If you are about to take your first step onto the property ladder, you are probably feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension. It can be quite daunting, but if you are well prepared, it should make the journey far smoother. Here are 4 things that every first-time buyer should know.
One of the first things you should do is find out what borrowing power you have. All lenders have different lending criteria, and the rates available will vary depending on the level of deposit you have. Unless you feel confident to deal with the whole thing yourself, it's a good idea to speak to a broker who can arrange a mortgage for you and give you an indication of the best deals available. Once your mortgage has been approved and an offer of loan issued, the fun part can begin, and you can start viewing properties that fall within your financial means.
You are the ideal buyer
Don't be fooled into thinking that being new to buying property before puts you at a disadvantage. Assuming you have all the required deposits and funding in place, you are the ideal buyer! Your purchase won't be subject to selling an existing property, there is no sales chain, and you are more likely to be flexible in terms of entry date. This all equates to a smoother transaction and minimizes the risk of you backing out, so use this as a negotiating tool when agreeing on a final sales price.
Have a specialist property inspection carried out
A property can look great on the surface but can have many hidden issues lurking beneath, so it's a good idea to arrange for a specialist to inspect the property. They will carry out various checks and then issue you with a report outlining any issues they have come across in terms of things like the roof, plumbing, electrics, and so on. An inspection not only equips you with a negotiating tool in terms of price but will also give you peace of mind that you aren't buying a nightmare of a property that is harboring a host of problems.
Make sure the property is affordable
You may be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments, but have you considered the other monthly outgoings that go hand in hand with owning a property? Utility bills, insurances, and ongoing maintenance costs (to name but a few), all add up so you must spend some time calculating whether this purchase is going to be affordable in the long term. Write down all of your approximate outgoings and look to save around 10% as a contingency each month. This will come in very handy if something unexpected happens like a leaky roof or a boiler breakdown. You may need to buy furniture or appliances when you first move in, so plan ahead and be realistic in your approach. The more prepared you are, the less stressful the overall process will be.