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  • Olivia Thomas

5 Top Tips to consider when buying your first home!

Here are five top tips for buying your first home. Please be aware that these tips are brief and to the point, therefore more research and advice is necessary before deciding to purchase a property. Our Buyers Guide is also available which has an in-depth 14 step guide to buying a house and is available on request.

1. Decide if buying a home is right for you

Although the majority of people in the UK want to own their own home, it’s not always right for everybody.

There are a number of things you need to think about before deciding to buy a home – the most important being whether you can afford it or not.

Buying a house is a costly business you need to ensure you can afford the deposit, the solicitors fees, the mortgage fees, survey fees, costs for the searches, insurance for buildings and contents and all of the extra which you need once the sale is complete including any refurbishment or redecoration work.

and remember, the bigger deposit you can save, the better the mortgage deal you’ll be offered.

Once you have decided to buy your own house you need to…

2. Decide where you want to live

You may want to move to a home close to where you already live, however, if you want to move to a different location, then deciding on an area is more difficult and can be time consuming. Deciding on a new area is a very important decision, if you get it wrong and you could be unhappy with where you live, or face the costs of moving again.

Make sure you have a check list for your search area e.g. does it have a good primary school, is there a regular bus service, how far is your commute to work, is there a gym nearby, and is it going to work with your social and work life?

3. Choosing your property

Once you know the area where you would like to live, you should start researching the properties in that area and get to know the local market well.

It’s a good idea to register with local agents so that you get regular updates of all the new properties coming to the market.

You need to visit as many properties as possible, get a good feel for what you like and dislike in a house, and make sure there are no hidden surprises. It’s also a good idea to have a ‘must have’ list if possible e.g.. at least two bedrooms, garage, not over looked etc.

It’s also important to understand whether the property is freehold or leasehold, and that it is not on a short lease.

4. Decide if you want a full survey

Once you have placed an offer and arranged your mortgage, the mortgage lender will require a valuation by a surveyor. This is not a full survey, and will only look very superficially at the property.

You can usually either get the valuation upgraded to a full survey, or you can commission a separate survey. This should tell you everything you need to know about the property, and alert you to any potential problems you will face once you move in. Unless you are very experienced with property, it is usually worth getting this done.

5. Communicate

It is best not to go on holiday between putting an offer on a house and the completion date. Be around to be kept up to date on progress and always ask questions on anything you are not sure of or confused about.

It is important you don’t ignore something you don’t understand. The timeline for buying a house can be varied, factors like whether you're in a chain, or tied up in a rental agreement, or have a limited budget can affect how long it takes to move. Be patient, and especially when you get nearer to the end of the process, take comfort in the fact that you will almost be done with all of the paperwork!

Our Moving Day Checklist is also available and our glossary of terms may be of interest to you also.

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