The purchase of your very own home is an exciting and significant step in adult life. But it can also be fraught with dangers; from unscrupulous vendors to unnoticed dry rot and hidden legal costs. And for the uninitiated these dangers are multiplied. Below are five tips every first time buyer should be aware of:
1. Understand your financial position. Unless you have generous family, or large amounts of savings, you are going to need to take out a mortgage (or loan) in order to buy your property. The loan of this money will be secured against your home and missing repayments can mean severe financial penalties or even repossession of the property. Don’t tie yourself into something you’re going to struggle to afford. Do check around, do your research, find the best mortgage deal for your circumstances. Explore all avenues – mortgage brokers, looking online or individual banks. Consider your situation as a whole, not just whether you can afford the repayments today, but whether you could afford them if the interest were to rise, or if you had to take a cut in pay.
2. Be aware that you will need extra cash set aside for the associated costs of moving. Surveys on the property, solicitor’s fees and removal services – just some of the things you will need to fund. Be prepared, it’s a nasty surprise to find that you need to pay for things that you can’t afford and hadn’t originally planned.
3. It is of utmost importance that you have the property fully surveyed. Many buyers rely on the mortgage lenders assessment however, it is not wise to do this because the mortgage lenders are only interested in learning whether the house is worth the price that the sellers are asking for it and will not do an in-depth survey that could possibly reveal damp, dry rot, subsidence or a woodworm infestation. Having a proper evaluation done by a qualified chartered surveyor might cost you £300 in the short term, but it’s worthwhile when you consider that the results may let you negotiate a reduction in the asking price or show you that you’re not willing to take on the property at all and give you a lucky escape.
4. Think about your utilities. Failing to inform the relevant bodies will not just create inconvenience and waste your time, but it will also cost you valuable money too at a time when every spare penny is needed. Make a list of who you need to contact, including the phone company, broadband supplier, local Council, energy suppliers, TV licensing, Royal Mail and your water company. Remember to give enough notice to all concerned to ensure that your amenities are switched on and/or off in a timely manner.
5. Finally, make sure you use a reputable conveyance lawyer to complete the purchase for you. In the strict sense of the word, ‘conveyance’ is the transfer of legal title from one person to another, and in practice it means that all contracts will be arranged for you and that you will have good title to the property. Your lawyer will give you peace of mind as you prepare for your momentous life event.
And the last piece of advice? Enjoy it! Be proud of yourself, you’ve achieved something many people never do and you deserve to revel in the accomplishment and security of buying your first home.