Buying a house can be an incredibly exciting thing. It is, after all, one of the most significant purchases you will ever make. As such, however, it’s also a purchase that should not be made lightly. If you dive in feet-first without doing your due diligence, even the smallest mistakes can lead to massive bills down the line. So, whether you’re looking to climb the property ladder for the first time or make it up to the next rung, these are the home buying essentials you should be considering and the realities you should understand.
Timing – The housing market rises and falls with stunning frequency so unless you are in the business it can be easy to lose track of whether it’s a buyers market or a sellers market. Do your research and if it’s a sellers market right now, perhaps put the process off for a while before the market swings back in your favour if you can.
The area – You might have fallen in love with a particular house, but before you offer the asking price, check the surrounding area and what similar houses have been selling for in that area. Location is also just as important as the house itself, so before you commit to an area, check the neighbourhood out and visit the local pubs and parks. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals too, as they might be your neighbours soon.
Fire safety – You need to know that you’re going to be safe in your new home and that means making sure the property is properly prepared in the event of a fire. Check that smoke ventilation systems can be easily installed and that smoke and fire detectors are also secure and connected to the mains where possible.
True cost – Buying a house is no longer as simple as getting a mortgage and moving right in, there are so many more costs to consider. Not only will there be a valuation fee and various legal fees, but stamp duty (on properties over £125,000), building surveys and repairs, not to mention the actual removal costs and the costs of any new furniture. The added extras can make ups multiple thousands of pounds so always keep that in mind.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – Finally, never be afraid to ask questions when you’re sewing a property. You’ll want a list of questions that you ask every time you view a new house such as how long it’s been on the market, how many (if any) other offers it’s had, why the current residents are moving, how big the chain is and what the local council tax band is. This is just for starters, of course, so ensure you’ve put together your list of home-buying questions before you even contact the estate agent.