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What to avoid as a first-time buyer

Buying your first home is really exciting but it can also feel like a minefield with so many things to think about and do. Here, we’ve given you a list of what to avoid to make the whole process run smoothly so that purchasing your first property is as rewarding as it should be.

Don’t look at properties until you know how much you can afford

This may seem like an obvious statement but many first-time buyers miscalculate the amount they can realistically afford for a mortgage, get excited about the prospect of owning their first home, view and fall in love with a property, only then to find it’s beyond their financial reach.

It’s essential to speak to a broker first and get a mortgage in principle before you start viewing properties. There are many costs involved with a mortgage and the amount you can borrow depends on your circumstances. Your broker will know the market inside out and be able to advise you correctly so that you can secure the best mortgage deal to suit your needs.

Once the mortgage in principle is in place, you can be sure that the properties you view are within your price range and that you are eligible for a mortgage so you won’t be disappointed at the next stage.

Avoid the temptation to pay more

You may want to push your finances to get your dream home and it might initially seem easy to commit to more money each month if you make cutbacks elsewhere. But a mortgage is a long-term commitment and having to cut back on the spending you’re used to or having to ‘find’ that extra money from somewhere else each month is a burden that can hamper your lifestyle. Remember that if you’re unable to make your monthly mortgage payments, you risk your home being repossessed.

Resist the urge to make multiple mortgage applications

You might be tempted to research what types of mortgage deals are available and apply for them yourself to see what offers you can get. Doing this actually harms your chances of getting a good mortgage deal because your credit report records every mortgage application made, which lenders can see, and this can be detrimental to your credit rating. Multiple applications in a short period of time may also raise flags that fraud is being committed. Having a bad credit rating makes it harder to get a mortgage so let your mortgage broker deal with your mortgage application when you’re ready to proceed.

Don’t skip the survey

A property survey is essential to check the condition of the property you want to buy. It highlights any structural issues and alterations that you might not be aware of when viewing the property.

When buying a period property, no matter how much you love the features, you need to remember that the property is old and will require maintenance. A structural survey lets you know exactly how much ongoing work you’re looking at to keep it safe and retain its character.

While it’s another cost for you to make at the start of your purchase process, it can save you money in the long run and will give you peace of mind. If you dismiss the need for a survey, you may regret it in the future if huge works need carrying out and you’re faced with ever-increasing bills.

Refrain from rushing the process

You’re excited about buying your first home and it’s very tempting to start looking at properties, to make an offer and to get the ball rolling with the paperwork. Preparation is key, though, and there are important steps to follow before you rush into viewing properties.

It can also seem frustrating that the whole process from finding your dream home to picking up your keys can take so long but it’s essential that thorough checks are carried out, both on your financial capabilities and the property, to ensure you don’t encounter problems in the future.

As long as you’ve taken steps to get a mortgage in principle before you start viewing properties, this prevents any nasty surprises later on when you’ve seen a property you love but then realize you can’t get the right mortgage. Having your mortgage in principle shows a vendor that you’re serious about buying and that you already have the finances ready to purchase his or her property.

Take your time to find a property you love. Don’t be impatient that it’s taking too long to find one and settle for second best. Remember, this is a huge financial commitment and you’ll more than likely have your first home for many years so avoid rushing and make sure you find the property that’s right for you.

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