Six Questions Every First-Time Buyer Should Know

17 Sep

While getting your foot on the property ladder is advised, it is not something to be taken lightly and requires a lot of consideration. Before buying a home, it is important to do your research and make the decision with your eyes wide open. There is a multitude of aspects to consider, but here are six things every first-time buyer should consider before taking those initial steps towards becoming a homeowner:

Can I afford it?

The property you choose needs to fit in your budget after all the monthly costs of owning and maintaining the home are considered. Things to think about include:

  • Council tax
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Ground rent
  • Maintenance and upkeep
  • Parking permits

Is there room for growth?

It can take some time for equity to build, so buying property should ideally be viewed as a medium to long-term investment. A lot can happen over five years, so try to find a home that can accommodate the possible changes. For example, your family could grow or you might add an extension. It won’t be an exact science and there is no crystal ball for this, but consider the possible life changes and how they might impact your need for additional space.

Is it a good investment?

Having a partner move in or growing your family is not the only kind of growth to think about. Buying bricks and mortar is an investment, so it makes sense to ensure that the home you choose has the potential for growth in value. Location is the single biggest influence on a home’s appreciation potential, so buy in the best area you can afford. Begin by researching the prices of properties in the areas in which you are interested to ensure you purchase a property at what is deemed a fair market value.

Are the basics in good condition?

As a first-time buyer, you buy might not have an array of luxury features, but you need to make sure that all the basics are in good condition. Have the property inspected by a qualified surveyor to ensure that there are no hidden defects that could be costly to fix. On average a Homebuyer Report will cost around £400, but it is well worth it if you avoid buying a home in need of expensive repairs.

What will need to be repaired or replaced?

Everything has a lifespan and may require repairs at some stage, so look at the condition of features such as the roof and flooring. How long will it be until these aspects need to be replaced? Again, this is where the services of a professional surveyor or contractor can come in handy. Knowing the expected remaining life on large-ticket items can help you plan for possible future expenses.

What can I compromise on?

Your first property might not be in perfect condition, but it’s important that it is the right home for you. When looking for a home to buy, have a list with three factors: ‘must-haves’, ‘nice-to-haves’, and ‘negotiables’. The must-haves will be the features that you can’t live without, while all other items will add to the home but aren’t essential. A lock-up garage is a ‘nice-to-have’, but not if it means sacrificing an additional room or garden. The priority of each of aspect will be determined by your unique tastes and criteria.

There is no rush to dive into becoming a homeowner, so take your time and consider all aspects carefully. Making the right decision will result in a return on investment and more importantly – your happiness. To have a look at properties and begin your first steps to owning your first or next home visit search our properties here.