Looking for a house can be a very daunting task, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer. Even if you’ve done it before, it takes up a lot of time, a lot of energy and can be very stressful too. Some of the things to remember are quite obvious, and if you’ve made a list of things, they might be on there; however, others are factors which you might not have even considered prior to reading this.
Remember What’s Important
You might value a large garden, a separate utility room and four bedrooms, but don’t let appearances and added bonuses take over. It’s important that you remember what the priorities are, and these should include things like whether the home is in good condition, the price and the area. Make a list with your partner or the other people you will be living with. Decide together the features that are most important to you as a group. Be aware that it’s highly unlikely to find everything that everybody wants in just one house, so be prepared to compromise in some areas too. You could even rate each feature out of 10 and then cross off the factors which get a “low rating”.
Keep Track of the Homes You’ve Visited
At first, it’ll be really simple. You may have only viewed three or four houses, and you’ll be able to remember each one and the distinctive features in each property. However, after a week or two of house-hunting, you might forget which house had that enormous master bedroom, or which one had the island in the kitchen, and it’ll become even more hard work contacting different home owners and trying to track down the house you’re trying to find. Make a quick list of the homes you’re going to view, and as you view them, write down a few quick details about the house. These should include pros and cons and anything else you wish to remember about the property.
Don’t Rush through the Houses
Remember that you’re not having a nice tour through a building – you’re inspecting and viewing a house which you could potentially be living in for a very long time. Don’t concentrate on the nice décor and the flowers in the garden – if you don’t keep on top of this, it won’t look as nice anyway! If you go all the way through a house and you’re quite satisfied, start again and go through the house again. It’s amazing what you’ll notice the second time around that you’d never seen as you walked through it the first time.
It’s a good idea to have at least one other person with you as well – take a family member if you’re buying a house alone, and if you’re buying it with a partner or house mate, ask that person to come along too. If you’re still very interested in the house the next day when you’ve thought about it and had a chat with any other people who are buying the house with you, you could even arrange to have another viewing of the house. Never feel like you’re putting the home owners or estate agents in any trouble or hassle by asking to see the house multiple times – you’ll be spending a lot of money and time on the house and it’s important to make sure it’s perfect for you.
Research Mortgages and the Financial Aspects
While you’re busy house-hunting, don’t forget about all the other important things which need to be done behind the scenes. Unless you have enough money to buy the house yourself (which is unlikely if you’re a first-time buyer), you’ll need to get a mortgage or borrow the money from somewhere. Because of this, you should research mortgages thoroughly and ask your parents and older people for some advice. You need to make sure that you understand interest rates, terms and conditions of a mortgage and how it works.
You should also be aware that you need to put down a deposit (usually 5-10% of the house price) before the bank will lend you the money. Because of this, you need to be saving up for a house for a few years before you actually buy one, but it doesn’t hurt to do some house-hunting beforehand to get some experience and get an idea of what you’re looking for. You should never go to a short-term money lender or other loan company in order to get the money for your deposit, but if you do find yourself in a lot of debt, look into software which can help you to consolidate and manage your finances. If you can’t decide which ones to choose, there are plenty of top 10 reviews that you can read from users who will help you out.
Take Some Photographs around the House
You’ll need to ask permission for this, but if you tell the home owners why you want to take pictures, they shouldn’t have any problems with it. The reason why it’s so good to take pictures is because memories in your mind will fade easily, and you might find that you’ve forgotten how large a room is, how shiny the bathroom was or how tall the trees in the garden were. If you can give the photographs names too (and you’re a very organized person!), you could even create folders on your phone or computer for the different houses.
This will greatly assist you when it comes to short-listing the homes and making your final decision, since it’ll be like looking at the houses and deciding which you liked best. Memories of being inside the property will also come back much easier, and you’ll remember things that you might otherwise have forgotten. You could even take a few panorama shots if you have that features on your phone or tablet – this gives you a much better overview of the entire room and saves you having to take several pictures and try to remember the size of the room.
Don’t Forget to Bring in a Surveyor
Since this will cost you money, you should only do this for the houses that you’re seriously considering buying. Once you’ve short-listed the houses, look at them again and then find the top two or three that you like best. If you really can’t make the decision, hire a surveyor to look at each one of them (but remember – the more houses, the more cost). A surveyor will be able to look high and low and tell you of any problems with the property, including things such as rotting wood, leaks and damp areas.
This may help to narrow it down even more for you, because if one of the houses has a problem, you might be reluctant to purchasing it. However, if all houses are fine, you could make the decision based on price, location or by listing all the advantages and disadvantages of the properties and seeing which one appears to be the best suited to you. It’s definitely worth hiring a surveyor, even if there’s just one house that you definitely want to buy, since the surveyor can discover any issues.