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Tips on buying your first home

Buying your first home - Finding your new home

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You’ve decided to buy your first home but how do you go about finding the right property for you? You will want to make sure that your new home ticks all your priority boxes, the first thing to do is make a list of the essential features that your new home absolutely has to have, such as location. Does it need to be near local public transport links, in a quiet cul-de-sac or in the middle of the town’s active nightlife? How many bedrooms do you need? Then list your nice-to-have features such as off-road parking, an ensuite or even which aspect the property faces. Compiling a list of your essential features and then your nice to have elements will help you to focus your search and should you find yourself in the enviable position of choosing between properties, your nice to have list will help you to narrow down your selections.

Research

Do your research on the area that you are looking to move into, make sure that it is somewhere you would like to live. Look at things like:

1)     Schools

2)     Doctors/dentists and hospitals

3)     Amenities like grocery stores, banks or post office

4)     Crime rates

5)     Things to do like bars and restaurants or local parks

6)     Public transport links

Register with a local estate agent and use on-line services such as Rightmove to help in your search. It is much easier to purchase a property through a reputable local estate agent, as they will be able to help you through every step and give you much valued local knowledge. Make sure you tell the estate agent your rough budget and your feature priorities. The estate agent will then help you find suitable properties and give you the relevant details including pictures and factual data about each property. 

Viewing Properties

You are now ready to start viewing homes. A viewing is typically a quick process, taking on average no more than 15 – 20 minutes, so you need to be prepared with a list of things you want to check. The HomeOwners Alliance has a very good guide to help you prepare for viewings. Make sure you view a few different properties and don’t fall into the trap of placing an offer on the first one you see. Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask to go back and view properties again at different times of the day. 

Making an Offer

Now that you’ve found the home you’ve always wanted it is time to put in an offer through your estate agent. You need to consider what you can afford before putting in an offer and starting the negotiation process. Remember to factor in any aspects you saw in the property which might need to be repaired. Top Tip: before putting in an offer research the local market to see how much similar properties have recently sold for and ask how long the property has been on the market.

Once an offer has been accepted it is not legally binding on either side. Remember, you can still be gazumped which is where the seller accepts another offer from someone else. This typically happens if your offer is low. To try to mitigate this, ask the seller to remove the property from the market so that there will be no new offers.

To keep the process going and to ensure that you don’t lose the property be ready to move as fast as you can to get the financial pieces in place and start the conveyancing process. The next steps will be to Exchange Contracts and finally Completion. Quite often these happen at the same time but there are exceptions. You will need to appoint a Conveyancer and they will be able to advise you on the timescales for these events as they do vary depending on the circumstances of all involved in the sale.

Use a Local Property Expert

Finding your dream home can be a frustrating process and can sometimes take quite a while, but it is worth it. By understanding what your needs are and what you are willing to compromise on and by using a reputable local estate agent you can help the process run as smooth as possible. At Belvoir we have 165 offices located throughout the UK our team of local property experts are on hand to talk you through the process and will do all they can to help you secure your dream first home.

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