18th September 2017

4 tips for finding your first home

Buying your first home and getting onto the property ladder is a big step in anyone’s life. When you’re ready to take that step, you’ll find that there are many stages to the process and lots to consider. We want to make it as easy as possible for you, so to get you started, we’ve compiled this guide with our top tips for finding the property that’s right for you the first time you buy.

Know what you can afford

First up, you’ll need to have saved a good-sized deposit, ideally between 5-20 percent of the purchase price of your desired home. The bigger your deposit, the better the deal you’ll get on your mortgage.

Once you know how much deposit you’ve got to work with, approach a mortgage lender to get a Decision In Principle. This will give you a good indication of the amount of money that the lender would be willing to offer you, plus how much your repayments would be.

Look at your regular income and expenditure and work out a realistic budget. You want to ensure that you’ll have enough money to live comfortably after making your mortgage payment each month, so you’ll have a good idea of what you can afford. Don’t forget to take factors like council tax, utility bills and home insurance into account.

Your mortgage isn’t the only thing you’ll have to be prepared for. Ensure you’ve got some extra money ready for things like solicitor’s fees, mortgage fees, the cost of a survey and stamp duty.

Work out your priorities

First up, have a think about which areas you’d like to live in. Consider things like schools, transport, local amenities and anything else that’s important to you. Some areas will be more expensive than others, so it’s important to establish how flexible you’re willing to be, in case your dream home turns out to be in an area you hadn’t considered. If you’d like some advice on which areas of Chester could be right for you, speak to one of our team.

To pick the property that’s right for you, make a list of everything you really want from your new home. How many bedrooms, how much parking, do you need a garden etc. Once you’ve got your list, work out which items are essential and which are just “nice to haves”. You might find that this list changes as you view different homes, but it will help you start your search.

Consider the potential

Not every seller is going to share your taste in interior decoration. When you own the property, you can paint it and furnish it however you like, so it’s important to not let yourself focus too much on the decor when you’re viewing a home.

You’ll often find that properties you view have a neutral colour scheme. This is to make it easier for you to picture yourself in the home, so you don’t get distracted by bright paint work that isn’t to your taste and can instead focus on the potential of the home.

Hate the bathroom? That can be replaced. Hate the kitchen? That can be replaced. If you can’t afford to have an entirely new kitchen installed, you could replace the cabinet doors, repaint, change handles… The important thing is not to get hung up on these details. Focus on what the home could be, once you get your hands on it.

Don’t rush into anything

It’s not always a great idea to make an offer on a property the first time you view it. You’re going to be living there a long time, so it’s worth taking the time to make sure that this is definitely the home for you.

Visit the home at different times of day. In the light of day, it’ll be easier to spot flaws and you’ll be able to see how much sunlight it gets. In the evening, you’ll be able to see how much on-street parking there is when your neighbours return home from work or if there’s a particularly noisy family next door.

Find out what other properties nearby sold for and get a valuation done, so you know what it’s worth. Then, once you’re sure it’s the one for you, get that offer in!

If you’re a first-time buyer and you’d like some advice, the team at Matthew’s are happy to help. Just pop in or get in touch on 01244 346226.


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