Getting a foot on the property ladder has long proved an unattainable goal for many young people, but with the economy settling down somewhat and more people looking to save before purchasing, there will no doubt be more first time buyers now than there have been in the last few years.
In this article we’ll provide a few key areas to think about in the process of purchasing a property, helping first time buyers better understand what they should be doing when trying to get onto the ladder.
Choose Your Area
The first thing you should think about when looking to purchase a property is where you’d like to live. Many people stick close to what they know but if you need to move for work you should check out unknown areas first. The up and coming areas will offer great communities but could be more pricey if the market has noticed the trend. You should also think about how the land of the area lies – is it in an area at risk from flooding? Was the area once a mining area? Is it close to a lot of industrial plants?
Think long and hard about the area you want to focus on so you can whittle down potential properties.
Estate Agents & Viewings
When you first start taking up viewings you might find it a little daunting. You will either be shown around by the current owners of the property or you will be shown around by an estate agent, either way you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. Key things to ask include:
- How old is the boiler/heating system?
- What tax band is it in?
- What are the neighbours like?
- Why is the owner selling?
- When was the property last rewired?
You can ask a whole range of things and inspect the building properly, on a second viewing you might start to imagine yourself in the space and whether you’d be happy to be there. Take a look at other properties up for sale in the area as well as checking out the price of recently sold properties in the area to help form a price guide.
Sitting down with a mortgage advisor will give you an idea of what kind of price range you can look at for your property. It’s always better to see someone independent of the banks as they can look across all the deals available to you rather than a handful of deals.
Whatever your upper limit is that you’re allowed to borrow, look at properties 10-20 thousand less, this gives you more breathing room when it comes to paying off your mortgage and allows you to go up a little when putting in offers on a property you really want. Your mortgage advisor will tell you what your uppermost limit is, it’s up to you to decide what is most sensible for your circumstances.
Depending on the age of the house and its location you will need to choose a survey best suited to what you want to know. Most newly built homes will only need a standard survey, while older houses probably need something which looks at the property in more detail, such as a homebuyers survey. For any property you suspect has structural issues or which has been derelict then a full survey is advised.
Chains & Completion
When you have an offer accepted you officially become part of a chain, but you’ll be in the strongest position as you won’t have anything to sell. This freedom means you have the power, but that isn’t to say the chain couldn’t collapse and cause problems for you. The shorter the chain the better chance you stand of getting moved quickly.
Completion can take several weeks as all your paperwork needs to be signed and your solicitor will carry out checks on your behalf. Make sure that you are kept in the loop by your solicitor, the estate agent and your mortgage advisor – and don’t be afraid to call if you’re not being kept in the loop. Remember, the purchase isn’t complete until you have exchanged contracts.
Once you’ve completed your purchase you’ll need to move your possessions from where you are now. At Barnes of Lincoln we can provide home removals when you’re moving into your first home, making that final step a lot easier.