5 First Time Home Buying Pitfalls You Must Avoid
Buying your first home is probably one of the most exciting things you will ever experience but can also be a complex process. From applying for a mortgage to sorting out the relevant insurance, there are a number of hoops to jump through and obstacles to overcome before you can get settled in.
To help you avoid any first time home buying pitfalls along the way, we have put together a list of common mistakes first-time buyers make and what we think you can do to overcome them.
Not doing your research
A savvy homebuyer will look at assets, review debts and get pre-approved for finance before plunging headlong into what could be the biggest financial commitment of their life – but it’s not all about figures.
As well as your mortgage, first time home buying involves checking that the house and the neighbourhood you could soon be calling home is somewhere you really want to live. So make sure you pay more than just a fleeting visit and be sure to look for things like crime figures and parking restrictions before you put pen to paper.
“We recommend visiting the area a few times on weekdays and weekends, and at different times of the day. If you have a dog, are there areas close by for walks? If you have young children (or are planning a family) would you have access to play areas and schools? These are important things to think about when choosing your home which can often be overlooked.”
Choosing the wrong mortgage
Plenty of banks offer their own mortgage calculators, which are fine in theory, but there is a big difference between estimating what you might be able to borrow and what banks are prepared to lend you especially if this is your first time home buying.
To put you in the best negotiating position, it’s critical to have your loan pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) before going house hunting and it’s best to shop around to see what is available to you. This is where an independent broker will be able to give you their expert advice so you get the best mortgage on the market.
Stretching your budget
It is a familiar feeling for those first time home buying and among anyone who has ever purchased a property – you think you have found a home that is everything you are looking for but it’s way out of the price range you have set yourself. Do you go beyond your budget?
It is worth remembering that buying a home that is way out of your price range could well derail your finances in the future, such as, if there was a rise in interest rates.
Your mortgage lender will have offered you a borrowing limit for good reason based on your ability to repay the loan so spending more than you can afford could mean that you are exposed to a few nasty surprises, including if your financial circumstances change.
Forgetting to update your insurance
It is worth remembering that from the moment you exchange contracts you are likely to be liable for buildings insurance straight away; meaning that should anything happen to your new home from that moment on, it will be up to you to pay for it.
So make sure any property insurance you have has been fully updated and is ready to cover your new property from the moment you exchange contracts otherwise you could be paying for repairs on a building you have not even moved into yet.
Not employing the services of a reputable conveyancing solicitor
The services offered by conveyancers can vary widely. You should be looking for a specialist who is friendly and who you feel you can talk to, to help guide you through the process, particularly if the going gets tough. Choose someone you trust who will be able to answer your questions. Not all conveyancers will be available on the phone or email if things change, so we recommend you choose a conveyancing solicitor who provides a personal service. The quote may be slightly higher, but the advantage is that you are more likely to get the attention you need throughout the process.
At Hillyer McKeown, our award-winning conveyancing team takes pride in guiding people through the buying process. Feedback regularly mentions that we offered them peace of mind, reducing stress levels when buying their home. We also look for ways to speed up the process where possible, while making sure the purchase is handled right.
What to do next
We are always happy to talk to people buying their first home – we take pride in explaining the conveyancing process in plain language, ensuring each step is covered.