Our ultimate guide to buying your first property

Getting on the property ladder can be an overwhelming process. With so many things so consider, where do you begin? How can you make sure you find the best property for your future? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here is our complete guide to buying your first property.

How much can you afford when buying your first property?

The first thing you should do before you start looking at properties is to calculate exactly what you can afford to spend on your first home. Shop around for the best mortgage deal and make sure you will be able to pay it back. You also need to think about the costs of renovations you may need to make along the way.

Budget for the other costs of buying a home

Aside from mortgages and immediate renovations, there are other costs of buying a home. These include:

  • Survey costs
  • Solicitor’s fee
  • Removal costs
  • Buildings insurance
  • Initial furnishing and decorating costs
  • Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees
  • Stamp Duty

Research the area

When you are finally ready to find your perfect home, it’s time to do some research on the areas you want to live in. Find out what the amenities and transport links are like, and check for local schools and their Ofsted rating.

You should also check the safety and levels of crime in the area via the Police website. The higher the crime level, the higher home and car insurance costs. You may also need to consider the costs of additional home security, such as locks and alarms.

View numerous properties

It is too easy for people to fall in love with the first or second property you see. However, viewing others can help you see how they compare, in terms of value, location and appearance, will benefit you later on. Make sure you overlook the furnishings and instead focus on the following:

  • Signs of damp – such as condensation, mould, peeling wallpaper or certain damp smells.
  • Cracks in ceilings and walls.
  • Bad plumbing.
  • Loose tiles on the roof and problems with the gutters.

Ask questions

There may be certain issues or unavoidable upcoming upgrades that you cannot see by viewing. This is why it’s important to ask particular questions:

  • How old is the roof?
  • When was the wiring last replaced?
  • How old is the fuse box?
  • What sort of boiler is used, when was it fitted and when was it last serviced?
  • Why not ask what their annual bills have been for the main utilities, such as gas, electricity and water.
  • What broadband speeds do they get and how reliable is the service?

Make a note of what you see

As you view each property, take photos (with permission) and make notes to remind yourself of what each property can offer. Seeing numerous properties at once can make it easy to forget which property had which features, so this will allow you to refresh your memory and break down the pros and cons of each option.

View the property again

After narrowing down your choices, it helps to view them again to make the final decision. View them at different times of the day to get an idea of what they are like in a different light and different temperatures (it will cool down at the end of the day). It will also give you an idea of what the area is like throughout the day.

Check out the parking situation and communal areas

If you have a car, check out the parking situation. If the property does not have a garage or driveway, it might have a dedicated parking spot on the road. Always check to avoid disappointment and ask about permits.

Be careful of jargon and sales tactics

We’ve all seen that episode of the Simpsons where Marge becomes an estate agent. There’s the truth and the “truth”! In other words, the way in which a property is described can make it seem like you’re getting value when in truth, you’re not. For example, the word ‘cosy’ is often used to describe a property that is small. If you are told that you can ‘put your own stamp’ on the property, it means it is heavily outdated.

You should also be aware of estate agents who push you to pay the full asking price. They will often tell you that someone else wants the property and will offer the full amount. Do not let this pressure get to you though, unless you have your heart set on this property. The chances are this isn’t really the case and you will end up paying too much.

Find the perfect property with Joules Estate Agents

We hope this guide has helped to break down what you need to bear in mind when searching for your first property. If are looking at homes in the Heaton’s but don’t know where to begin. Get in touch with Joules Estate Agents today and see how we can help.