Being a first time buyer can make a property search seem almost impossible. Where do you even begin? You don’t yet have the expertise and knowledge which comes with buying and owning a home, so it’s natural that you would be confused or worried. But if you follow these tips, you will get your property search off on the right foot.
Know your Must-haves
First off, think about your must-haves for your property. What is the minimum number of bedrooms you would be able to cope with? Do you desperately need access to a train station, or a parking garage? Are you dead-set on a detached property, or could you live with a terrace? Create a list of your absolute must-haves. You can also create an additional list of your wants, but be aware you might not be able to get all of them in one property. Location can also be very important: decide the area in your chosen city or town before you think about looking for property to buy.
Find your Agent
Next, start looking for a good real estate agent. They will be able to help you through the process of finding a property in many ways. One thing they can do to cut down on your search is to use your list of must-haves to create a property alert. They can then send potential properties through to you so that you can review them, and maybe arrange a booking. You can also set up your own alerts on various home sale sites, but of course the real estate agent will know more about where to look and will have alerts from private sales as well.
Talk to the Bank
You might have a figure in mind of how much you can afford, but is it accurate? Try talking to your bank to pre-arrange a home loan agreement. Having your mortgage ready before you buy can be a real advantage. First of all, it means no worrying or hanging in limbo when you make an offer. Secondly, it means you can bid quick on good deals. If you see a home that is priced low, you will be able to get in and bid first – and oftentimes with a low price, the first bid will be accepted, as the owner has a reason to move fast. Of course, you should do your due diligence on the house too!
Do your Due Diligence
How exactly can you do that? By ensuring that there is no problem with the property before you commit to buying it. You should arrange a viewing to look around in person, as the photographs and online description may not tell the whole story. Next, you should try to look for specific problems – like mould, rot, woodworm and other insect infestations, damp, noisy neighbours, and so on. If you’re satisfied, arrange for a contractor to come and inspect the home on your behalf, looking for problems that you may have missed. Once you are satisfied that all is correct, and if you love the property, you will be ready to make an offer.
It’s not easy to find your dream home, and it may take a few tries before you get it right. A house is the biggest investment you will likely ever make, so it’s natural to approach it with caution. However, remember that it’s unlikely you will mess up too badly: if you don’t love living in the property, you can sell it on again and move to a new home when the market is right.