10 Top Tips For Buying A House

first time buyer, house buying tips, mortgage advice

by Grazia |

When you buy a property for the first time you think it’s going to be a relatively simple process - You look for the house you want to buy, you find it, you buy it… right? Incorrect. Sadly this reality has long been out of date.

In 2010 I bought my first flat with my sister. When it came to lawyers and mortgages, I left her to it, which was such a bad idea as when it came to buying on my own I was totally clueless.

I bought my first flat on my own in Seven Sisters in 2014. At the time house prices property in zone 3 hadnt quite accelerated as much as would follow but I saw the areas I could afford to buy in were being marginalised rapidly. I viewed a garden flat that was a 1 minute walk from the tube station and 15 minutes later made an offer of the asking price. Fortunately I wasn’t outbid but sadly this isn’t the case for many.

18 months ago I started looking for a property in Walthamstow and now on my third property purchase what I have learnt has been priceless. Here I break down my 10 top tips to successfully purchase your very own house with a limited amount of stress. (Note I didn’t say ‘minus the stress’ as the first thing you should know is there is always stress involved.)

Meet Your House-Buying Checklist:

**1. ** First and most importantly, the estate agent is not your friend nor are you their priority. In many up and coming areas there are property developers with cash in hand who have estate agents on speed dial and vice versa. If you are struggling to find what you want be sure to meet estate agents in person and to make regular phone calls to notify them that you are still looking if a few weeks have passed.

**2. ** Take a checklist with you to viewings. In the current property market you only have about 15 minutes to view a house before you have to make an offer. More often than not it will be during an open day where you will be surrounded by at least 10 other potential buyers so time is of the essence. Go in knowing what you are looking for, take pictures and make notes.

**3. **Always check out your potential neighbours – having untidy or loud neighbours can really affect you. Your local council is there to help if you have any issues but it can be a long process that may not be effective particularly if the house is let out to tenants that don’t feel accountable.

**4. ** You may think a big garden is great but don’t get over excited – its hard work, time consuming and in a country where the sunny days are few and far between the last thing you want to do is have to give the garden a makeover every time you want to sit in it.

**5. ** Furniture is soooo expensive. The bigger the house, the more/bigger furniture you need so costs go up and up and up.

**6. **Don’t be fooled by a newly decorated property. A fresh coat of paint could be disguising cracks or damp. Check the water pressure in the taps by turning them on and also find the boiler to see how old it is as buying a new one and improving plumbing is costly.

**7. ** Be sure to find out legal costs and stamp duty before your search begins as this can hugely affect your budget.

**8. ** Always do a survey and if possible get a builder to view a property with you. You won’t believe how quickly everything adds up even even if there are only little jobs that need doing. You may think you can knock through the ground floor to create a fabulous open plan space like the house down the road you stalked on Zoopla but taking out supporting walls is expensive and not always possible.

**9. **When buying in popular areas you may need to lower your maximum search price as many properties are being sold for up to £50,000 over the asking price, especially in London.

**10. **Until you exchange, the seller has as much right to pull out as you do so show willing and make sure you are in constant contact with them to ensure they feel at ease with the sale going through.

Cover image: @interiorhints

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