Buying your first home is one of the most exciting – and most stressful – times of your life.
Whether you are taking advantage of a scheme to help secure your dream property or not, LW Developments, of Broxbourne, a Help to Buy Scheme provider, is offering some tips to get you moved in.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU AFFORD?
If you go online and use a mortgage calculator to see how much money a bank or building society might lend you, it can be very tempting to start looking for properties that are at the very limit of that amount.
But don’t get carried away. The bank may be happy to lend you £400,000 for your first home, but can you realistically afford the mortgage AND the rest of your living expenses?
It might look very do-able on paper, but the reality may be very different. If you are living to your limits each month to be able to live in your dream home, what happens if the unexpected comes along. You may be made redundant, you or your partner may fall pregnant, your car could need replacing. Then, suddenly, all your carefully calculated finances are out of the window.
Stay realistic. You won’t be able to enjoy your dream home if you’re having sleepless nights wondering how you can afford it.
GETTING A MORTGAGE
The number of mortgages and the various types on the market can appear very daunting to a first-time buyer. It isn’t as simple as going into your bank and just applying for one.
There are trackers, fixed rate, interest only … the list goes on. And, of course, every bank will offer you something different. So be prepared to shop around. This is a long-term – and expensive – commitment and you want to get it right.
Get someone to do the legwork for you in the shape of a mortgage adviser. They are the experts who can help you find your way through this bewildering mass of options.
Of course, you can just go to your regular bank, but they can only sell you what they offer and with so many different products to choose, you could end up missing out on a great deal.
A mortgage advisor, or broker, will make the process a lot quicker and easier for you. And when buying a home can be such a stressful time, it’s sensible to let someone else take the load.
FINDING A PROPERTY
As Phil and Kirstie were always so keen to point out, the most important consideration when choosing a home is location, location, location.
It makes sense. Do you want to buy your ‘perfect’ home in an area that will result in a 90-minute commute – both ways? If you’re sociable and like to spend your evenings down the pub, do you really want to live half an hour from the nearest one? And if you don’t have a car, living in the countryside where the buses seemingly run every two days isn’t really going to turn out well, is it?
So, first, identify the area, or areas, where you’d like to live, considering your commute, proximity to friends and family or access to the nearest supermarket.
Work out your budget – and stick to it. Decide if this is going to be a steppingstone property or your forever home. Are you looking for a property that is like a show home or are you happy to tackle a project?
Make a list of what you need the property to have – three bedrooms; big garden; garage; kitchen-diner; conservatory; built-in wardrobes; en-suite to the master bedroom.
And then be prepared to compromise. If the property is in the right location at the right price but doesn’t have a conservatory, is that really a deal-breaker?
Buying a home can be a long process. Even when you have found the property you want and secured a mortgage, the legal red tape can take weeks, if not months – and if you’re in a chain, even longer. But eventually you will be able to move in, open a bottle of champagne from your own fridge and toast to a happy future.
For further information, visit lwdevelopments.com