5 tips for buying your first home
Buying a house is generally considered to be a stressful experience, but when it’s your first home, it can also seem a particularly daunting process. Barcan+Kirby’s residential conveyancing team offers some practical advice.
1. Understand the costs involved in buying a property
The price you pay for the property itself is only part of the overall cost involved. When deciding how much you can afford, make sure you’ve considered all of the additional costs and budget for them. These include:
- Legal fees (including searches, Land Registry fees)
- Survey costs
- Stamp Duty Land Tax
- Mortgage arrangement fees
- Costs of moving, i.e. removal van, cleaners
2. Get your mortgage in place early
It makes sense to arrange your mortgage before you start viewing properties. All lenders will be able to give you a mortgage agreement in principal – this lets you know how much you can borrow based on your income and other fixed expenditure.
You should make sure you’re familiar with the different types of mortgages available. A specialist mortgage broker can help you find the most suitable one for your circumstances.
And of course, make sure you have your deposit organised at an early stage, ready for when your conveyancing solicitor requires it.
3. Find the right property for you
Whilst your first property may not be your ‘forever home’, you’re probably going to be there for several years. So it’s important that you research the area where you’ll be living, as well as the property.
When it comes to property, you should arrange to view it more than once at different times. Make notes of any obvious alterations, such as the removal of walls and replacement windows or boiler, and check that the appliances and services are in working order.
If you want to make an offer, online tools, such as Zoopla, can give you an idea of what similar properties in the area have sold for.
4. Ensure the property is structurally sound
If you are taking out a mortgage, a valuation report will be carried out by the provider. However, you should also consider getting an independent survey completed as this will be more extensive and highlight any problems with the property.
You should make sure that the boundaries of the property match the property plan your solicitor will provide you with. It’s essential that you raise any discrepancies.
5. Make sure you’re protected
This will probably be the largest purchase you’ve made, so it’s important that you’re properly protected, not only in terms of the legal ownership but also what happens to your property in the event of your death. This is where advice from your conveyancing solicitor is crucial.
If the property is a joint purchase, you need to decide how you are to hold it. You can hold it as joint tenants, so if one of you dies, the other will automatically inherit their share. Or you can hold the property as tenants in common. Under this agreement, if one of you died, your share would pass under the terms of a will, or the law of intestacy.
After completion, it’s important that you make or update your Will to reflect what will happen to your home in the event of your death.
Buying your first home? Contact our conveyancing solicitors in Bristol and South Gloucestershire
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