Becoming a homeowner is incredibly rewarding. As well as the benefits of peace, privacy, and personalisation, it feels wonderful to achieve such a significant long-term life goal.
Even if you are still dreaming of this moment, don’t wait to prepare to buy your first home. Advance planning is key to ensuring that you will be able to take the leap when the time is right.
Start saving early
Most importantly, start saving early. You will need to put down a deposit against the property, and the bigger your deposit the lower your mortgage. Paving a larger proportion of the overall price will also improve your loan-to-value ratio which gives you access to more competitive mortgage rates.
Lenders will also look at your credit score when determining whether or not to approve your mortgage application. The higher the score, the more likely it is that your request will be approved. Make sure to settle any outstanding payments or debts well in advance of buying your first home.
Consider additional costs
Your deposit and mortgage are not the only payments that you need to plan for. Consider additional costs involved in the process of purchasing a property such as solicitors fees, hiring a surveyor, and buying essential furniture. Together, these can add up to thousands.
It is also vital to make sure that you have plenty of money to cover your living costs which could be high in the initial months, especially if you move in during the winter when it is colder and darker. Prepare for unexpected maintenance tasks so that you are not out of pocket if you need to call out a professional in an emergency situation.
Decide your priorities
When you are in a position to finance your first home, decide your priorities before you start browsing properties.
Location is commonly the most important consideration as people are tied to jobs or schools and want to stay close to their support network. You may also need to factor in public transport links. Size is also important as the house must be able to accommodate your needs such as enough bedrooms for the family.
Energy efficiency has become a priority for many in recent years as the cost of living climbs, heavily influenced by rising energy prices. Bear in mind that new build homes have better insulation compared to the UK’s existing property stock in addition to energy-efficient devices and are therefore considerably cheaper to run. This makes them an attractive option to first-time buyers watching their spending.
Expect bumps in the road
Finally, a key part of preparing to buy your first home is to expect bumps in the road. Around a quarter of deals do not reach completion, so it is best to brace yourself mentally from the start.
There are many reasons why house sales fall through and there is often little you can do about it. The buyer may change their mind about selling, especially if they have sold their home in advance of securing their next property. This is a natural challenge of being in a chain.
Delays, during the conveyancing process or even in terms of construction with new properties, is another common problem. This could cause your decision in principle mortgage offer to expire, but this is usually fairly straightforward to renegotiate.
Whatever happens – don’t panic! Issues are part and parcel of the process of buying a house. Stay calm and keep in mind that magic moment when the keys are in your hand.