Buying a house can be a time-consuming, stressful and risk-laden process for anyone – even if you’ve moved a number of times. So if you’ve never done it before, as well as being exciting, buying a house can be fairly daunting.
As old hands when it comes to dealing with properties, we thought we’d provide a few tips on how to approach the house buying process if you’re a first time buyer.
Before taking the step of buying your first home, you need to make sure you can afford it. As well as the deposit you’ll need to put down, you’ll also need to factor in the numerous costs associated with moving – such as legal fees, stamp duty (this has now been abolished for first time buyers if the purchase price is below £300,000, or £500,000 in London), the cost of a Survey or Valuation and moving costs. You’ll also need to think about the monthly mortgage repayments and costs of living to work out what you can afford on an ongoing basis.
Everyone has to start somewhere, so be sure to nail down what’s an affordable budget for you and stick to it.
It may sound odd to think about your next step on the housing ladder before you’ve even bought your first property, but this is a good tip. Thinking ahead about where you want to be in five years’ time may well influence the type of property you buy now. For example, if there’s a possibility you will want to start a family within the next 5 years, buying an apartment might not be the best move. Similarly, if you anticipate having to relocate in the next five years for work, you might want to factor this in. For example, buying a smaller property in a popular location rather than a larger house in a less desirable area might be a smart move as you are more likely to achieve a quicker re-sale in the future.
You might think you know what type of property you want but until you have viewed other alternatives, you can’t discount them. A new-build might seem a good, low-maintenance option for a first time buy, but older properties also have their advantages. Looking at a range of different property types initially before narrowing it down can really help to focus your mind on what you do and don’t want.
It’s very easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying your first home but be sure to look and look again when viewing properties. Look out for key factors such as damp, neighbourhood, noise, electrics and services, cracks in walls and ceilings, leaks, drainage, security and the condition of the property and its garden. For a detailed list of things to look out for during property viewings, take a look at our blog on this topic.
Buying a house is probably the biggest financial commitment you will ever make. As well as ensuring you can afford your mortgage payments, household bills and running costs, you’ll need to consider any repair and maintenance costs.
A RICS Homebuyer Report or Building Survey Report, conducted by a Chartered Surveyor, will help to ensure you know what you’re investing into. As well as assessing the property’s overall condition, a Survey will highlight any maintenance that might need to be carried out urgently. Undertaking such a significant purchase without a professional Survey could leave you facing hefty bills for essential work that you might struggle to afford.
For further advice or to speak to one of our Chartered Surveyors, please contact us here. Lea Hough are based in Lancashire but can conduct RICS Homebuyer Reports or Building Survey Reports throughout the North West. Popular locations we conduct surveys for first time buyers include: Burnley, Blackburn, Preston, Lancaster, Clitheroe and Chorley.