Buyers Guide

Considerations when finding your first home

Homebuyer's Handbook

Buying a first home is a huge step for a person or couple to take and for some, the prospect can be quite daunting. When finding the right home, there are lots of important factors to contemplate such as if the house suits your job/lifestyle, whether you’ve budgeted accordingly, and what questions you should ask the agent or current home owner

Credit reference agency Equifax has produced a free, downloadable Homebuyer’s Handbook to help first time buyers in these areas. The handbook also has further information on the mortgage and legal process, house hunting and the positive/negative factors of a credit report as well as checklists for the mortgage process and for moving home.

Here’s some of the advice from it for when starting the house hunt:

Before you start looking for your home

Once you’ve decided to start hunting for a home, a major factor is how the location you’re looking at will fit into your current schedule and lifestyle. Some of the factors to consider would include:

  • How long will it take you to get to and from work?
  • Are there nearby public transport links?
  • How hard will it be to get home after a night out?

It’s also vital to think to the future and how significant events could have an impact on your plans to buy a home:

  • Is your current job secure?
  • Do have elderly or disabled relatives that you want to be near to?
  • If you have children, will it be near to schools?

Questions to ask when looking at a home

When looking at properties, it’s good to list in advance what questions you should ask the estate agent or current owner about the house and the area it is in. That way, you don’t forget to ask the important questions when you can. Here are some examples that the handbook lists:

  • How long has the property been on the market? (longer than three months may mean that you can place a lower offer. It can also indicate problems with the property)
  • How long have the owners lived there? And why is the owner moving? (a short period may indicate issues with the house or area)
  • Are the neighbours noisy? (if the seller has lodged complaints against their neighbours, when asked, legally the seller has to tell you)
  • What type of heating system does it have? When was the boiler last checked and how old is it?

Budgeting for the move

As much as it’s a pain for many of us, working out your day to day expenses is essential when calculating how much you’ll need for your monthly mortgage repayments. The handbook has a ‘Living Expenses Budget Plan’ (Page 7) with a list of factors that prospective first time buyers can use for this.

Another vital part of your budget plan will be the one-off expenses that come with moving home such as:

  • The deposit (Around 10-20% of the home’s value)
  • Fees for:
    • Mortgage Arrangement
    • Estate Agents
    • Legal (either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to transfer ownership of the home)
    • Stamp Duty
    • Survey & Home Valuation

There are also the ‘physical’ costs of moving home including:

  • Moving Services: if you’re going to use a removal man or men, it’s best to estimate how long you’ll need them for and the size of van that you’ll need. That way you can get an accurate quote for their services to consider in your budget.
  • Decoration/repairs: you’ll be lucky if you find a house where you won’t want to change or fix anything!
  • Furniture/appliances: Will you be taking the old sofa and fridge to the new house or is it time for a change?

To download your free copy visit Equifax

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