Buying your first home is an exciting time. Once you have a home of your own, you can begin to put down roots in a new community and enjoy the freedom that comes from owning a home. To help you find the right home for you, we’ve created an essential checklist for first time buyers that’s full of helpful advice.
1 Learn the Lingo
Do you know your stamp duty from your council tax? If you’re new to the housing market, taking some time to learn the key terms you're likely to see and hear throughout the process can help ensure that the moving experience goes smoothly. If you’re unsure about some of the technical terms you’re likely to hear, “stamp duty” is a Government ‘Land’ Tax (also known as SDLT) that’s paid on top of the purchase price of your new property and land, “equity” is the overall value of the property, minus the mortgage or debt amount and “freehold” is a title which confirms you as the owner of the property and the land it sits on. To save you time, why not talk to one of Stewart Milne Home’s independent financial advisers who can help guide you through the moving process.
2 Calculate Your Budget
Planning a budget in advance will help you narrow down the search for new homes. When you’re working out a budget, don’t forget to include factors such as the deposit, monthly mortgage repayments and moving costs as well as working out how much will go towards living costs and socialising each month. Why not use Money Supermarket’s Budget Calculator to help you prepare for moving into your first home.
3 Prioritise Your Needs
Once you’ve worked out your budget, the next stage is to create a list of what you need and want from your new home. Knowing what your priorities are will help you narrow down the list of potential homes and make the final decision on where to stay. Don’t forget to think about what type of lifestyle you want in your new home; factors such as transport links, proximity to shops or the availability of schools in the area should be included in your list of priorities.
4 Know the Right Questions to Ask
When you’re viewing a property, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Before you visit the property, create a list of important questions that you can take with you on the day of the viewing. Useful questions to ask include:
· Are there any parking restrictions?
· Am I liable to pay stamp duty?
· Is the property energy efficient?
5 Visit Your New Neighbourhood
When you’re searching for a new home location is everything. When you move into your new home you’re also moving into a new community so spend some time in the area to see if you feel at ease in your potential neighbourhood. Visit nearby amenities like cafes, bars, parks and shops to decide if the location is right for you.
6 Match Your Future Home to Your Future Plans
Thinking about having children in the next couple of years? Make sure that your new home fits in with your future life plans. If you’re planning on having children, look for homes with a spare bedroom that you can easily modify into a nursery. A benefit of buying a new build home is that it is decorated in a natural pallet so you have a “blank canvas” to decorate as you choose and easily adapt your decor as your needs change.
7 Photograph Potential Properties
You might need to look at a few potential properties before you find your dream home. When you’re considering your options, it can help to have a visual reminder of what you liked and disliked about the candidates for your first home.
8 Create a Shopping List of Essentials
Before you move into your new home, check what it will already contain and work out which essentials you need to buy for your home before you move. New build homes can save you time and money as they may already have essentials like carpets, kitchen appliances and other fixtures and fittings in place. Don’t forget to put these essentials on any first home shopping list:
· Cups and glasses
· A kettle, teabags and coffee (for when well-wishers stop by!)
· Cleaning products
· Towels and soap
· Bed linen, duvet and pillows
· Light bulbs.
9 Plan your Daily Commute
If you plan on commuting to work, it can be helpful to plan out and test the route before you move into your new home. To get an accurate idea of the commuting experience, try driving through the area at rush hour or testing out the local transport links.
10 Visit at Different Times
When you move into a new home, you’re also moving into a new community. Visiting the home at different times of the day and on different days of the week will allow you to discover what life in the community is like. If you visit the property at different times you’ll discover what the atmosphere is like in your new neighbourhood at the weekend and during busy weekdays.
Start the search for your first home today with Stewart Milne. We have a fantastic range of new build homes that are perfect for first time buyers.
For more advice on buying your first home, take a look at our blog Buying Your First Home – It’s Easier than You Think.