If you're a regular reader of the blog then you may have seen the videos we've made about moving out. In the last video we told you we'd actually bought a house so we thought we'd pass on some of the things we'd learnt along the way when house hunting for your first home. Settle down because it's a biggy!
1. House hunting for your first home is one of the most exciting things you'll ever do but before you get swept up sit and think about what you really want, what's important to you and what you're willing to compromise on. We didn't think location was that important to us but we very quickly learnt that for us, it should have been right at the top of our list.
2. Carefully consider how much you can realistically afford to do to a house in terms of renovations and decorating. We've been extremely lucky in that the house we've bought doesn't need a massive amount doing to it although there are some projects we want to take on. We knew that we didn't want anywhere that needed major work doing to it because of our budget and because we've waited so long to move in together we didn't want to spend years sorting out a house.
3. If you can afford to use an independent financial advisor/mortgage advisor (as in one you pay for, not one that works for a bank). We'd never even thought about this as an option until we had a free consultation with a mortgage advisor. Looking back now I think choosing to pay for a mortgage advisor is the best thing we've done. I honestly don't know how we could have gone it alone. He found us an excellent mortgage, has sorted a multitude of problems out for us, checks any paper work we get from solicitors etc, is always there to reassure us and has even acted as the go between for negotiating the offer we put in on the house. He has been an absolute star throughout the whole process.
4. When working out your budget make sure you factor in everything you're going to be paying for and on top of that make sure there's money left over for any unexpected costs. As an indication here is a list of everything you need to budget for:
- Buildings and contents insurance
- Gas/electricity bills
- Water bill
- Mortgage protection insurance (if you decide to have it, we recommend you do)
- TV License
- TV subscriptions such as Sky/Netflix/Now TV etc
- Phone bills
- Grocery shopping
- Council tax
- Stamp duty (if you're buying a property worth over £125,00)
- Solicitors fees
- Mortgage advisor/financial advisor (if you use one)
- Valuation and homebuyers report fees
5. Once you have a house price in mind and you know you can get a mortgage for that price try to aim lower so you can save on mortgage repayments. Yes you want a beautiful home but you also have a life to live and to do that you'll need some spare cash every month. It's never wise to go to your absolute maximum, no one wants to be working just to pay bills.
6. Having everything in place before making an offer will put you in a much stronger position against other people. By this we mean have your finances in order, have a mortgage offer in principal, know which solicitors you will be using and notify them to get them on board. If all this is in place a seller is more likely to go with your offer over a competitor who doesn't have all this in place because the process can start much quicker then.
7. If you've found a house you love go for multiple viewing and check out the area at different times in the day. An area may seem quite early afternoon but by the evening it could be totally different. You also need to view the property in daylight so if you've had an evening viewing try and get one for early in the day the second time around.
8. And finally when you've found your perfect house have a figure in mind that you're willing to go up to before making an offer. For your first offer you want to be making a low enough offer that doesn't offend the seller and shows your serious but that still gives you room for negotiation. Obviously how much you offer depends on how much work the house needs doing to it too. Aim for between £5,000 - £8,000 less than the asking price for your first offer if nothing major needs doing.