So, you have decided to buy a property! Buying a home can be a frustrating, emotional, but ultimately exhilarating experience. When it’s your first home however, you don’t have the benefit of experience behind you, so it’s easy to feel like you’re on the back foot. We know the feeling!
Over the past four years we dealt with lots of sellers and buyers and have put together a list of the top 10 things with hindsight they wish they had known before buying a property……
- You don’t have to do it on your own.
Going from bank to bank, searching online – none of these options will give you the best deal. What you need is someone who will take all your information, take the time to understand your personal circumstances, and search a comprehensive professional database of mortgage deals to find the one that suits YOU best. Luckily for you there is just a firm like this on your doorstep at www.lvfinancial.co.uk even better that they just won the best financial services award in Yorkshire! Check them out now.
2. Finance first then house not the other way around.
Get a Decision in Principle to find out how much you can borrow before you start house hunting seriously. It could save you a lot of heartache if you know you can get finance before you go and fall in love with a house. That way, if you find a house that you DO love, you can go in prepared to make a competitive offer based on what you know you can afford.
3. Don’t buy with your heart go with the head!
Don’t make decisions based on emotion. It’s fine to love your home. But don’t fall in love with a home you know nothing about. If your head is telling you it might not be the right house for you, don’t throw caution to the wind just because you love the original floors and 18th century fireplaces. It could cause you a world of regret later.
4. Don’t put all your money into your deposit.
Don’t put ALL your money into the deposit. Buying a home comes with more costs than just the mortgage payment and the deposit. You’ve got the application fee, stamp duty, CHAPS fee (for transferring your mortgage funds to your solicitor), legal fees, Land and Building Transaction Tax if you’re in Scotland, and several other costs before you close, then moving expenses to top it off! Make sure you have enough cash to cover these costs ON TOP of the deposit.
5. Does this house fit my lifestyle?
Buy a home to fit your lifestyle, not the other way around. Don’t buy a cottage in the countryside if you’re a sociable car-free family, hoping you’ll love the serenity. The isolation and inability to get around easily might just drive you nuts. Consider your commute, your weekend activities, and the schools you might want your kids (current or future) to attend. If you’re planning on expanding your family, a 2-bedroom shoebox with no garden located downtown in party central might not be the best option. You should plan to be in your new place for at least a few years, so make the right choice based on your future plans.
6. Don’t be put off by certain “ugly” features.
Ugly interiors are not to be feared. Cosmetic changes are a lot easier to make than structural ones, and can result in you getting a much better deal for your home than you initially thought possible. If you’re willing to overlook questionable decorating choices, you may have the upper hand over buyers who can’t – so don’t be afraid to look beyond the surface to see the potential underneath.
7. Use the tools free to you!
Make sure you take everything into account when looking at certain homes. Council tax rates, how far away is the train station and what are the local schools like? These are all questions you should have answered before you go to make that offer. On each of our properties we have the council tax bands, Ofsted reports on the local schools and the stamp duty calculator for you to have all the information you need.
8. Know what your budget is!
If you get approved for a £250K mortgage but you can realistically only afford £220K, don’t push the boundaries of your budget. You don’t HAVE to take what you’re approved for, so take the time to determine your REAL budget, and stick to it. Not only are you giving yourself no margin for error, but most importantly, your home could be repossessed if you do not keep up payments on your mortgage. Don’t mess around with budget.
9. Sort out your credit
It is important that you access your personal credit file and address early on, any issues that may be contained within your file. Issues such as late or even missed payments may have a large effect on requesting a mortgage or borrowing money and also on your credit. Issues that are seen and caught on from early can allow you to find the time to build your credit score up again. We use Check my file which look across 4 of the main credit score companies and have a free 30 day trial so use it! https://www.checkmyfile.com/credit-report.htm?ref=holroyds&cbap=1
10. Enjoy the moment!
Move in. Take a selfie with your keys outside the front door. Cry. Laugh. Open the bubbly. Make an epic first supper. Dance around in your pants. Bang nails into walls. Paint them blood orange, cream or wallpaper them with garish animal patterns. This is your castle and you’ve earnt it don’t forget to enjoy the moment.