Save those pennies! Today’s deposits range from 5 to 20% and, in order to acquire this deposit, some devoted economising is demanded. First and foremost, eliminating any unnecessary outgoings is a must; goodbye wild nights out down your local. Account for all your expenditure, from petrol and food to credit agreements and any other outstanding bills. It may be worth creating a spreadsheet to keep track of where your largest expenses fall. With your finances in order, the next step is to consider any other costs that may be associated with procuring your humble abode. Factor in survey costs, solicitor’s fees, removal costs, building insurance, kitting out your new home with furnishings, mortgage payments and valuation fees as well as stamp duty. Remember, hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Are you ready? While you must ensure that you are financially prepared to commit to purchasing your very own home, you must also make certain that you are additionally, on a personal level, emotionally ready to take this leap forward to safeguard your future. Whether going it alone, with a partner, future housemate, or a family member, you all must be of the same mindset when it comes down to the nitty-gritty. Whoever you’re planning to move in with, remember this is a long-term commitment – so not only considering who you move in with, but also the suitability of both the area and house itself. For many couples, this may mean an extra bedroom for the pitter-patter of tiny feet or keeping an eye on the catchment area and Ofsted reports for local schools. For others, this may mean checking out the local amenities to guarantee that your desired area can accommodate all your requirements. Researching your coveted area is vitally important and, if you’re a commuter, it’s best to confirm where your local means of transport is located. If you’re unfamiliar with the area you wish to move to, take day trips to the town or village and investigate the neighbourhood. Look out for open spaces to relax on your days off – there’s a plethora of parkland within the Kent boundary – local restaurants and bars as well as local supermarkets.
Be realistic. Localities aside, your next step is the biggest; the house itself. Sure, we’d all love to live in a 10-bedroom detached country manor house inclusive of tennis courts and an indoor swimming pool, but let’s be realistic, for the majority this isn’t pragmatic. Remember when starting out your search to only look at what you can realistically afford; it’s pointless for first-time buyers to spend hours cooing over a £4m home in Sevenoaks, unless, of course, you are extremely fortunate. Remember when househunting to never judge a book by its cover; what may seem like an inadequate residence from the outside, could prove to be your ‘home sweet home’ on the inside. The best advice is to view a property in person so you can get a feel of the establishment and see first-hand all the nooks and crannies that may not be visible via the internet. It’s also advisable to view as many properties as possible so that you have a diverse selection to choose from and compare. You’ll no doubt have your favourites and may even fall in love with your first or second viewing, but it’s advisable to give them all a chance. Furthermore, returning for a second viewing at a different time of day can cement your decision-making.
Talk to us. When viewing a property, don’t be afraid to ask your estate agent questions. Ask how long the property has been on the market for and make the best use of their expertise. Taking photographs and making notes can influence your decisionmaking, however, check with your estate agent that it’s ok to take snapshots – understandably, some homeowners won’t want their personal belongings documented by a viewer snapping away on their latest iPhone. Alternatively, keeping notes is a great way to document your viewings and will prove invaluable when it comes down to the final choice. Remember buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make, this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, so don’t halfheartedly take a stab in the dark. Take your time, do your research and talk to the experts – after all, that’s what we’re here for.