26 Jun 6 things to remember when buying your first home in East Finchley
Are you in the enviable position of having saved enough to be able to afford your first home? Congrats, you are well and truly ahead of the curve. Time was that every aspiring twenty-something was searching the property market for their first purchase, possibly even their first investment, but today it’s a very different world. Post-2008 crash it’s been far more difficult to afford to be a first-time buyer, but no less desirable. So, if you have the means to buy, it’s all the more important that you know how to do so by minimising unnecessary costs and maximising the funds you have left over for making the home you buy, a home of your own.
Therefore, here are our six top tips to buying your first home for aspiring first-time buyers.
1. Get your mortgage sorted before you go looking
There is nothing wrong with jumping on your favourite property portal to look at what’s out there, but if you are serious about buying your first property it’s important to get your mortgage sorted first. This is for three important reasons:
- If you haven’t got a mortgage offer in principle, then you don’t know what you have to spend, meaning you will waste time falling in love with properties you can never afford, which makes it far more difficult to fall for one in your price bracket.
- Having a mortgage offer puts you in a better negotiating position, helping you to beat competing bids at the same or similar figures, as you’ve proved that you are both more serious about buying and more ready to proceed.
- It will avoid delays later on in the process – buying a property can take time, often three months or more, so you do not want anything to lengthen the process unnecessarily.
2. Go to ALL the agents
When you’re looking for your first home your options may be limited by your budget, so expand them:
- Go to all the agents in your chosen area – both the ones on the high street and those online.
- Develop personal relationships with individuals within those agencies as this will mean you are top of their mind when a new property comes onto their books.
- Stay in touch, be friendly and provide them with all the information they’ll need to know what your ideal first home will look like.
- Ensure that they know you are in an ideal buying position – you have your mortgage in place, you’ve nothing to sell and you can move quickly – this means they know their vendor will get a quicker sale (and they’ll receive a quicker commission).
3. Don’t forget all the additional costs
First-time buyers often forget about all the costs of buying and moving, meaning many realise that they don’t have the funds to move some way through the process. A basic list will include:
- Deposit – often determined by lender and/or vendor’s solicitor.
- Stamp Duty – a government tax we all need to pay.
- Mortgage Valuation Fee – the fee you’ll be charged by your lender’s surveyor to assess the value of the home you wish to buy so they can determine whether to lend to you and how much.
- Solicitors – they will charge a fee for their own services and there will be additional costs they will pass on to you, such as Land Registry and search fees, known as disbursements.
- Removals – you may not have much to move but if it’s more than you can fit in your car, you’ll need to get some help from a professional.
- What about when you move in? You might have the cost of an initial deep clean, a garden ‘tidy up’ and tree surgery, white goods purchases, new carpets, curtains or blinds (sellers often take theirs), a lick of paint, wardrobes, and more.
4. Moving quickly can reward
As already mentioned, the better your buying position the better your negotiating position. This means both against competing bids and in your offer on the property in the first place. Most sellers will recognise that not all buyers are serious, and not all serious buyers have actually got the means to follow through with their purchase. So, if you as a buyer can evidence that you are both serious and have the means to proceed, this will ensure that your offers will be taken seriously, possibly enabling you to negotiate the price down and even to beat better offers from competing buyers who have not evidenced the quality of their buying position.
5. Your survey may be worth a small fortune
Some buyers will use any little issue that’s been highlighted in the survey as an excuse to renegotiate the deal. We are not advocating that at all. However, genuine and significant issues should be discussed and if the problems will require large additional sums to put them right when you move in, then this is certainly a legitimate reason to go back to the vendor and ask them to contribute to these costs. They may not always agree, but it is worth asking.
6. Get yourself a great builder
Whether it’s to resolve issues highlighted in a survey, to personalise your first home, to remodel it to better suit your lifestyle or to future-proof it by expanding upwards into a loft conversion or outwards with a side or rear extension, it’s important to have a great builder on your side. A great builder will provide you with their opinion of the importance and cost of issues exposed by the survey and they will be available to make suggestions and price up any little (or big) jobs you might otherwise put to one side on the assumption that they will be too expensive to undertake.