Articles

Published by: Stuart Wickham

Vital information for First Time Buyers - Updated

For those people that are managing to reach out and take their first steps on to the housing ladder, they may well be undergoing a number of emotions and stresses which can mean that first time buyers lose sight of some important element when moving forwards on the experience of buying property for the first time.

Please note the following key things to ensure that you go into your property transaction with all of the appropriate processes dealt with and reviewed before you part with your money.

Inspect! Inspect! Inspect!

Once you have located your ideal home, it is important that you arrange for viewings.  Consider undergoing a number of viewings and also the extent of what survey you wish to take out.  There are three basic survey levels, the lender’s survey which is more or less a valuation, a home buyers report which is a more detailed survey and a full structural inspection.  Surveys can cost between £400 - £1500. 

This may seem a lot of money but please bear in mind that these surveys can save thousands and could lead you to withdrawing from a transaction if the surveyors are able to reveal a number of defects which could ultimately mean a property turning into a money pit. 

Take time to view the property at different times of the day and week.  The property may seem nice and quiet at the weekend but is it busy during the week and at rush hour times.  What is happening in and around the property?  is there any evidence of any nuisance, i.e. dogs barking or anything that could lead to stress and concerns once you have moved in.

Budget

Take a step back, do your maths and ensure that you are able to complete your purchase.  Please make sure that you retain a sum of money to ensure that any works that come up can be taken care of.  Things may become tricky if you move in and are required to spend money on making repairs and maintenance and you have put all your eggs in one basket in terms of buying the property and paying all of the costs and stamp duty.

Consider discussing your financial arrangements with an independent financial adviser to look at your options, costings and whether or not you can get a suitable mortgage.

Be prepared to sell

Your first home is not just that..  It is a major asset which could assist you with moving up the housing ladder.  It is therefore absolutely vital that you consider your first home as something that you are able to sell in the future.  Any changes that you make to the property, any difficulties that you have with it could impact your ability to sell and make a suitable return on your investment. 

Timings

It is all fantastic to put yourself in a position to have completed and moved in in a very short period but do not rush things.  Take your time, consider all of the legal arrangements and the implication on the house buying process has on any chain involved in these transactions.  Once again, bear in mind that you are making steps to spend an awful lot of money and it is absolutely vital that you do not rush things which could lead to oversights that could create financial complications in the future. Do not agree move dates until everyone is ready to proceed.  This tends to be the most stressful part of the transaction.  Wait till everyone is ready and ensure that agents are pushing the chain along to get everyone ready and good to go. 

Moving In

You must ensure that you obtain buildings insurance from the point that you exchange contracts and treat your property carefully, keep it maintained and repaired.  Allowing it to fall into disrepair could cost you against your investment should you come to sell.  Last of all, it is quite a good idea to engage a solicitor at an early stage.  It is possible to undertake initial research and queries that can be useful in helping make a decision on whether or not to proceed.  You can also discuss timings and any other considerations arising out of the purchase i.e. making a Will or a Declaration of Trust which could help smooth process in the long run.