Buying your first home is a very exciting step to take in your life but it can also be a daunting one too. With so much conflicting information floating around about the property market it can be hard to know where to begin. Here is an outline of what to consider when buying your first home so that you can begin to navigate the world of property with ease.
1. Be Certain You’re Ready
Whether you’re currently living at home with your family or renting, at some point or another you will be tempted by the idea of owning your own home. Take the time now to weigh up the pros and cons of buying or staying where you are, and only commit to home ownership when you’re absolutely sure you’re ready to do so.
2. Look for Government Help
Government assistance programs and their eligibility criteria can vary from time to time, but they’re worth looking into to see if you are entitled to any grants. If you’re not eligible for assistance but find the market is a little too expensive for you, then consider a co-ownership approach where you might invest with a friend or family member – owning 50% of the property each. If your deposit is minimal then consider holding off until you have more saved up to allow you to purchase something you know is right for you. In most cases you will need at least a 5% deposit but aiming for 20% is a good goal to set and work toward.
3. Research Well
It’s very important that you research the market well so that you can build your confidence around what homes are actually selling for at the moment. Attend open-for-inspections, take note of the number of people turning up and how fast properties are selling and for how much. You will be surprised how quickly you’ll have a feel for the market by doing your research well, and that means you’re less likely to pay too much for a home.
When it comes to mortgages there are a large number of options to choose from, such as a fixed rate mortgage where the interest rate you pay will be set for a certain number of years. With this type of mortgage you can feel more at ease that your payments will not go up during that time. Of course the disadvantage is when rates drop you will not be able to access the lower rate as you’ve agreed to the fixed rate term. With many other types of mortgages on offer it is easy to become overwhelmed, but simply take your time in assessing each option to be certain you choose the best package for your circumstances. How much you can borrow will be determined by the lender and based on your personal financial situation.
5. Extra Costs
There are many costs involved in buying a home, such as legal fees, land searches, building surveys, stamp duty and much more. You need to account for these costs in addition to your deposit. Even factoring in how much it will cost to move out of your current location and into your new home should be considered as these things all add up very quickly.
6. Find Your Dream Home
It sounds easy enough but finding your dream home isn’t always easy. You might find it but it won’t suit your budget! The key is to just keep searching. And don’t take properties at face value either. As a basic starting point, ask the people who live in the area what it’s like to live there. Making a list of your ‘must haves’ and ‘must avoids’ will help you eliminate properties so as not waste time inspecting them. For making an offer on a property you will have to find out the process for each specific home, as sellers often choose different methods. Some properties are straight forward whereby the seller receives your offer and simply negotiates from there, whilst other properties will have a deadline for when offers are to be received by, allowing competing parties to put in their best offer in sealed envelopes. Making offers subject to building surveys is always a good idea.
7. The Big Day
Once you’re lucky day has arrived where you’ve secured the property of your dreams you must organise all the appropriate insurance policies to protect your investment. Contents and building insurance are the two must have policies and of course income, illness and life insurance are also a good idea to have.
8. Settlement Day
It will feel like a long time coming but the day you finalise the sale process and take possession of your property will be one of the most significant moments of your life. Your solicitor will ensure all the correct paperwork is processed and before you know it you will be holding the keys! Congratulations!
9. Settling In
Moving into your new home will be a very exciting day indeed. To make things easier, be sure to connect all the utilities as soon as possible before your move in date. If you plan the move well in advance you will find this major event an enjoyable one.
10. Your New Life
Life will be completely different when you’re living in your own home and managing a mortgage, maintenance costs and other ongoing costs that come with home ownership. If ever you do find yourself facing financial difficulty due to things such as a sudden illness or job loss, be sure to talk to your lender immediately. By communicating with your lender open and honestly, you will find they will be more willing to help you manage through those difficult times that crop up in life from time to time. If you keep to a budget and maintain your property in good condition you will help secure the future value of your home and keep your finances healthy at the same time.