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Buying a home: advice from people who’ve been there

It always helps to have a little advice when looking for a house, so here are some of our favourite nuggets of wisdom, to make sure your next home is perfect for you and your family.

Don’t go on viewings alone

When you go on a house viewing, make sure you have someone with you – even if you’re buying alone.

It’s very easy to miss some of the finer details – what type of boiler is installed? How energy efficient is the property? What are the neighbours like? As they say, two heads are better than one, so be sure to enlist the help of a friend or family member. 

Tell an agent you’re a first-time buyer

If you’re a first-time buyer, remember this plays to your advantage because you don’t have a house to sell, and may be in a position to move quickly. Whether you’re dealing with an estate agent or property developer, don’t forget to tell them you’re a first-timer. 

Enlist the help of experts

If you’re planning on modernising an older property, make sure you get help from people who know exactly what they’re doing. In the words of Kevin McCloud, “Buildings are complicated machines, made out of thousands of parts from numerous suppliers, fitted together in hundreds of different ways. It’s a really tough job. I would always advise somebody to spend a large chunk of their budget, no matter how small, on a project manager.” Alternatively, opt for a new build and avoid the hassle. 

Get to know the buying process

It always helps to familiarise yourself with the buying process so you can plan your time and budget effectively. Set aside money for surveys and solicitors, and plot out key dates on your calendar. 

Arrange a mortgage in principle first

Before you go on any viewings, get a mortgage agreement in place, so you’re ready to move quickly if need be. If you’re a first-time buyer, don’t worry too much about this part of the process as the number of approved first-time mortgages remains on the increase.

Get solicitor recommendations from people you trust

The conveyancing process could slow down the house buying process, especially if you choose the wrong solicitor. Make sure you get recommendations from friends, family and colleagues before making a decision on which solicitor to use, especially if you’re keen to move quickly.

Don’t underestimate the costs of moving house

Moving house can be expensive, so make sure you don’t underestimate the costs and stick to your budget. Consider removal costs, home insurance, and conveyancing fees. A Home Buyers Survey costs anywhere between £350 and £1000, or you can opt for a less costly RICS Condition Report for newer properties. It’s also worth calculating how much your new home will cost to run – you can get a rough idea on the main online property websites, for example, Rightmove, Zoopla, New Home Finder etc. 

 
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