Buying a home, or even just investing in a property, is a big commitment and one that needs careful planning in order to get the best outcome! In the early stages, it’s best to agree on some sensible guidelines to help you keep things on the right track.
Start with what you can afford. Not just in terms of the mortgage and fees, but any improvements needed in the property and a contingency budget just in case. It is rare for the house-buying process to be plain sailing all the way, so being prepared to navigate choppy waters is essential. Do your research and your sums and get some professional advice from more than one source – research in advance could save you in the long run.
Another thing to consider is the time it takes between setting your heart on a property to moving into it. This can be wholly unpredictable for many reasons, taking anything from two months to well over a year. You need somewhere to live during this uncertain time.
Location is always a big thing—whether it’s an area of town that feels right for you, good transport links, or is close to a great primary school. You may have somewhere you’ve set your heart on, but it’s worth looking at other areas in a little more detail! There are often hidden gems in any part of the country where you won’t get into a dreaded bidding war, and even if you’re still keen on your first-choice, it’s worth having a backup plan.
When it comes to choosing the home itself, you need both your heart and your head to make a good decision. There is something about that love-at-first-sight feeling that is really magical and it’s very easy to get carried away, max out your budget and throw caution to the wind. Conversely, practical box ticking shouldn’t be your only consideration. A home needs to feel like home and if you really love somewhere, it may well be a good investment, as others are likely to love it too when you need to move on in years to come.
Now comes the waiting game, the surveys and the emotions. With house-buying chains in particular, so much rests on everyone being decisive and level-headed, and with so much riding on each buyer’s shoulders, this can be tough for everyone. With the results of surveys, this is where your careful planning at the start will help you out. Surveys can often throw up expensive curve balls, be it subsidence or a roof in need of repair. Older houses sometimes come with a combination of expensive problems. If you’re running way over budget, even with contingency money, you know deep down you need to take a step back. Any dream home can turn into a disaster home if it has issues which you can’t afford to fix.
Remember, your home needs to feel like a home. If it’s going to be a financial strain on your lives, it’s probably not worth that special feeling you have about it. Go back to the drawing board and take a breather. With a little patience, a little heart, and plenty of head, the perfect home for you is just around the corner!