too, so be careful how you’re managing your money.
Consider a 15 year Mortgage
There are many types of mortgage that come in fixed and variable rates, depending on what suits you. Think about what mortgage deal you want by browsing comparison websites. With a 15 year mortgage, you’ll receive a lower interest rate, than you would a 30 year one. You are eligible for a mortgage if you can afford 5-10% of your property’s price. Remember though, the bigger the deposit, the cheaper the deal.
Set Up a Property Alert
Use property websites to search houses and flats that fit with your criteria. Registering and setting up a property alert means that you can be the first to know when houses suited to you come on the market. Competition is tight and many people are looking to get onto the property ladder, so do what you can to secure that house.
Viewing a Property
When you go to view a property, make sure you’ve done your research and have good questions prepared to ask the agent. Know what to look for when you get there and have a checklist with you. Things to keep in mind are storage, whether the layout works for you, and room sizes. Good questions to ask are “How long has the property been on the market?”, “Has there been any offers?” and “How many people have viewed the property?”.
Completing Your Purchase
So you’ve now secured that dream house. Congratulations! Now you need to complete the exchange and get those keys to your sparkling new home. Before you do that though, make sure to ask the seller to stop advertising the property. The last thing you need is potential buyers trying to compete with your offer. Now you can relax and break open the bottle of bubbly! Make sure you have your mortgage, building insurance and deposit information available.
Consider Shared Ownership
For young couples and individuals, a share to buy scheme might be exactly what you need. Shared ownership housing means that you can get on the property ladder that much easier. You’ll also be able to eventually buy the property outright when you’ve saved enough for the future. For the government owned portion of your home, you will have to pay rent for it, but this will be much less than your mortgage. Check with your local housing association to see the opportunities available to you.