Tips for Buying your First Home!

25th October 2015

I’m slightly nervous about posting this because in a way, it could be seen as boring. But this is something that would have helped me out personally and if this helps even one person, that’s good enough for me!

1. Save up much more money than you think you will need. There is always little extras and sneaky payments you need to make that you just don’t account for.
2. If you are buying a new build house, look around older ones too. We did this and I’m so glad we did. You are able to see if you could perhaps get a bigger but older property and if you might get more for your money or not. This works visa versa too, walking around older houses confirmed that we wanted to start with a complete blank slate and pick our own kitchen etc which a new build offered.
3. Use a Mortgage broker. I was determined to do all the searching for our mortgage myself but a broker really is invaluable. This is their job and what they are trained to do, so trust them. The majority of the time you won’t pay for them either. It also takes a load off your back. Also make sure you go for a broker who searches across all mortgages, not just a select few.
4. Don’t get down if you get refused a Mortgage as there are so many still out there. Certain companies require certain things from you, whether that be a higher deposit or something you just can’t offer. Your mortgage broker will help in finding other companies that might suit your needs better. You WILL get a mortgage, just keep patient.
5. You can start buying stuff for your home from as early as you want. We started three years before we actually started searching for a house. It’s actually really exciting to pick up bits now and then and it’s really helpful because you underestimate just how much stuff you have to buy! It also allows you to buy better quality (and sometimes much nicer!) stuff because you aren’t having to purchase loads of things at once. Try not to go for any sort of theme or anything with your items just yet as you will be surprised how quickly you can change your mind about what you want! Don’t buy electronics or anything with a warranty either as you will want to make the most of this when you are actually in your home in case anything breaks. Food is a really good thing to store if you have the space and they have a long day as the first food shop you do is always so expensive so it’s always good to start picking up bits now and again like sauces or pasta.
6. Try not to get your heart set on a particular date to move into your house as quite often you will just get disappointed. Our moving in date changed a total of four times and it was so upsetting because we built ourselves up about it and got excited.
7. Don’t rush into anything. Buying a house is such a huge deal and you really need to take the time to consider why you are doing it and if you are in the right place in your life. By the same token, don’t let anyone pressure you into buying a house when you might not be ready. If you are buying with another person, you both need to be ready and just because they feel they can take this big step, doesn’t mean you necessarily are. Co-owning somewhere together will also mean you are financially linked to that person for a very long time, so you need to be sure they are someone you can trust.
8. Everyone knows how difficult it is for people to get on the property ladder, getting that huge deposit has to be the most difficult part. But there are now plenty of schemes available that have helped thousands of people secure their first home. Help to buy works in that you only need a 5% deposit to secure a home. You will still need to pay back the rest of the 95% with mortgage payments, but this just makes it easier for you to buy. This isn’t something we personally did, but I would recommend taking a look here for more information. As with everything however, there are drawbacks to these so do your research and talk to people who have experience of these schemes before committing to anything.

9. Before you do anything – and this applies for both renting and buying – you need to sit down and work out what your incomings and outgoings for a month would be. As an idea, this would include petrol, electricity, water, internet and TV, council tax, contents insurance, groceries, chocolate, social life, savings and so much more (it’s depressing, I know). I would recommend talking to your parents or anyone who have moved out and are in a similar situation to yourself (e.g. a couple of a similar wage if you are moving out with your partner) to find out what the situation is life for them. We deliberately overestimated slightly because there are often occasions that arise that you don’t expect, a birthday or a broken fridge perhaps – and you will need money for that too. I think this step is really important because sometimes you don’t realise just how little you’d be left with at the end of the month and it’s better to know this now rather than when it’s too late!

10. I’m lumping this all together – but if you don’t ask, you don’t get! By this I mean, never take the first offer price, you want to haggle. In new builds, you can even ask for certain things to be included if you buy that house, for example money towards white goods, having your stamp duty or solicitor fees paid for. Always try, after all what’s the harm? I’m lumping this together slightly but also don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether that be to estate agents or solicitors, through calls or emails, never feel like you are badgering them. Especially if this your first experience of buying, there is a lot you won’t know. If there is something you are unsure of or aren’t happy about, SAY IT!

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So there you have it – all that I gleamed from my experience of buying our home. I’d love to hear what you could offer to anyone wanting to move out – how did you find it? What would you change if you did it again? When are you hoping to move out?

Emily>