It’s easily one of the most stressful things you’ll ever have to do, and it hasn’t been made any easier by the pandemic, therefore, knowing the rough outline of how the process works will make the whole experience a lot smoother.
Pete Mugleston, managing director of www.onlinemortgageadvisor.co.uk, outlines the 10 top things anyone starting the home buying process needs to know about, so you don’t have to go in blind.
1 Avoid making big financial changes right before buying a home
When buying a home, you’ll want to keep your financials as smooth and steady as possible in the months before the purchase. You don’t want to be applying for new credit, closing accounts, changing jobs or making big purchases. These types of change can alter your debt-to-income ratio and complicate getting your mortgage approved.
2 Take time to get to know the neighbourhood
When buying a home, you’re also joining a neighbourhood, so you need to make sure you feel at home there by doing some research. Make sure to ask the estate agent everything you want to know about the area, and ensure you do plenty of online research about area stats before making any kind of offer.
3 Get your property surveyed
Once you’re sure you can borrow what you need for the mortgage, you need to make sure the property is in good condition. You are actually able to delay this until after your mortgage offer has been made, but make sure to always do it before the exchange. If any issues do arise, make sure to get quotes for any issues from a reputable builder and take into consideration whether or not you think the house is worth the cost of fixing the issues on top of the mortgage itself.
4 Buy the house you know you can afford
Once the mortgage and house purchase go through, you’re tied into a contract. You’ll have made the agreement to make monthly payments and therefore, buying a house that is at the very top of your price range isn’t always the smartest idea. You never know what will happen in the future, so make sure the monthly payments are an amount that you’re always going to be able to pay, regardless of your situation.
5 Schools matter- even if you don’t have children
Even if you don’t have children and aren’t planning to have them any time soon, you’re better off buying in an area with good schools. Although homes in top-ranked school catchment areas cost more, they typically tend to retain their value much better than homes within areas that have schools ranked average or below.
6 Be emotionally ready to negotiate
When going to look at a house, it can be very easy to fall in love with it too early in the process. Negotiating is difficult, so if you want to walk away with the best deal possible, you need to stay open minded and be prepared to walk away if it doesn’t go the way you want. Falling in love with a property can lead you astray when it comes to negotiating your price.
7 Don’t lose sight of the big picture
It’s incredibly easy to get hung up on superficial details like staging and paint colours. Stay focused on the big picture by creating a list of must-haves and deal-breakers at the start of your search. That way, it will help you evaluate houses without getting too distracted.
8 Make sure you understand all the costs involved in buying a house
The deposit isn’t the only upfront cost you need to be prepared for. You also need to factor in the costs of inspections, solicitors, estate agent fees and any kind of changes you may want to make to the house before you move in.
9 Find out if there are any ongoing maintenance issues
It’s important to find out as much as you can about the property before making the commitment of purchasing it. If the boiler has a tendency to stop working or perhaps if the roof has a leak, you’ll want to know about it before you finalise the paperwork on a home. You should always factor in these issues when making a final decision.
10 Research the local market
Long before you put in an offer on a home, you should be monitoring the condition of the market in the area you will be buying. Pay attention to the length of time that most homes in your price range stay on the market, and keep an eye out for any big shifts in the asking prices.