Buying your own home is one of the biggest financial commitments that you will ever have to consider and having worked hard and saved to get yourself on the property ladder, you want to make sure that every decision that you make when buying is the right one.
Here is some practical advice to consider.
Probably the most crucial question to ask yourself is not whether you want to buy a property but can you actually afford it? Affordability is a key issue when it comes to first time property buyers and there are some good guidelines to help you answer this question. As a rough guide but one that actually works very well, the proposed mortgage repayment should not account for any more than 40% of your salary. Stretching yourself to the max will make life much harder in general and could mean you end up in some sort of financial difficulties.
Finding the most suitable property for you
Once you have addressed the question of affordability and are confident that you can manage the proposed payments based on the price range and budget that you are working with, then the next crucial step is finding the best property that you can afford. The temptation when you are on a lower budget, which you probably are as a first timer, is to go for a property that needs some TLC and work doing to it. The price reflects the state of the house as well as the location that it is in, and if it is cheaper than comparable properties in the same area, check and double check what you will have to spend to bring it up to scratch, especially as budgets are notoriously difficult to stick to when it comes to repairs and renovations.
Remember the extras
Buying the house is not the only expense that you are going to incur and there are many additional fees and costs associated with a purchase that you have to be prepared for and build into your budget. Some of the extra costs that are relevant to first time buyers are a possible higher lending fee, which is a one time payment that some lenders will levy if you only have a small deposit, and you will also have to pay a valuation and arrangement fee plus some possible taxes depending on the purchase price.
Before you have even bought your first property you should be looking ahead to when you plan to sell it and move on up the ladder. If you are shrewd enough and sometimes just lucky enough to get the right property first time, you can sell for a decent profit, which will allow you to trade up to the next level. There are some basic checks that you can ask about the suitability of your intended first purchase that will make the selling on process more successful. Look at the general condition of the house, where it is located and is there potential to improve? If you can afford to add an extra bathroom or even another bedroom on at some point you are quite likely to boost the value in some way, which can only help you with the affordability of your next property.