Five Important Tips for First-Time Buyers

New house
Added on June 12th 2015

Five Important Tips for First-Time Buyers

It seems that, for a nation of property-obsessives, we’re surprisingly naïve when it comes to viewing and buying houses. Many potential buyers, especially first-timers, don’t know the ropes when it comes to bricks and mortar. Thankfully, most estate agents are aware of this and advise newbies rather than take advantage of them, but there are a few helpful and basic tips that people can take on board before they even book a viewing.

Buying a house is an emotional decision and it’s easy to fall in love with a property at first sight and overlook hidden problems. These problems will always rear their ugly – and costly – heads at a later date, so buyers need to look beyond that first impression. It means thinking about what you’re prepared to put up with one, two or five years down the line.

Ask the difficult questions

It’s always hard to enter someone’s home and ask why there’s a damp spot on the ceiling, or why a section of wall looks tatty. However, you’re about to make a major investment and you want to get it right. Ask about the neighbours, ask about the plaster, the road noise. The vendors aren’t obligated to tell you about any issues unless there’s been a serious problem with neighbours, so even if they assure you all’s well, do a bit of digging.

Always view a property at least twice, and at different times of day

Morning, mid-afternoon and after dark are the best times to see houses. During the morning and afternoon viewings, have a look at traffic volumes, check for school runs, factory noise and so on. At night, listen out for a noisy pub or club nearby, or look for crowds of surly teens.

Ask if the house is big enough for the foreseeable

So, there’s no physical problems with the house, that’s great. However, if you’re planning a second or third baby, or one of you might need an office in the next few years. Is there loft space to go up into? Is there a box-room, or space for a garden room? Don’t just tell yourself you’ll cope, listen to that little voice at the back of your mind.

Location, location

Check out local shops, schools, workplaces, busy roads, flight paths. Check with the council if that lovely-looking green field opposite is earmarked for a housing development, have a look at crime rates.

Avoid the pressure

A house is likely to be your biggest investment so no-one has the right to rush you or guilt-trip you into buying. Take your time, re-visit, talk to the vendor and the estate agent. If you have to say no, you can always give the vendor constructive feedback to help them in the future.

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