Choosing wisely to make the ideal start on the property ladder
Buying a first property is a significant step and one to prepare for properly. It’s particularly important to try and stay objective and businesslike at a time when the subjective element and emotions can play a big part; being organised and using the services of experienced property professionals will help enormously.
Some advice to bear in mind:
Know exactly what you can afford
Don’t get into meaningful property and location searches until you know fully what your budget is:
Purchase price - if you’re buying with a mortgage, establish what your lender will allow you as an offer. Factor in your deposit saved and the mortgage offer to arrive at your budget limit. There’s no point viewing properties or even scanning websites until you know this.
Other costs - along with your mortgage costs per month, establish budgets for items such as:
• Council tax
• Utility bills
• Equipping costs (new furniture, appliances and so on)
Don’t get caught out by just factoring in the purchase costs - ensure you do your sums to arrive at a full monthly housing budget.
You may have a desired location in mind or are choosing based purely on affordability, but be wary of basing everything on housing costs. For example, you may be attracted to a less expensive area but what about traveling and commuting costs? If these would more than swallow up savings in your mortgage payments because you’re traveling from further afield where property prices are lower, it may not be as economical as you think.
Maybe you’ve chosen the Dagenham area as it provides potentially lower cost property than other parts of the region, yet is within easy commutable distance of London with good transport links.
The next step would be to talk with knowledgeable who can help you find the most suitable property in the area.
Help your estate agent to help you
When approaching a suitable estate agent, help them to help you by ensuring you have a concrete mortgage offer so they know exactly what price range you’re in. Also, brief them fully on your requirements so they can help narrow the search and focus only on properties that fully suit you. This helps put you in a good position as a buyer; you have a concrete offer and know what you’re looking for which is attractive to the seller as they know you’re serious and haven’t got a chain - this can help if you decide to put in an offer under the asking price.
The seller may accept it or at least be prepared to negotiate knowing a sale should proceed relatively easily by comparison with buyers who may have a property to sell first.
View properties objectively
When it comes to viewing properties, try not to let the emotive aspect dominate your thinking.
Take your time
From securing a mortgage to submitting an offer on a property, take each step carefully and thoroughly including - especially once you start viewing homes when the emotive side can especially loom large.
Don’t be rushed by worries you may lose the property to other buyers; far better to ensure peace of mind than make a rushed decision.