Buying a house can be a daunting process; it is likely to be the most expensive purchase you will ever make, and decisions can be full of ifs, buts and maybes.
Whilst at AEON we can’t help you choose a house, we do have a wealth of experience when it comes to assisting with the purchase process.
In order to make this more straightforward, we have put together a brief guide for first time buyers:
- Have a realistic idea of budget. There is no point in searching for houses that cost £350,000 if you can only afford a house for £300,000. You may waste valuable time and possibly be disappointed when you realise you need to adjust your expectations.
- Make a list of what’s important. You might want a beautiful garden with views of rolling countryside as far as the eye can see. But does that mean you’ll only be able to afford a house with two bedrooms? If that comes within budget, then you can start adding on the nice to haves.
- Don’t overstretch yourself. Whilst the lenders have been notorious in recent years for tightening up on affordability, be realistic with your expectation of outgoings. In addition to your mortgage payment there are other essentials such as personal insurance to tag on to this cost. We often meet first time buyers who haven’t factored in those additional costs. Just because you’ve found a house you love it doesn’t mean you’ll never want to go out again!
- Think practically. Do you love the idea of a project? If so, do you understand what it will entail? There is a big difference between needing to redecorate a house than needing a full re-wire, damp proof course, new roof…. This can come at a huge cost and who will do the work? If you’re a DIY buff or work in a trade it’s possible you could learn to love the work and get it completed cheaper than the average buyer, but if the idea fills you with dread then proceed with caution!
- Don’t be pressured by estate agents. The job of an estate agent is to sell their client’s house quickly and for the best price possible. Estate agents are notorious for wanting buyers (especially first time) to walk into viewings holding a ‘decision in principle certificate’ in their hands and will almost always encourage you to see their internal mortgage adviser. Almost always, this will not be fully independent advice. Whilst it is important to co-operate with estate agents, make sure you put yourself first. If you place a competitive offer, an estate agent has a duty to tell their client, even if you’ve not got a mortgage pre-arranged.
- Decide on the type of valuation you want. There are three types; a basic valuation for mortgage purposes, a homebuyer’s report and a structural survey. The first option can sometimes not even involve a visit to the property, a homebuyer’s report is more comprehensive, whereas a structural survey is an ‘all singing, all dancing’ report with full written recommendations. If you have any reservations about the property, if it is old or you’re wary of being faced with unexpected repair costs than a structural survey is most likely the better option. For newer properties these are generally unnecessary, but a good surveying company should give you their honest opinion at quotation stage if a full survey is worth your while.
- Be prepared. Don’t be surprised if your mortgage broker asks you for payslips, paper (not online) bank statements, ID as the very minimum requirements. Depending on your circumstances they may need more. Self-employed applicants will need to understand their accounts!
- Be patient. House purchases don’t complete overnight. There are all sorts of factors that can slow this down but at AEON we ensure our clients are communicated with in order to keep them up to date throughout the process.
- Be available. At AEON we try and accommodate our clients as far as possible, solicitors generally will only work in ‘working hours’.
- Enjoy your new home! AEON provide a complimentary welcome present for any client buying a new property.
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