Buying a house is one of, if not the, biggest financial decisions you will make in your life. Everybody dreams of owning their perfect home, so it is well worth taking the time to mull over every single aspect of it that you can possibly think of before making a final decision. Here are 15 things that are important to consider before buying a house – be it your first home or your third:
15 Things To Think Before Buying A House
Ask any homeowner whether buying a house ended up costing them more than they originally thought and you will get a unanimous yes. Before looking at different properties, it is important to take into account all financial factors, from the price of the house to the legal fees of the transaction, and then set yourself a sensible budget. The most important part, however, is that you stick to it! It can be very easy to get carried away when looking at houses – there could be a reason why your dream home is your dream home, it might not be a realistic target.
Buying a house is a huge commitment, and it is fundamental to ensure it will be the right house for you in the future. Are you planning on having a child within the next 5 years? This doesn’t just mean buying a house with an extra bedroom. Is the property near a school? Is it a safe area? This is just one example of millions that you might need to think about.
Your job is incredibly important – it is providing the financial means for you to actually pay for the house after all. There are many questions you need to ask yourself before buying a house, though. Is it in a commutable location? Is the location of your job likely to change in the future?
Make the most of your estate agent’s services and ask loads of questions. Seek advice on aspects such as the pricing history of a particular area, and work out whether your proposed property can be an investment.
Visit the House
Visit the Property at Various Times of the Day
Upon your first visit, the house may be surrounded by nothing but peace and quiet and seem like the perfect property. As soon as you leave the premises, however, there could be a flurry of cars and traffic causing unbearable noise pollution. Before making such an enormous financial commitment, you want to be absolutely sure you’ll be happy living there – so visit the house at different times and consider factors such as noise and natural light.
Talking to residents in the area is a great method of finding out honest information about the area. You may seem slightly awkward, but it’s not like you’re ever going to see them again. OK so maybe you will, every single day, but it is still worth doing. Are they mainly homeowners or are they renting? What’s the community like?
Local Newspaper Archives
Looking through old and existing news stories regarding your potential new residential area is essential. Is the area safe from crime? Is it safe for your children? Are there plans to build something unsightly in your house view?
All those cool electrical features you saw around the house, the pool in the garden – it’s important to get an idea of how much these will cost to run throughout the year. Consequently, you should ask your estate agent to get hold of some previous utility bills from the property. Are they within your budget?
As well as asking your existing bank, it is worth shopping around to find the best mortgage deal for you. There are many factors to take into consideration – for example: interest rates, annual percentage rates and your own income.
Seeking information on past improvements and work that has been done to the house can help significantly when putting together a budget and forecasting future costs. Was the work the previous owners did of a high or low quality and standard? Will it need re-doing in the near future?
This is an essential step in buying a house, and problems almost always arise after their visit. This will give you a good idea of how much you will need to spend on fixing the issues prior to buying the house, but can also help you negotiate a lower price from the seller.
Never judge a book (in this case, a house) by its cover. Try to see past the disgusting brown carpets or orange painted walls the last residents chose. Consider what changes you would want to make and picture the house in that more positive light. This will help ensure you don’t reject a potentially perfect house based on first impressions!
Do you want a house that has a modern or traditional and homely feel to it? Do you want a house with a small and easy to maintain garden or a large amount of land? Do you host many parties? Will you need spare room? Do you want a big kitchen? The list is endless and everyone has a unique view of their dream house. By making a list of your ‘must-haves’, you can choose between houses easier. It’s unlikely that one house will have absolutely everything on your list, but you can choose the one that ticks the most boxes.
Unfortunately, things can go wrong right up until the keys are dropped into your hand. Make sure you have enough emotional leverage if your dream house doesn’t go to plan. In other words, don’t fall in love with the house until it’s definitely yours – and always have a plan B!
This post was written by James Johnson from Atlantis Property, an estate and letting agent based in Reading.