Purchasing your first home is the biggest, and the most expensive purchase you will ever make. Hands down. That’s why there are a few important things to consider before taking that first step onto the property ladder. The first step, as with anything, is always the hardest so I’ve put together a handful of what I would deem the more important aspects to consider.
Don’t always follow your heart.
Throughout your adult life we are told that we should follow our hearts. In this instance I’m going to go against the grain and suggest that when buying a property, you cannot let your heart rule your head. Yes, you may have fallen head over heels for the picturesque cottage-like exterior, and those rose-tinted glasses are firmly on, but are you maybe overlooking a more important issue such as damp for example? Look beyond the appearance, double glazing, heating, electrics…
Look at the bigger picture.
Zoom out. This one ties in with my tip above. Don’t simply focus on the property itself. What is the surrounding area like? I’m talking crime stats, transportation, schools, is there a decent Chinese take away? These are of equal importance and you may have your own to add into the equation too.
Don’t be shy.
Ask questions when being shown around somewhere. Enquire about the neighbours, ask how much the current owners pay on bills, offer less than the asking price. What’s the worst that could happen? They say no? Then you come back with a slightly higher one. Asking prices are up for negotiation, so don’t be afraid to push the boundaries slightly.
It is yours.
No more living with the parents, or friends, and no more rent. Mortgage payments are considerably less than rent, which is, of course a huge bonus. This time you are the owner. Those four walls belong to you. This obviously means that you can, within reason, do whatever you like to the place. Decorate, furnish, knock down walls, build walls up, have friends over, clean or don’t clean. But, owning your own also means that if anything breaks, it’s on you. It is your responsibility to fix, replace and insure things so having some money set aside for these occurrences can take the sting out a bit.
Look into the future.
Now, I don’t mean you need to book yourself a meeting with the local clairvoyant, I simply mean think ahead. If having children in the not-so-distant-future is part of your plan, (and I know we can’t always plan these things), then looking at one bedroomed properties is simply a waste of time. Moving house is one of the most stressful things a person can go through in their lives, the less this is experienced the better! If you’re happy and content with your job then looking at areas within an easy commute of it is a good idea, however, if you’ve been contemplating a change then take this into consideration as well.
For an estate agent, a mortgage advisor and a mortgage itself. There are many different ones out there with different areas or expertise and experience. You don’t have to go with the first one you meet 😉
This being said; enjoy the experience. Enjoy the excitement of scouring the internet, putting in your ‘must-haves’, thinking about your ‘definitely-nots’ and having a nosey around other people’s houses!