The mistakes made by first-time buyers are too numerous to mention in a single article. House buying is a minefield, and it’s normal to make a few mistakes along the way. But knowing what those mistakes are before you buy your first property should help you to secure the home of your dreams without too much stress and hassle.
The main aim is to find a suitable house in a desirable area for a great price. This challenge might sound easy, but it rarely is. And if you don’t have prior experience, you might be in for a tough time.
But worry not! We’re here to help you navigate your first home buying experience. Avoid the following mistakes, and you shouldn’t run into too many difficulties.
1. Not checking your credit score
You can save yourself an awful lot of time by checking your credit score before you start looking for mortgages. The last thing you want is to put yourself through an application process you can never complete. And if you know that your credit score is less than perfect, you can limit your search for mortgages that cater to situations like yours.
2. Not identifying your priorities
Among the most common mistakes made by first-time house buyers is a failure to identify property priorities from the outset. If you simply start bidding on homes you like, you may end up making a huge mistake. Consider the following questions:
- Do you need to live near your place of work?
- Do you need good transport links nearby?
- Do you want a big garden?
- Do you prefer open-plan living?
- Do you need off-street parking?
- How many bedrooms do you need?
- What’s your budget for renovations?
Get these priorities clear in your mind, and you can fine-tune your property search for success.
3. Not getting your mortgage arranged first
How do you know you’ll get the mortgage you’ll need if you haven’t been approved? Save yourself a lot of time and heartache by getting pre-approved before you start putting in bids. This way, you’ll know exactly how much you can spend. Whittle your prospective homes down according to your budget, and you won’t be left embarrassed further down the line.
4. Aiming for the very top of your house buying budget
So, you got a surprisingly high mortgage offer that expanded your options significantly. Don’t make the mistake of looking for houses at the very top of your range. Judge houses by their merits rather than their price-tag. And don’t forget that there are plenty of hidden costs involved in buying a home. Once stamp duty, fees and legal costs are factored in, the cost of buying your first home could be way higher than you bargained for.
5. Buying with your heart
Of course, there’s always going to be an emotional aspect to buying a first home. After all, this is going to be your refuge from the outside world for quite some time. But don’t get overly attached to any particular house during your search. Try to take an objective approach to property buying. Is it big enough? Can you afford the repairs and renovations? What’s the school like?
While your preferred home might look how you imagined it, there’s far more to consider. Be practical and pragmatic. If it’s not going to serve your needs on a day-to-day basis, move on to the next option.
6. Not getting a survey
Understandably, you want to get into your new home as quickly as possible. But failing to carry out the necessary structural checks could backfire spectacularly. Once the house becomes yours, any defects become your responsibility. And that can be a very expensive mistake.
If you’re getting a significant mortgage, the chances are your lender will insist on a comprehensive survey. This will look for everything from damp in the walls to movement in the foundations. But if you don’t need a large mortgage, you may have the option of saving a few pounds by skipping the survey. This is a huge risk, and it’s just not worth taking.
Buying your first home should be fun and exciting. But don’t get too carried away with the romance of it all. Proceeding with caution maximises your chances of a successful first purchase.
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