If you’ve saved up your deposit, and are about to step onto the property ladder – then congratulations! It’s a big step, and no matter how old you are when you do it, it never gets less exciting or significant – and of course, daunting.
If you’re not familiar with the property market and you’re just going into it, it can seem like a minefield.
You don’t know who to listen to, what advice to take, and whether or not you’re doing it right – but if this sounds like you, then don’t panic!
Everyone has been in your shoes at some point, and it doesn’t hurt to have a little help along the way. If you’re a first-time buyer, then here’s what you should be doing in preparation for buying your first property.
Research the Local Market
There is a lot to learn about the property market. There are so many questions to be asked, like how can I truly know the value of my home? You can get a no-obligation house valuation from a cash buyer – how do Speed Property Buyers work? But for now, let’s focus on the situation at hand. The buying of a first home.
The best place to start is by researching the local market of where it is that you’re hoping to buy. Take a look at homes in your price range, and pay close attention to how long they tend to stay on the market in particular. Likewise, pay attention to if there are any shifts on asking prices. It’s important to do this before putting an offer in, to ensure you’re getting a fair price in comparison with the rest of the market.
Look at Your Own Personal Finances
Of course, before you even consider putting an offer in you have to take a look at your own personal finances, and give thought to the way that you’re currently managing your money.
In order to get a mortgage, you need a good credit score, so in the months leading up to making your first offer, be sure to improve it as much and as often as you can. The better your credit score, the more trustworthy you are in the eyes of a lender, and therefore the easier it’s likely to be for you to be accepted on a mortgage.
You also need to think about what you can afford and work out what your budget is. Remember, that it’s not just about the down payment, but also the solicitor’s fees, the process of moving itself and of course the monthly expenses of mortgage payments and bills. Don’t lend more than you can afford, or you’ll find yourself in trouble in the long term.
Speak with a Lender
A good way of being prepared is by speaking with a lender in the early days and asking them to be realistic with you about your situation.
Of course, you’ll probably be able to make a guess at what your budget is based on your finances and credit score, but speaking with a professional will make sure you’ve got this as accurate as possible, and may even get you a specific figure.
You could even look into getting pre-approved for a mortgage. The entire house buying process tends to be, at times, incredibly laborious and stressful, so this could take some pressure off you further down the line. Simply provide the lender with financial information, such as assets, debts and your credit score, and they’ll be able to tell you whether or not you’d be pre-approved.
List Your Property Priorities
Okay, so now you know how much you can afford and the area in which you’re looking to buy. Now it’s time to look at the finer details – your priorities.
A useful thing to do is to list them in order of importance. For example, is it important that you have two bedrooms, are based next to a school, or have a garage or driveway to keep your car on? Everyone’s priorities are different, so figure out what yours are and stick to your guns. Only then will you know you’ve found the right property for you.
Find the Right Estate Agent
Last of all, but certainly not least, find the right estate agent for you.
Looking at credentials and reviews is a useful way of telling who is good in the business, as is word of mouth. The true telling point is their level of success in buying and selling property, so be sure to look into this too. The right estate agent could be the difference between you buying the right home and not, so choose wisely.