Are you planning on buying your first home? This is an incredibly exciting moment in your life and the start of a new chapter. Still, it is understandable if you are also experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety because it is an enormous amount of money to spend and a significant commitment. It is always a daunting process to go through, but particularly with your first property, as it is a new experience. Therefore, it is helpful to know a few essential tips which should help to streamline the process and also hopefully reduce stress so that you can feel excited about this significant life moment.
Make Sure That You Are in A Healthy Financial Situation
Obviously, you will need to have a large amount of money saved up, but you also need to make sure that you are in an excellent financial situation before making the commitment. This will mean clearing any debt that you owe, making sure that you have a steady income, and having an emergency fund to fall back on (in addition to the money you are putting down). You need to keep in mind that buying a home is more expensive than renting as you will have various different costs to consider, so being in a healthy financial situation is essential.
Work Out How Much You Can Afford
Before you start viewing houses, you need to work out how much you can realistically afford to spend. You do not want to fall in love with a home only to discover that it is out of your price range, so working out what you can afford is one of the first steps to take and remember that there will be various other monthly housing costs that need to be covered.
Save As Large A Down Payment as Possible
You should try to save as much money as you can for a down payment, which will work out to be more cost-effective in the long run. Ideally, this should be 20% or higher, and it is best to avoid first-time buyer programs as these can often cost a lot more in the long run. Mortgages can cause a great deal of stress and can be confusing (especially for first-time buyers), so you might find it helpful to speak to an expert who will be able to provide advice based on your individual circumstances.
If possible, getting pre-approved for a loan can speed up the process and could help you to secure a property in a competitive market. A pre-approval letter will show that you are a serious buyer and show how much you can borrow, so this will be useful for first-time buyers looking to get ahead and show to a seller that you are a safe and reliable buyer.
Work Out Your Needs from The Property
When looking for a home, you always need to work out what your requirements are from the home and what preferences you have. For example, you may need the property to be within a certain distance from your place of work, which would be a requirement, while something like a garden would be a preference but is not essential. Additionally, do not only think about your lifestyle now as you may be there for a long time, so you might want to think about what the future might hold, particularly when it comes to kids.
It is essential to look around different homes, but you also need to remember that it is not just the property itself as you will also need to consider the neighborhood. The area in which you can live can have an enormous impact on your lifestyle, so even if you found a beautiful house within your budget, you may not enjoy living there if it is in a bad neighborhood or too far away from friends and family.
View Multiple Properties
It is always a good idea to view multiple properties so that you can get an idea of what is out there and so that you can make an informed decision. You might find that while looking at a property that there are certain features or potential issues that you had not considered, so it can be an excellent learning opportunity.
Make A Competitive Offer
When you have found a property that ticks all of the boxes, you will want to make a competitive offer but stick within your budget – a real estate agent will be able to help you to reach a suitable figure to offer. With a pre-approval letter, this should hopefully help you to see off any competition, but you may have to go slightly higher (just be sure that you don’t go over budget).
Use A Land Surveyor
If you are successful in buying the home, then this is incredibly exciting, but the work is not finished yet. You will want to use a land surveying specialist that can help to detail property lines, which will be essential if you have any plans on making any kind of land development, whether this is building an extension or even putting up a fence.
Learn Home Maintenance
Owning your own home is quite different from renting, and one of the most significant changes is that it will be down to you to look after the property. This means that you need to educate yourself on essential home maintenance but also know when you need to call out a specialist, which is usually with anything relating to water or electricity.
When you move in, you will be desperate to get started in decorating and making it your own home. You should avoid taking on too many projects at once as this can be disruptive and is much harder to manage, so focusing on a single project or working on one room at a time is critical.
Buying your first property is incredibly exciting, but it is also daunting and a major decision to make so hopefully this information will help you along the process.