What you need to know
Your first step on to the property ladder is one of the most important and daunting purchases you will ever make. The sheer number of mortgage and protection products on the market is dizzying. At Nationwide Independent Consultants Ltd, we understand how confusing and stressful this situation is and we work with you to advise you on the products that are right for you. To help you understand the factors you need to take into account when buying your first home, we have compiled a check list of the top ten questions you should answer.
Top ten questions first-time buyers must ask
1/ Can I afford it?
The first thing you need to do is work out how much you are able to spend on your home. Carry out a budget calculation, but please remember to take into account your expenditure on the home once you have purchased it. New-build houses will still need decorating and furnishing to your taste, while older homes may require some renovation work. Then there are other costs such as stamp duty and estate agents’ and lawyers’ fees. Be really honest and realistic at this stage of the process - you will thank yourself later.
2/ Can I get some help?
When you are looking at buying your first home, take with you someone who has been through the process before. A parent, or a friend, will bring a practised eye to a first or second viewing and can spot things you may miss, or ask questions you will not think of.
3/ What else will I need to pay for?
As well as working out your budget for the purchase of your new home and the cost of making it habitable for you, please bear in mind the ongoing cost of utilities, council tax and repairs.
4/ How much is the council tax?
This is a consideration in its own right because the annual cost of council tax in desirable areas can run into thousands of pounds. Find out from the estate agent or the local authority what band your property is in, and what the annual and monthly bill are likely to be.
5/ What are the schools like?
You will probably have to pay a premium for a property in the catchment area of a well-regarded local school - even if you do not have children. One consolation is that this will make your home easier to sell when the time comes to move on.
6/ Will my car insurance go up?
It is easy to overlook the fact that if you move from a suburban area with off-street parking into an area with a higher crime rate, and no private garages, your insurance premium is likely to rise dramatically.
7/ How good are the transport links?
Do your research into your access to bus and train links, and work out what difference, if any, this will make to your daily travelling time. It is also handy to be able to pass this information on to people who visit you in your new home.
8/ What local amenities are available?
Everyone has different things they like to do in their spare time. Whether you need to be close to shops, cinemas, pubs, gyms, places of worship or sports clubs, take some time to stroll around the area near your new home and find out what it has to offer.
9/ Will I be connected?
With more and more people working from home, and spending their leisure time online, it is important to know that the broadband or fibre internet service to your new home is as good as you need it to be. Do some research and speak to the estate agent too.
10/ What is the commute like?
If you are moving home but staying at the same place of work, your journey to the office will be changing. This is an important consideration, given the cost of commuting into a big city like London. Work out how much more expensive, or cheaper, your commute is going to be, and look into the distance to your nearest station or bus stop.
What our customers say about us
“My wife and I were first-time buyers and pretty clueless about the whole buying process. Maria put us at ease straight away and helped to explain everything. Katie and Maria were very efficient and did a great job in getting responses from third parties and the sellers. We will definitely be using their services on our next move, whenever that might be. We couldn't recommend them highly enough!”