Home: My Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a House
If you are planning to buy a new home, particularly for the first time, then it can be really daunting.
The choices you make along the way can end up costing you a huge amount of money (or save you some if you’re smart about it). I worked in Estate Agency for a number of years, so know all about the pitfalls, heres is my quick step by step guide to helping you to buy a new home without the worries.
Decide if buying a home is right for you
The majority of people in the country either want to be home owners or already are. But you really need to think if it is the right thing to do. It isn’t always right for everybody. So think it through before you commit.
There are lots of things to think about when it comes to getting onto the property ladder. For starters, you need to think about if you can even afford to do so. If you are having a mortgage get some advice from your bank or an Independent Mortgage Advisor. The good thing about an Independent Advisor is that they are not tied in with any Bank or Building society so they can shop around and potentially save you money. Work out your monthly outgoings so you can see what mortgage repayments you can afford without leaving you penniless.
Decide if you should sell first
This won’t apply to everyone, but if you are already a homeowner, then you need to decide whether you want to sell your current home before you buy again. It can sometimes be a little risky in a changing market, but there are some upsides to doing so. One of the most obvious ones being that there is nothing holding you back when you find a house on the market that you want; you can act pretty quickly if you are in a position to proceed.
If you choose to buy and sell at the same time then make sure that you don’t rush through any of the process so that things can run really smoothly. Make sure your Estate Agent checks the chain thoroughly.
Location, Location, Location
Deciding where to live is a big decision, after all, once you're in, it is the one thing you can't change. If you know you want to stay close to where you already are, then it is not such a big decision. But if you want to move to a different area or even across the country, then it can be something that is more time consuming, especially if you don’t know an area as well. You don’t want to end up hating where you choose and having to move again sooner rather than later, so make sure you take time to do some thorough research. Visit the area and ideally go at different times of the day.
Decide on your budget
Your budget is something that is important to know before you get started. Because even if you know where you want to live, you won’t know which houses to be looking at if your budget isn’t set. So how much do you want to spend, and how much can you afford to spend? This can be dependent on how much of a deposit you are able to get together.
It is also important to not forget about the extra costs that come from buying a home. You need to consider things like the cost of residential conveyancing, Estate Agency fees, survey fees and even the cost of physically moving. It can all add up and all needs to be budgeted for.
Arrange a mortgage
Before making an offer on a home, then you need to have spoken to a mortgage lender to know what you will be able to borrow. Many Estate Agents will require sight of an Agreement in Principle (AIP) and proof of your deposit, such as a bank statement. Once you have that, you can confidently make an offer. Then you’ll be able to go back to your mortgage company or advisor with the details of the agreed offer and complete the application process.
The the lender will then make the necessary checks and make a formal offer of a mortgage for you, which acts as a guarantee to lend before you exchange contracts.
When arranging a mortgage and buying a home it is wise to think about getting critical illness cover or life insurance set up. It can be much needed in case of emergency.
Planning ahead when buying a home can really make a difference and can help the move go smoothly. Remember, the Estate Agent will act in the interests of their client, so always appoint a good conveyancer to act for you as a buyer.
Budgeting really is an important factor too which can cause some problems if not sorted out right from the start, so ensure you take expert advice.