There’s a very good reason why buying a house is consistently voted one of life’s most stressful experiences – the process is often long, complex and with many parties involved, including buyers, sellers, mortgage brokers, solicitors and estate agents. Many people think getting their deposit together is the hardest part – but there are a multitude of other pitfalls which can make the process of buying a house incredibly difficult and stressful. Here’s our Top tips for first time buyers
Don’t delay securing your mortgage Securing a mortgage should be your first port-of-call when you’re house-hunting – not the estate agent! You’ll need to work out how much you’ll be able to borrow so you can better create a budget and a price range for the type of property you’re interested in. More often than not, vendors will choose a buyer who already has a mortgage over one who hasn’t secured one yet – overcome this pitfall by getting your funding sorted first.
Budget for the other costs of buying a home Apart from your deposit and monthly mortgage payments, there are other costs associated with buying a home. These are often over looked. You need to consider the cost of mortgage arrangement and valuation fees, Stamp Duty, Solicitor’s fee, survey cost, removal costs, buildings insurance, initial furnishing and decorating costs. These all add up and can significantly affect how much you can afford to spend on a property.
Choose the right solicitor and instruct them early Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re stuck with the solicitor your agent or mortgage provider has a partnership with. You can reject their services and choose your own, it’s a good idea to ask friends and family for recommendations. It’s also worth noting that cheapest is not always best. In fact the cheapest are often the busiest and most difficult to contact, so usually provide the slowest service. Do not fall into the trap of saving £100 on fees only to make the process more stressful and lengthy for yourself!
Get a second survey Many buyers, especially first-time buyers, have total faith in the surveys provided by their mortgage lenders. It’s important to remember that these are very basic assessments which simply highlight obvious problems and help pinpoint the value of the property. If there are hidden structural issues, electrical faults or other problems, you might not find out until after the keys have been handed over! Always commission a second survey – it could save you a lot of hassle further down the line.
Double-check planning permission and building regulations Be sure to follow up with local councils with issues of planning permission. Some houses will be sold with planning permission for extensions already in place – but the existing plans and terms of the planning permission must be followed to a tee in order to comply with the regulations. For example: if you’re purchasing a house with existing permission for a two-story extension, but you’d only like to build a one-story addition to the property, you’ll need to apply for planning permission all over again. The rules are strict and stringent – but they’re in place for a reason, so be sure to play by them at all times when considering adding to a property.
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