Mar 27, 2018
Buying a property for the first time can be a very daunting task. It is such a colossal amount of money to spend and the process can be so complicated that there are plenty of things you can get wrong. It’s no surprise that with hindsight, there are many things that home buyers would do differently.
We spoke to London-based surveyors Daily Move to understand some of the errors that first-time buyers can make if they are not careful. From that we have compiled a list of seven of the most common mistakes that first-time home buyers make, and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Not putting in the proper research
Undoubtedly one of the most common mistakes made by first time buyers is that they fail to put in the proper research. Remember that a property is likely to be the most expensive purchase that you will ever make. It’s amazing how many people will buy a property after one visit to the area and a 10-minute look around the house.
The fact is when you are buying a house, you need to know the ins and outs, not just of the property but of the area. Even if it’s relatively close to where you have lived before, there can be all sorts of factors you might not be aware of, such as difficult traffic or unexpected noise.
Make sure that you spend plenty of time getting to know the area and doing your own research – don’t trust estate agents when they tell you the area has shed a bad reputation.
2. Choosing the first mortgage they come across
And on the subject of research, it’s also vital that you should put time into researching the mortgages that are available. Far too many first time buyers will go to one bank, get a mortgage offer and just stick with it out of convenience. But this can lead to you getting a very bad deal with a higher interest rate than you could have found elsewhere.
It’s a much better idea to either do a lot of your own research into the various mortgages available or, if you don’t have the time, to work with a mortgage broker who will be able to scour the whole market for the best deal.
3. Not having a full survey carried out
When you are buying a property it’s easy to see the costs mounting up and then be faced with a decision to make about your survey. You can pay a small amount for a basic valuation or stump up more for a more comprehensive homebuyer report. Believing that the house looks good and there is nothing to worry about many first time buyers opt for the former.
Unfortunately this can lead to a situation where you buy a property that has some serious problems hidden beneath the surface. This could be in the form of damp, issues with the foundations or all sorts of complicated and costly things that you will eventually have to deal with.
It’s a much better idea to pay for a full survey which can uncover the problems and allow you to either re-negotiate the price or, in the worst case scenario, move on.
4. Being concerned about the state of the market
Many people buying a home will have an eye on the property market. But if the sole reason that you are buying now is that it is the ‘right time’ or you are interested in making a profit on the sale, it should be noted that this can be a very risky scenario. Like any investment, property can be unpredictable and even if it looks like the market has nowhere to go but up, things can go wrong.
It is all too easy when you are house hunting to simply fall in love with a property that is just outside your price range. The key thing to note here is that you should not get too attached to properties, because doing so can make you overspend on them. Remember that while you are buying a house as somewhere to live, the nature of the cost of the mortgage means that you need to think of it as an investment too.
Ask yourself whether you can really afford to pay for the property in the long term. If it will be too much of a financial burden you will grow to hate the property and feel as if you have made a mistake.
6. Assuming an estate agent is on your side
If you are buying for the first-time it may not be immediately apparent, but it is worth pointing: the estate agent is not on your side. Their job is to try and achieve the best possible sale price for their client – the current homeowner. They get commission on the sale of the property, so it is in their interest to get you to pay more for it.
That doesn’t mean that you need to distrust everything the estate agent says. But just remember to take a healthy pinch of salt with their suggestion that there are several people interested in buying the property (especially if it has been on the market for a while).
7. Failing to take in account all the costs
Finally, while it shouldn’t need pointing out that buying a property is expensive, you really need to be aware of all of the costs