The First-timer’s Checklist

Added on June 22nd 2017

It’s an exciting time when you’re about to buy your first property and you can easily rush into things or overlook vital steps, so here’s a quick checklist to help you along.

Pin down how much you can borrow

It’s easy, especially if you’re a newbie, to get carried away and set your sights on a house just outside your budget. You will live to regret this when those monthly mortgage payments kick in – for the next 20 years… Be realistic (for “realistic” read “brutal”) with yourself and stay within budget.

Get to know the area

If it’s a new area, read the local papers, join the local Facebook groups, get to know the local issues, connect with any groups you may be interested in. It’ll help your transition.

Read crime reports

Look at crime stats to see how many car thefts, break-ins and other crimes have been committed recently. Hopefully you’ll find it reassuring.

Find out what there is to do

You’ll need to look for parks, hobby groups, historical paces, play centres and coffee shops, among lots of others things!

Visit at night

Neighbourhoods can change at night – a busy area may become Sleepy town once everyone’s settled in for the night. Alternatively, it may come alive and be more vibrant than you imagined (which may or may not be a good thing). You might also notice parking issues or gangs of teenagers.

Do a trial commute

The new house is great, you can really see yourself in there, doing the school run and the commute day after day…after day… This may prove to be a real drag, so do a few commute trials at different times of day to see if there’s anything that you can’t live with, like congestion.

Do smart viewing

Of course, you need to view a house – you need to make sure the place is safe, to work out what improvements need to be made, how much storage there is and so on.

You also need to think smart – is the new pain covering damp? Did you try the taps? How’s the insulation? If you like a property, revisit it at another time and bring an objective person who can see flaws you’ll be blinded to.

Find out as much as you can

Speak to the vendors as much as possible – ask about potential problems, the history, the neighbours and so on.

Play it cool

You should keep your enthusiasm to yourself – get your poker face on and you’ll keep the upper hand when it comes to the negotiations. Make as if you can walk away anytime.

Budget for extras

The asking price isn’t the end of it! There’s legal fees, Stamp Duty, removal fees, new keys, new white goods, the cost of replacing furniture if it doesn’t fit…the list goes on. Be prepared!

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