Owning your first home is a huge commitment but also extremely satisfying. Once you feel you are in a position to buy a house there are some important things you need to consider doing before you decide on your dream house.
First things first, you need to get your finances in order. No bank will lend a mortgage to someone they don’t feel can make the monthly repayments. Start by looking into your credit rating to make sure it’s healthy, and if it isn’t, speak to a financial advisor and sort it out. Once you’ve got your financial history sorted, you should begin to approach banks to see what sort of mortgage they can lend you along with their interest rates.
They will want to know your salary (including documented pay slips), job security, expensive hobbies that you might participate in and any other monthly outgoings that could affect you managing the mortgage repayments each month. Once they’ve established how much ‘spare’ cash you will have left over each month, plus the deposit you can put down, you’ll be given an estimated mortgage valuation.
Love your area
If you’re buying a house you need to be really enthusiastic about the area it’s in, otherwise there’s not much point in buying. You shouldn’t really be looking to move for around five years so make sure you are in love with the City and the job you’re in before you make a rooky error and get stuck somewhere you hate. If you have children then it’s a good idea to check that the local schools are going to work for you too.
Create a list
From your experience of everywhere you’ve lived so far in life, what have you decided you can live without and what you need in your life? Things like: if you’re a bath person, you’ll want a bathroom with room for a bath, or if you need office space then an extra room is something you might want to consider. It’s a good idea to draw up a plan of the dream home and have something to aim for. Of course you may have to have some leeway, but it’s good to get an idea of what you need.
Get shopping and vetting
Finally it’s time to start looking in your area, both online and by visiting estate agents to get your name on their lists. The more homes you look at, the happier you will feel about what the home you end up living in. Make sure you have a walk around the neighbourhood and get a feel for the people who live there, the local pubs, shops and schools. Also keep asking yourself: can I really afford this? Take note of the things you would change in the house such as decoration, carpets and flooring and add this on to the price so you know how much you’re looking to spend.
When you find your ‘dream home,’ you’ll need to have a mortgage inspection, which is usually arranged by the lender. It’s a good idea if you turn up for it, just in case anything isn’t quite right. For a more detailed inspection for your own peace of mind you could pay that little bit extra for a RICS Homebuyer Report.
Offer and close
Once you’ve had a mortgage inspection, you should be told an accurate valuation of the property. If there are major problems found along the way, you should try to reduce the asking price and be honest with your lender about how much you think their property is really worth. Then, make an offer! If the house is in a desirable location and you know it’s going to get snapped up quick, you really ought to just offer the asking price… especially if it’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of. The rest of the process will be left to your mortgage lender and solicitor, so sit tight and look forward to enjoying the day you move into your dream home!