Buying your own home is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your whole life. It will also likely be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so you shouldn’t take it lightly. The process itself involves a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy, which can make it very stressful for first-time home buyers.
When buying your first home, any mistake you make can cost you a lot, no matter how small it may be. At the same time, you could save a lot of money by making informed choices along the way. To help ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, this article offers an informative, step-by-step guide to buying your first home.
1. Decide If Buying Is Right for You
Although most people dream of owning their house, buying one isn’t always the best decision. Even if it seems like you can afford it, there are other things to consider, like the upfront costs, mortgage repayments, and relocation costs. In addition, moving house can prove difficult, so if you’re not ready to tie yourself down to a single location for the foreseeable future, you should consider renting instead.
2. Determine Your Budget
Once you’ve decided that you want to buy a house, you need to calculate your total budget. This will include all the upfront costs, stamp duties, legal fees, and broker fees, as well as the cost of the property itself. If you’re taking out a mortgage, you will also have to factor in your lender’s arrangement fee and the interest rate on your monthly repayments. If you realise you need more money than what you have available, you can get up to £1,000 per year free if you open a Lifetime ISA (individual savings account).
3. Start Looking for a Property
As soon as you’ve sorted your finances and chosen the neighbourhood where you would want to live, it is time to start looking for a house to buy. Many people choose to sell a house online, so you’ll find plenty of listings on the internet. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can also find highly qualified yet cheap online estate agents that can give you money-saving tips and point you to affordable neighbourhoods.
4. Book a Viewing
While it is certainly much easier to find potentially interesting properties online, you should never buy one without seeing it in person. Once you’ve narrowed down the list of houses you are interested in, book viewings for each of them before making your final decision.
5. Make Your Offer
As soon as you’ve found a perfect house to buy, you should make an offer to the estate agent. You might be asked to pay a small deposit fee – typically no more than £500-1,000 – to show that you are serious about purchasing the property. If the sale falls through, you will get your deposit back. Be persistent, though – if the seller rejects your first offer, keep making new offers until you’ve reached an agreement.
6. Hire a Conveyancer
With the seller willing to transfer their property to you, you should hire a conveyancer or a solicitor to take care of all the legal matters. They will handle all the paperwork, consult with local authorities, and contact the local Environment Agency to ensure that there are no problems with the property. In doing so, they will lay the legal groundwork for the seller to transfer ownership of the property to you.
7. Exchange Contracts with the Seller
Your purchase of the property becomes official the moment you pay your deposit (usually no more than 10% of the total value) and exchange contracts with its current owners. Before that, you and the seller will have to agree on a completion date, usually about a month after the exchange. If for any reason you decide to get out of the purchase after you have exchanged contracts, you will likely forfeit your deposit.
8. Finalise the Sale
After you have exchanged contracts and your solicitor has arranged the final details of the sale, it is time to make it official. That happens on the day when your conveyancer transfers the funds to the seller’s account and their conveyancer transfers the deeds of the property to you. Once that is done, you can collect the keys to your new home and take possession of the property as its rightful owner.
Although renting a home instead of buying one might seem more financially feasible, buying may prove cheaper in the long run. Not only that but buying a house is also an excellent investment opportunity. If you renovate the property or make certain changes to it, you can add to its market value.
When you eventually decide to sell your property online, you can team up with Doorsteps. Our team will provide all the help you need to ensure that you earn more than what you originally paid for your house.