Buying your first home is almost as scary as it is exciting, but it’s ultimately one of the most exciting purchases that you’ll ever make in your life!
To try and make the process that little bit smoother we’ve put together this list of ten top tips to finding your perfect first home.
1. Consider all of the costs
While the big thing you’re going to want to consider is obviously your mortgage payments, it’s crucial to understand that there’s a whole host of other costs that you’re going to be facing.
For example, there are property taxes, bills, surveys and valuations as well as things such as stamp duty and mortgage arrangement fees.
If you’re used to just calling your landlord to sort repairs in your rented property, remember that6 you’ll be liable to pay for all of this in your new home.
Bear all of this in mind when setting your budget as if it might be wise to be a bit more realistic during your search rather than getting stung later on.
2. Save up a good deposit
Having a good sized deposit means that you’ll open up a lot more potential properties for your search.
Generally speaking, you need something which is somewhere between 5% and 20% of the value of the property you wish to buy.
Of course, the more you save the better, as it’ll make applying for your mortgage much easier.
3. Take advantage of a Government scheme
There are a number of schemes available which are designed specifically to help first-time buyers, and can help you afford a much wider range of properties.
The most well-known is the Help to Buy scheme, which allows you to borrow as much as 20% of the value of your property as long as you can stump up a 5% deposit.
There’s also the similarly named Right to Buy scheme which helps buy your council house and the option of shared ownership where you only buy a portion of your home and rent the remaining share.
4. Use a mortgage broker
Of course we’d say this, but we really do think it’s important that you come to a broker such as ourselves at Search Mortgage Solutions, especially when it’s your first time house hunting.
There are a lot of different mortgage options out there and it can be a bit overwhelming for first-time buyers.
A broker can help scour the entire market, using their vast experience and knowledge to help whittle things down and find the best mortgage for you.
What’s more, while some brokers will charge a fee for their services, here at Search Mortgage Solutions we can offer a no fee service as we work on commission from the lenders!
5. Research the neighbourhood
It’s all well and good finding your dream home, but the location is just as important. While you can carry out work to improve your new home, unfortunately, you can’t do the same for the surrounding area!
The best thing to do is get out and explore the area for yourself. Try and get a general feel for the area and check out things such as if the streets are clean for example.
It’s also a good idea to pop into the local shops, pubs, parks and other places you’ll likely be visiting.
And if you really want some good insight, ask the locals!
6. Ask plenty of questions
We can’t stress it enough but make sure to ask as many questions as possible before committing to making any offer.
A property might seem perfect on the surface, but dig a little bit deeper and things can quickly start to unravel.
For example, how long has the house been on the market? Have there ever been any disputed with neighbours? Have there been any recent renovations?
For some more good questions to ask, check out this post from the Homeowners Alliance.
7. Do some online digging
Nowadays you can take things a step further by carrying out a whole host of checks on a property or area online.
For example, at Nethouseprices you can find out exactly how much local properties have recently sold for, or check out the UK House Price Index for average prices in certain areas.
You can even also check things such as whether your property is a flood risk or whether the area has a high crime rate.
8. Boost your credit score
It can be a rookie mistake to forget to check your credit score before apply for your mortgage, and it’s quick and simple to check.
Just head to a site such as ClearScore where you can check your score for free! There are lots of little things such as not being on the electoral register and having an account registered to an old address which can actually have a really negative impact on whether you can get a mortgage or not.
9. Have a survey carried out
It might not be the first thing that you think of, but it is important to have a proper survey carried out on your potential property before putting pen to paper.
It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting yourself in for and making sure that there are no skeletons in the closet (metaphorically speaking of course!).
It’s also good to know exactly where your property ends and your neighbours begins.
10. View the house at different times of day
We’d recommend booking at least three viewings before committing to a property, and make sure that they’re all at different times of day.
For example, seeing things during the cold light of day makes it easier to pick out flaws, but evening might bring its own problems.
For example, everything could be nice and quiet during the day while everyone’s at work, until the noisy neighbours get home from work at 5 and start blasting loud music!