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How to buy your first home: Five things to consider

Being a first time buyer can be really tough in the current market, but there are lots ways you can get your foot on the first wrung of that property ladder. A first home buyer can look into home buyer loans and mortgages, and even buy to let schemes in order to buy a house. However, it’s not all about the money (although that does help!). There are number of other options to consider when buying a home, and we’ve narrowed them down to just five. You’re welcome!  

1) Be prepared
When buying a house for the first time, it is vital that you are prepared and have asked all the right questions, especially the following three:

i) How badly do I need to buy? Asking that question early on is not a problem, but later down the line when the seller has accepted your offer, it is. If you’re buying a house with a partner, can you both commit to something that is long-term, life-changing and expensive?
ii) What type of home do I need? 
Don’t think about the here and now, but what your home can provide in two or three years time. Is the house near transport links and shops? Is it in a good area? Are you looking for a flat or a house? There are many pros and cons for both, so it’s always a good idea to weigh up both options.
iii) What can I afford?
 Almost all first time buyers need help in the form of a mortgage when buying a property. It is essential you can repay this loan back, so spend some time working out whether you can afford this on top of utility bills, credit cards, council tax and any other outgoings you have. It is extremely hard for first time buyers to get on the property ladder and there are options out there to help you afford to do it, be it buying a property with a friend or relative, or even through a HomeBuy scheme. However you decide to do it, research your options and make sure you understand 100% what you’re doing.  

2) Look for the right estate agent With so many people wanting to buy, the demand for an estate agent to tell you when a property you like has come up to sell is far greater than he is able to reach to. So how do you make sure you get that call and become a ‘hot prospect?’

i)  Leave your property requirements with as many agents as possible. Visit rather than call or email, as you’ll be remembered.
ii)  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It shows that you’re keen, interested and want to know more.
iii)  Take an interest in your agent. They would much rather do business with someone they like and feel comfortable with, rather than someone who treats them like another salesman. 

3) Arrange an appointment It’s no secret that people like nosey-ing around other people’s properties. It’s fun, exciting and is the best way to help you come to a decision. Visit three or four properties a day, making notes as you go along ad never rely on a single visit. Top tips include:

i)  Avoid going in the dark as not only does it mean you’ll see less, but the property can look unappealing.
ii)  Go in rush hour if the property is on a main road, so you can hear the level of noise.
iii)  Choose times when neighbours are at home so you can assess the parking situation and noise.

4) Make an offer
Once you have fallen in love with your dream house, it is time to make an offer. As well as being realistic about what you can afford and what the seller will accept, there are four main points the offer process is broken into:

i)  Preparation – a buyer or seller can withdraw at any time. This is usually down to ill preparation at the start and problems occuring that should have been solved in the beginning.
ii)  The offer – Have a figure in mind, but make sure it is not insulting for the seller. Prepare before hand and look around at what other properties in the area are going for.
iii)  Negotiation – Being a first time buyer with no chain and an immediate sale means you’re in a strong position to negotiate; however, be prepared to be potentially gazumped (when a higher offer is made by another buyer and the seller accepts).
iv)  Acceptance – Once your offer has been accepted, before popping open the champagne, check that the property will come off the market and set the wheels in motion by providing your estate agent with your solicitor’s details.  

5) Remain philosophical The buyer may still need to find a property, so your chain won’t be complete. Speak to your solicitor and get them to start the legal work.

For more tips and advice read: Buying a home: the secrets to buying and selling property (£5.99, RightWay) by Paul Jager and Sue Lehmann.