Buying a home is a major life decision that involves both financial and emotional considerations. It can, of course, be an exciting time as you envision your future in a new home, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming, particularly if you are a first-time homebuyer.

Strive Mortgages has compiled this guide to the main steps when buying a property to help put you on the front.

1. How much can I afford to borrow?

It goes without saying that determining how much you can afford is, of course, an important aspect of the home-buying process. While mortgage providers can provide you with an estimate of how much you may be able to borrow, it’s important to consider your own financial situation and personal preferences as well as what the 

You should take a close look at your current expenses and determine how much you can comfortably afford to spend on your mortgage each month without putting a strain on your finances. This involves taking a close look at your monthly income and expenses.

A good rule of thumb is that your monthly housing costs should not exceed 30% of your gross monthly income. However, this percentage can vary depending on your financial situation, priorities, and other factors.

2. What’s included in the sale?

When buying a home, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what comes with the property before making a purchase.

Here are some examples of fixtures and fittings to check if they are included:

  • Kitchen appliances: This may include built-in ovens, hobs, and dishwashers.
  • Built-in wardrobes and storage units: Check if they are built-in or fitted furniture that will be staying with the property.
  • Light fittings: Make sure to check if the light fixtures are staying, especially if they are unique or custom-made.
  • Bathroom fixtures: Check if the bathroom fixtures, such as the shower, sink, and toilet, are included in the sale.
  • Heating and cooling systems: This may include central air conditioning, radiators, or fireplaces.
  • Flooring and carpets: Check if they are included in the sale, especially if they are custom-made or high-end.
  • Window coverings: This includes curtains, blinds, and shutters.
  • Security systems: Check if the property has a security system installed and if it is included in the sale.

It’s essential to verify what is included in the sale of a property to prevent any future misunderstandings.

3. Am I looking to purchase a property in the right area?

It’s essential to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money in a suitable location. Consider factors such as the property’s proximity to your workplace or the availability of good schools in the area. 

It’s also important to check the neighbourhood at different times of the day to gauge the noise level, traffic, and general atmosphere. Seek opinions from friends and family who may have knowledge of the area. 

You can research crime rates and nearby amenities, such as grocery stores, parks, and public transportation options, to determine if the location is suitable for your lifestyle. 

4. Why are the sellers moving?

While it may seem like you are being nosy, it’s important to ask. It’s one of the common questions to ask because it could be that they are upsizing or downsizing, or it could be that they are moving because of something that may impact you later.

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Whether you’ve just had an offer accepted on a property and you’re ready to go, or you’re simply wondering how much you need to save for a deposit, it’s never too soon to reach out.

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5. Are the sellers suited? 

When buying a house, it’s always a good idea to ask whether the sellers are suited. 

This means finding out whether they have already found a property to move into or whether they are still looking. If they have already found a property, it may indicate that they are motivated to sell quickly, which could work to your advantage during negotiations. 

On the other hand, if they haven’t found a property yet, it could mean that they are in less of a hurry to sell and may be less willing to negotiate on price or terms.

6. How long has the seller lived in the property, and are there any concealed issues that you should be aware of?

Asking a seller how long they have owned the property and if there are any concealed issues is important because it can give you an idea of any potential problems that may arise in the future. 

If the seller has owned the property for a short time, it may indicate that there are issues that they were not willing to deal with. Similarly, concealed issues may not be immediately visible and can become costly and time-consuming to fix later on.

7. How long has the property been on the market, and how much interest has it had? 

Asking how long a property has been on the market and how much interest it has had can provide insight into the property’s condition and price. 

If the property has been on the market for a long time with little interest, it may suggest that there are issues with the property or that the price is too high. On the other hand, if the property has been on the market for a short time with a lot of interest, it may suggest that the property is in high demand and could potentially sell quickly

8. How do I decide which survey to select?

It is important to consider the condition and age of the property, as well as any specific concerns you may have when deciding what type of survey to get. A RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) surveyor is recommended to ensure a thorough and professional inspection of the property.

 The RICS offers different levels of surveys, such as a HomeBuyer Report or a Building Survey, depending on the complexity of the property and the level of detail required. It is always recommended to get a survey done before buying a property to identify any potential issues and avoid unexpected expenses in the future.

9. What should I look out for when the survey has been completed?

It is worth considering surveyors who offer additional support with your surveys, as some larger companies may simply send you a report without any further advice or assistance. 

Other surveyors may be more willing to talk you through the report and answer any questions you may have or even visit the property with you to address any concerns. Some surveyors also use a traffic light system in their reports, where green indicates that no work is required, amber indicates work that is not essential but recommended, and red indicates essential work that needs to be carried 

10. Are there any problems with the neighbours?

It’s important to check if there are any issues with the neighbours. You can do this by visiting the property at different times of the day or, if you’re feeling brave, by introducing yourself to the neighbours and asking their opinions of the area. 

Have there been any planning permission applications submitted for nearby land or properties?

When buying a property, it’s important to check if there are any planning applications in the local area. This can give you an idea of any potential developments or changes to the area that could affect your enjoyment of the property or its value. 

You can check for planning applications with the local council or through their website. It’s also a good idea to check for any recent developments that have been approved or are currently under construction in the area, as this can give you an idea of the direction the area is moving in.

And lastly 

Don’t get swept up by the house and its features without thinking about the practicalities. Consider whether there is enough room for storage and whether the layout of the house suits your needs. 

Think about the location of the property and whether it is convenient for your daily routines, such as commuting to work or dropping children off at school. Consider the maintenance required for the property, both inside and outside, and whether you are willing and able to keep up with it. 

Finally, think about the potential for the property to increase in value in the future and whether it is a good investment for your financial goals. If you’re looking for a mortgage as a first-time buyer, get in touch with our mortgage brokers at Strive today.

For more info on first-time buyer mortgages, please contact a member of the Strive team, by emailing or call us on 01273 002697.