Buying your first home is a big deal. You’ve reached a significant milestone in your life. For most of us, getting on the property ladder means we can finally feel like adults. But, it’s hardly a stress-free experience. It’s no secret that buying your first home is probably the largest purchase you’ll make in your life. You’re handing over a large chunk of money—no pressure to get it right. It’s not surprising most of us feel overwhelmed by the whole experience.
If this is your first time buying a property, here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts to help you find your dream first home.
Do make sure you’re ready
It’s easy to get carried away—especially if your friends are all jumping on the property ladder, you might feel pressured to do the same. But, buying a property is a substantial financial commitment, so ask yourself ‘Can I afford this now and in the foreseeable future?’ For instance, you don’t want to agree to a huge mortgage only to find yourself jobless a few months later. Or, if you’re buying with someone else, check how sure they are about proceeding.
Do your maths—work out the real cost of buying
Before you get close to owning the keys, there’s a range of things you must pay for upfront like legal fees, valuation fees and a mortgage arrangement fee. Also, once the sale goes through, don’t forget to calculate stamp duty, removal costs and any home repairs into your budget. Make sure you have some savings set aside to buy white goods and pay for any last-minute costs.
Do your homework
It’s ok to ask questions, especially if you’re about to hand over a substantial amount of money.
Here’s a quick checklist of things to ask you agent and the seller:
- How many viewings and offers has the property received—this will tell you how much competition there is for it.
- Why is the vendor selling and are they in a chain? A long chain can indicate potential delays as there a more transactions involved.
- Renovation history—this will give an idea of how much work the property needs.
- Date of last boiler inspection.
- If you’re buying a flat, find out about services charges and ground rent costs.
Don’t rush the process
Take your time finding the right property for you. You’re making a huge investment. So, don’t let yourself get pressured into putting in an offer before you’re 100% sure. Moreover, don’t forget that vendors want to sell to trusted buyers who aren’t going to change their minds at the last minute (costing everyone lots of money). If you show you’re serious then your vendors are more likely to wait for you too.
Don’t ignore warning signs
Don’t be afraid to ask what the issues are but if the vendor isn’t forthcoming, then you can make your own assessment of the property.
Red flags to look for:
- Signs of damp like mould and an unpleasant musty smell.
- Plumbing problems and leaks.
- Peeling wallpaper and condensation on windows.
- Dark stains on walls and drip marks.
- A faulty boiler.
- Faulty window locks.
- Substandard front and back door lock.
Of course, if you’re determined to still go ahead and buy the property, factor into your offer the cost of dealing with these issues as they may end costing you £1000’s or more to repair.
Don’t forget to consider resale potential
When looking at properties, don’t only focus on your present needs. Fine, right now you might be happy to live in a one-bedroom flat or in a certain area because it’s cheaper, but these things might change in the future. So, the last thing you want to do is buy somewhere that you can’t sell later. For instance, a major problem for resale is a short lease—ideally look for leaseholds that aren’t below 83years.
Need advice selling a property?
If you do have a short lease or are worried about the condition of your home but need to sell it quickly—don’t worry there are lots of options available to you. You can use a specialist company like House Buy Fast, which offers a ‘we buy any house service’ here: https://housebuyfast.co.uk/