Buying a property that you can call your very own home is every person’s dream. After all, who doesn’t want to own a home of their own? However, the process of buying a home can actually be really daunting. From saving money for a down payment to paying off the mortgage, buying a home is a long-term investment. While the process might not be easy, the end result is always worth it! So, if you are a first-time buyer who is looking to buy your first home, this is the house buying guide that you need to follow.
Decide on a budget
By deciding on a budget beforehand, you will know exactly how much you can afford to spend on your new home. You need to assess your finances and decide on a budget depending on your financial status. Also, by setting a budget, you know exactly how much you can spend on your new home and how much you need to set aside as the down payment. Also, a budget will give you a fair idea of where you should start looking for properties, depending on the average price of a property. So, for example, if you’ve decided that you can get a house in Beckenham based on your budget, then you should start getting in touch with estate agents in Beckenham.
Start saving for a down payment
Before you even start looking at houses, you must start saving for a down payment. You should start putting money aside as the down payment at least 8 to 12 months in advance. After all, how many first time buyers just have thousands of pounds lying around to pay as the down payment? Also, by setting a budget, you will know exactly how much money you need to save every month in order to have a hefty down payment which is always good in the long run.
Work on your credit score
It is essential that you have a good credit score so that you can get approved for a mortgage. The rule of thumb is that you start working on your credit score at least 6 to 8 months before you start looking at potential properties. Pay off all your debts, pay your bills on time, pay off your credit card bills and make sure that you have no outstanding loans. Also, try not to take out any major loan or mortgage during this period as that will affect your credit score.
Apply for a mortgage pre-approval
In this day and age, real estate agents and sellers don’t take buyers seriously until they have a mortgage pre-approval. Basically, a mortgage pre-approval is a statement of approval from a bank or lender. When a buyer has a mortgage pre-approval, it simply means that the bank or lender is willing to give the buyer a mortgage to buy a property. Also, getting pre-approved for the mortgage gives the buyer a fair idea of how much the bank is willing to lend which further helps decide on a budget for the new property.
Hire a real estate agent
If this is your first time buying a property, then hiring a real estate agent is a must. After all, these people are professionals and they are experts in the field of real estate. From house-hunting to negotiating a good deal, from finding the best properties within a given budget to helping with the paperwork, a real estate agent will do it all. It is highly recommended that you speak to multiple real estate agents before hiring the one that you like best. Choose a real estate agent with whom you can communicate freely. You need to hire someone that you trust. After all, the relationship between you and your real estate agent needs to be open and honest.
Know what you want
Make a list of the things that you are looking for in your new home. How many rooms should the property have? What is a deal-breaker for you? What area do you want to live in? Are you looking for a house near a school district? Make a list of must-haves – these are things that you absolutely cannot live without. Then, when you start looking at properties you will be able to refer to your list of must-haves and deal-breakers. However, keep in mind that it is almost impossible to meet all the criteria on your checklist so you need to be a little flexible.
Start the process of house hunting
Once you have given the real estate agent an approximate budget and your preferred choice of areas, it is time to start the process of house hunting. Remember, buying a house is a financial investment so you must not make an emotional decision. Do not fall in love with the first house that you walk into. View multiple houses and make notes about everything that you like and dislike about every property. If you don’t make notes, you might forget certain details after viewing several properties. Then, weigh your options and narrow down on a select few properties. Using this process, you will be able to find a house that meets your requirements and checks off everything on your checklist.
Make sure everything is in order
You should hire a house inspector to thoroughly check the property and make sure that everything is in the right order. Also, you can hire a property evaluator if you feel that you are uncertain of the value of the property. Ask your real estate agent to negotiate a good deal. Remember, the selling price is never fixed and it is always possible to negotiate a deal that suits the seller and buyer. Before finalising the property, make sure that you visit the property a few times just to be sure that you like what you see – after all, buying a house is a long-term investment so you need to be absolutely certain before you sign the deal. Once you feel everything is in order, you can sign along the dotted line.