Taking the plunge to become a first-time homeowner is one of the most significant steps of your life. While many people go on to own several more homes throughout their lifetime, your first one is likely to be the biggest expense you’ve ever had. If you’ve never experienced the process of purchasing a home, you may encounter a few unexpected scenarios.
There are a number of challenges that you must be prepared for. It’s vital that you do enough work before starting the process to ensure that you are fully prepared. One of the best ways of making sure the buying journey is as smooth as possible is to remain calm. No matter what happens, a cool head will always prevail. Be patient, relaxed, and stay focused on each task.
A great way of staying calm when you’re house shopping is to set out a plan. Create a timeline and try to get your head around the big picture. This can go a long way in preventing you from becoming overwhelmed. Remember that buying a home is a positive step, so try to enjoy it and take the positives.
Once you are mentally prepared, there are a few tips that all first-time buyers can benefit from. If you’re in the market for your first home, here are a few points to consider.
Establish home goals
While many people can dream up their ideal home, very few have a realistic idea of where they’d like to live. They approach the housing market without a clear picture of what they want. It’s difficult to purchase a suitable home if you don’t know what you desire.
Research available homes within your price range and establish a list of criteria that you want your house to have. Decide whether you’re after a bungalow, an apartment, a flat, or other home types. Consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need. Do you want a back garden?
Cover all bases and set clear home goals.
Look for first-time homebuyer advantages
As a first-time buyer, you have a distinct advantage in the market. There are a variety of loan options, grants, and other programs available to make the process easier and more affordable. You can avail of reduced interest rates, a lower down payment, and a reduction in monthly payment requirements.
Contact financial institutions and take note of what opportunities you have as a first-time buyer. Weigh-up your options and take advantage of what’s available.
First-time buyers are often preferred buyers as many other candidates may have an unfavourable track record.
Get your finances in order
As mentioned, buying a home is likely to be the biggest purchase of your life to date. It’s critical to have your finances in order.
Generally speaking, you’ll need to have savings of 5% to 20% of the cost of your preferred home. Although most first-time buyers know this, many of them aren’t aware of certain additional costs that are involved in the process. Some expenses you might not have considered include survey costs, solicitor’s fees, removal costs, insurance, valuation fees, and stamp duty.
Consider all costs and account for going over-budget in some areas. Don’t let purchasing your dream home turn into a financial burden.
What mortgages do you qualify for?
When you’re applying for a mortgage, depending on your financial situation, you can qualify for a specific amount of money. Lenders use algorithms to calculate what they’re willing to offer you. Visit several different financial institutions for consultations before officially applying for your mortgage. Determine which offers are best suited to your needs. Alternatively, you could apply for a bridging loan – which will enable you to finance the gap you need in order to purchase a house.
Get professional assistance
It can be useful to hire a real estate agent to help you with the purchasing process. As experienced members of the industry, they can find homes that suit your needs and price range. They can also provide you with key information that you might not be aware of. When it comes to making a bid, real estate agents can assist you in the negotiations. Most importantly, they can handle a great deal of the paperwork, which can get complicated and tedious.
It’s important to be aware that a real estate agent will charge a commission, increasing the price you’ll have to pay for your home.
Plan for life as a homeowner
Aside from being able to afford to buy your home, you must be prepared for the monthly expenses that follow your purchase. Mortgage payments, utility bills, and lifestyle costs must be made consistently.
It’s useful to create a budget before you make a purchase, considering all your overheads. Perhaps you can’t afford certain luxuries.
However, most lenders will carry out a “stress test” to make sure you can afford your mortgage and payments.