10 Things to Look for When Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home can be really exciting, but it’s not without its pitfalls. In this article, we’re sharing 10 things to look for when buying your first home.

tips for first time buyers

For a first-time buyer, there can be a lot to get your head around. Solicitors for first time buyers will tell you that it can be overwhelming and, in some instances, lead to higher costs and missed opportunities.

But, there’s no reason why you should get caught out. In this article, we’re sharing 10 things to look for when buying your first home to help you save time, money, and hassle.

1.   Location

It may sound like we’re stating the obvious, but the location of your new home is incredibly important. If you have children, or you’re planning to start a family, you’ll want to check out the local schools before buying a home. You’ll also want to have a wander round the area to get a feel for the amenities such as shops, restaurants, and banks.

2.   Crime

Even within the same city, different areas can have vastly different crime rates. So, it’s a good idea to have a look online to make sure that your potential new home isn’t smack bang in the middle of a crime hotspot.

3.   Be street wise

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When shopping for a new home your focus will, understandably, be on the property you’re thinking of buying, but you also need to look a little further. If other properties on the street are in disrepair or have front lawns filled with unsightly items, this may devalue your property when you come to sell.

This can also be an indication of the type of people that will become your neighbours. So, it’s important to look at the street as a whole rather than just your potential new house or flat.

4.   Storage

Many first-time homebuyers buy fairly small properties in order to get their foot on the property ladder. While this is a necessary and sensible move, you do need to think about storage. A property which has a loft or lots of inbuilt storage space is usually a good buy in order to help you to keep the clutter to a minimum.

5.   Bedrooms

Many first timers are tempted to buy a one-bedroom property in order to keep costs down, but this can actually be a false economy. Have a think about your current life and about your future. For example:

  • Are you planning to start a family?
  • Will you be working from home?
  • Do you have a lot of overnight guests?

Any and all of these things mean that just one bedroom will turn out to be impractical.

6.   Owner of all your survey

When buying a new home, 9% of Brits choose not to have a survey completed on their proposed property. While this may save a few quid initially, it could end up costing you big.

A survey is performed in order to identify any areas of a property which may present a problem. So, it’s essential that you have the potential property surveyed before committing to the purchase.

7.   What’s included?

things to know first time buyers

Many first-time buyers make the mistake of assuming that certain items will be left in the property for them, but this is often not the case. Items such as fridges, washing machines, furniture and even fittings can all be taken by the sellers if they choose to do so. When viewing the property, ask about what will be included – and don’t be afraid to negotiate if appropriate.

8.   A new lease of life

In the UK, most flats and apartments are sold on a leasehold basis. This usually means that you will own the property but not the land it sits on, which you will have to rent through a ground rent fee.

If you’re considering buying a leasehold property, it’s important to check how much is left on the lease. If this figure is less than 50 years, you may struggle to sell it should you decide to move on. It is possible to extend a lease, however, this will involve a further financial investment so you’ll need to make sure that your budget will cover this.

9.   Parking

Disagreements over parking spaces remains one of the most common causes of conflict between neighbours in the UK. It can lead to an extremely unpleasant situation and, sometimes, legal action.

Shockingly, parking disputes in the UK have even resulted in violence between parties – something which should be avoided at all costs. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure that the property will provide adequate parking.

10.  Help to buy schemes

You’ve no doubt seen adverts for schemes which will help you to get onto the property ladder. While some of these can be helpful, you should always make sure that you read all the fine print to ensure that you know exactly what you’re getting into.

The key to first time buying success

Buying a home involves a lot of different processes; all of which can seem complicated if it’s your first time around. As well as doing your research to familiarise yourself with the process, it’s a good idea to secure the services of a property solicitor who will be able to help you navigate the complex and often stressful process of buying your first home.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained property professional. Be sure to consult a property professional if you’re seeking advice about buying a home. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.






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