We love helping people find their next home, whether as a first time buyer or seasoned house-hunter. Indeed, people come to us not just to find the most suitable mortgage for a move but to help with bad credit, right-to-buy or rental properties too.
But now that spring’s well & truly here, we’ve seen an increase in the numbers of young couples coming to us looking for their first mortgage together for their first home. If that sounds like you, then don’t hesitate to complete a no obligation factfind and ask how we can help.
And talking in the office, we thought we’d put together our top tips – the sort of tips we wish we’d been told in our impetuous youth!
Location, location, location
Close to a school? Within cycling distance to work? Work out which things are essential for your location, don’t be too exacting – you’ll probably have to compromise somewhere!
Location is the thing that you can’t change. You can always refurbish a house in the future but you can’t move it half a mile to a quieter road so try and get this right from the start.
Top Tip: Visit the area several times at different times of the day to get a feel for what it’s really like to live there.
Does it add up?
You do need to be able to afford it! Mortgage applications these days are very much concerned with affordability rather than the fixed income multiples of the past. By all means discuss your circumstances with us, we’ll offer real world opinions and don’t worry – we’ve heard it all!
Don’t forget to include all the extra costs of setting up house in your calculations. You can live cheaply when first setting up house (extra tip: you don’t need posh carpets in every room immediately! Check out charity shops for cheap furniture – it’ll get you going) but don’t forget your solicitor’s costs, stamp duty and Council Tax.
Removal fees can stack up but if you’re using friends & a van, don’t forget to buy the pizza & beer!
Say Hello to the Estate Agents!
Keep in touch with all the relevant estate agents. Don’t just phone them. Go in and talk to them, let them get to know you so you’re first in mind when they hear of a property. Make sure they know what a great buyer you’ll be with no chain and funds in place – make their life easy for a fast sale and you might be in the running ahead of the pack!
Make a list
You’ve probably not won the lottery so have a good long think. What elements of your new home are essential. Which ones would be nice to have and which ones are of little concern. That way you’ll have a framework for deciding which areas you can compromise on when viewing properties.
It might be that you absolutely must have a spareroom for friends to stay in whereas a garden would be nice but you could cope with a yard. Or you’d prefer communal (or no) gardens but really want a garage to keep your bikes in. Whatever it may be, getting your heads around which parts of the puzzle are important for each of you makes selecting that first home so much easier.
Hammer it out
Decide now if you want a project. Fancy taking a sledgehammer to a wall and opening up the kitchen? It can all be done and often for less money than you expect but decide now if you want the extra stress, dust and please, don’t forget to consult someone qualified before knocking down any walls – they may be load bearing!
It’s easy to get mixed up after multiple viewings so why not take photos and/or record a quick video as you walk round. Look for cracks (but don’t worry – most homes have some – do get a full survey if concerned though) and ask to see guarantees for any work done recently, electrical certificates, EPC, window (FENSA) paperwork if it’s got recent double glazing and so on.
This might not be readily available and would be hopefully dealt with by your solicitor during purchase but the type of response you get should tell you if it’s all been done properly.
Ask questions about living there. How noisy does it get? Are there any parking problems? Boundary disputes with the neighbour and so on..
…and our vital tip
Don’t forget to pack a corkscrew so you can toast the future on your first night in your new home!
[Please note that these tips do not constitute mortgage advice. For advice, please contact us so we can provide advice specific to your unique circumstances]
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