We’ve provided advice for first time buyers from a number of perspectives over the years. We’ve even produced a free downloadable guide to first time buyer mortgages, which included 13 tips and a selection of award-winning mortgage advice for first time buyers.
However, as a Guildford mortgage broker – and as you would probably expect – we’ve always approached it from the mortgage application process, looking at what to do and what not to do prior to applying for a mortgage.
So, to add a bit of balance – and as a result of the knowledge we’ve built from working with estate agents in Guildford and the surrounding areas – we thought we’d offer some advice on the actual viewing of the property you’re hoping to get a mortgage on. After all, if you can get that and the mortgage application bit right, then you’re pretty much home and dry.
Here is a selection of things to consider and questions to ask before you get too attached to the property you’re viewing.
1. Can you pay those bills?
The house may look great – and it’s within budget, too. But how much does it cost to run? Energy Performance Certificates will help you understand the property’s efficiency rating, but also be aware and realistic about costs associated with flats such as service charge and ground rent, as they can be quite high.
2. If you can’t park your car, then you may want to park the property
This isn’t the case for everyone – especially for those who don’t own a car. But for those who do, it doesn’t take long before having to park three streets away from your home begins to outweigh what attracted you to the property to begin with. Establish how important parking by your property is to you. If it’s an essential, then don’t be afraid to walk away. There will be many more properties that tick all the boxes – including the parking box.
3. Will you be a link in the chain?
The property chain can sometimes work for you – especially if the seller has found their next property and is keen to go. However, it can also work against you if the seller hasn’t yet found their next place. Depending on your own situation you need to be realistic about whether you’re prepared to be part of a chain and wait for months before moving. We’d recommend you get a handle on the chain from the outset.
4. Look beyond the property
Falling in love with your first property is easily done. However, make sure you also love the area in which it’s situated. Do your research and look for any issues in and around the area that may cause you problems once you’ve moved in. Another good tip is to visit the property – and the check out the immediate area – during day and night. You’d be surprised how different they can look.
5. How long has it been on the market?
Make sure you know how long the property has been listed. As a first-time buyer, it’s likely that you’ll want to make your deposit work as hard as possible for you – and a property that’s been on the market for some time may provide an opportunity to negotiate a good deal. It may also be a sign that there’s a problem. However, keep in mind that three months of lockdown slowed everything down, so a slow sale may be directly attributable to that.
For mortgage advice or to speak with a mortgage broker in Guildford about all aspects of buying a first property, then contact the team on 01483 238280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.