A Guide to Buying Your First House
Buying your first home can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Even if you can find a property that suits you a price that suits your budget, there’s still a whole series of hoops to jump through, from surveys and mortgage applications to the move itself. In fact, although a lot goes into any house purchase, the steps needn’t be difficult. Now more than ever, there are plenty of places to get help finding your house and gather all the information you need for the process of buying.
The first step in buying a house is estimating a budget and identifying the features you need in terms of space, location and other factors. It’s always best to go into the house-hunting process knowing how much you have to spend. This means determining how much you will be able to secure as a mortgage. This depends on a number of factors, including your salary and the value of the home you intend to buy, so this preliminary calculation can only ever be a rough estimate. Still, it’s worth having an approximate figure to begin with. One good way to get this estimate is with a mortgage calculator. You can find mortgage calculators online at sites like BBC Your Money, or mobile phone apps like the iPhone mortgage calculator offered by the mortgage brokers London & Country.
Having decided how much you have available to spend, the next step is locating a suitable home. There have never been more sites that offer help finding your house, and the sensible prospective buyer takes advantage of all of them. Sites like RightMove, Globrix and FindaProperty all offer listings of homes grouped by area and price. Keeping track of all of these different sites can be a little confusing; some properties will be listed on more than one, but each will have listings the others don’t. One way to take some of the confusion out of this process is to use a mobile phone app like Adzuna, which aggregates home listings from a number of different sites.
Of course, simply looking at a listing is no way to determine if a house is right for you. An inspection in person will give you a better sense for whether a property suits your needs, but a little online investigation can help to provide additional information. Records of house prices, such as those maintained by the Land Registry, can give you an idea of overall home values in the neighbourhood, while online reviews of local schools, transport schedules and even crime statistics are all available. With the amount of information available online, research that would previously have taken weeks can be done in a matter of hours, letting you make the most informed possible choice.
After choosing your house, it’s time to make your offer and sort out your mortgage. These processes have to be done the old-fashioned way, but if you’ve made full use of the resources available to you, you’ll be in the best position to make an offer that will be accepted. Don’t skimp on the survey; it can save you money, and will definitely help your peace of mind as you begin the process of purchasing your first home.