It used to be that buying a new home was a fairly mysterious process. That’s not the case anymore, and more information is available online than ever (often too much). You can now get insights into every stage of the property buying process, but mistakes can still be made.
You can avoid every one of the most common errors made by first-time buyers — but failing to do so can make buying a home a lot more stressful. So if you’re looking around at properties and considering taking the next steps, here’s what you need to know.
Before you even start to book viewings, it’s always a smart move to get a Decision in Principle first, which indicates how much money a mortgage provider is willing to lend you. In most cases, a Decision in Principle will remain valid for 90 days.
The reason you should get a Decision in Principle is simple. It will help you know your exact budget and prevent you from viewing properties out of your price range. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with your dream home only to find you can’t afford it.
The other reason for getting your Decision in Principle early is it helps you to stand out from the other buyers who haven’t organised theirs yet. That puts you in a much stronger position should you decide to make an offer.
You’ve got your mortgage all lined up, but that doesn’t mean you’ve done all of the maths. The price of a property isn’t the only expense you’re going to encounter, so you need to budget for those costs too. Not doing so is a widespread mistake, especially with first-time buyers.
If you want to avoid nasty financial shocks, you need to know exactly what charges, fees, and taxes you will be liable for. Take the time to sit down and plan out a full budget; factor in your solicitor fees, stamp duty, the price of a removal firm if you plan to use one, and the cost of a property surveyor.
Once you have a good idea of how much it’s all going to cost, you’ll be much less likely to go over your budget — and that can save you a lot of future headaches.
Ignoring the market
Property prices are higher than they have been for a long time and houses are listed for sale for shorter periods as buyers snap up what they can. Some homes are selling in just four to eight weeks. That makes it challenging to find the right home, make an offer, and get it accepted before someone outbids you.
The property market is ever-changing. Keeping an eye on its current state is always a good idea if you want to avoid inflated house prices that may well drop next year. Don’t just look at the national property market. Do a deep dive into how well local property is selling in the area you want to buy in. Find out if prices are getting higher, remaining stable, or dropping. That can lead you to make much more financially savvy decisions.
Narrow down locality
It’s a good idea to narrow down your search criteria geographically. If you start doing property searches for the whole of East Yorkshire, you will get bombarded with options. However, if you narrow your search down to Beverley or York in East Yorkshire, the options become much more manageable.
The key thing to remember here is you aren’t tied to a decision. If it turns out that your narrow search isn’t showing you the kinds of property you’re looking for, you can then start to expand your searches to further afield.
Hiring a solicitor
If you’re buying a new home, you’ll need a solicitor. After all, there will be a lot of legal documents involved in the process. One of the most common house-buying mistakes is to wait until you’ve made an offer on a home before contacting a solicitor. This is a bad decision because it essentially stops them from getting to work on your behalf as early as possible.
One of the big tasks your solicitor will do is conveyancing. It’s one of the more drawn-out parts of buying a property because your solicitor has a lot to do. So get your conveyancing solicitor hired as early into the process as possible so they can start getting everything aligned. This can speed up the house buying process by a lot more than you think and could even save you some of your budget.
While most people will jump online to begin searching for a dream home, remember that’s not your only option. While it’s easier than ever to browse online listings to narrow down your choices, sticking to the same old property portals has the potential to limit the possibilities.
By going offline and contacting estate agents in the area you’re interested in, you can benefit a lot from local experience and knowledge. They may know of properties not yet on the market or ones that exactly match what you’ve been looking for. That information could cut down on the time you spend searching for your new home.
Avoiding house buying mistakes
Despite the rising costs and the lack of supply, buying a new home has never been a more straightforward process. However, the more mistakes you make, the harder it will be to make an offer that gets accepted. So, if you’re a first-time buyer, get advice from the people you know and trust.
When it comes to buying a new home, you want the whole process to be as convenient as possible. Take your time to prepare, plan your budget, and avoid the mistakes listed above. The more you know, the more likely you are to prevent errors and you could be moving into your new home before you know it.