For many first-time buyers, there’s often an uncertainty when it comes to finding and buying a house. Is it the right house? What happens if we find something wrong with the house after we’ve bought it? These questions create anxiety and there’s no wonder when it’s one of the biggest investments you will ever make.
Ask yourself how much can we save and what are we willing to spend?
Myself and my partner are first time buyers, we began by saving as much money as we could. For me it was difficult due to my wages and my outgoings, as for my partner, we’re fortunate he works abroad as an electrician for the Army. He’s unable to go anywhere and spend money which makes it easier to save. Usually both parties will work in the same town or city and have similar outgoings like car finances, rent or board, phone bills, petrol, food shopping etc. You have to be certain it’s both what you really want for your future as it’s a huge ongoing financial commitment.
I would recommend if it’s you and a partner buying your first home, you both agree on how much you’re willing to save up. My partner put in more each month as he could afford too, I put in as much as I could which was around 450-500 per month. Once you have both agreed on how much you’re going to save, you can work out how much are willing to spend on a house and how long you will need to save for.
What design features and architectural must-haves are a necessity?
This is going to be your home for at least several years, possibly even a lifetime. Me and my partner asked ourselves how big do we want the house to be? How many bedrooms do we need? What location do we really want to live in? Do we need a big garden? Do we need a big kitchen? Once you have these answers it makes it a little easier when searching as you can skip out all the homes that do not fit your requirements. I knew I wanted a big house; I want to grow a family there and have my family and friends stay over. I wanted a big garden so my children in the future can play and we can have lovely garden parties. My partner’s main wish was that the property be close to his parents and his sister’s house, who live in a nice part of town which has good schools. It just so happens the house we bought is across the road from a pub too, convenient for him! But he did get his wish, and the house we bought is down the road from his family which I really wanted too.
As the location we both wanted is in a nicer part of town you can guarantee the cost of properties goes up. This we knew would be the case but our hearts were set on being close to his family and having good schools for our future children. It also means, if we ever need to sell in the future, we will get a good price based on where it is.
Ask yourselves, are willing to put in extra for renovations?
We went to view a few properties within our chosen area and although the location was spot on the houses just didn’t fit the mark. They were either way too small, didn’t have enough land or big enough gardens. Then we came across a house that was being sold by the council; it was in a little close but was a detached property with a huge garden surrounding it. The only problem was, it was partially falling down, the roof had holes in, the windows were smashed and the rooms were badly decorated and needed replastering. This was a question we hadn’t asked ourselves, were we willing to renovate a house if we liked its potential? Would our budget cover something like this? The asking price for this house was 200k which seemed a lot considering the condition of it, it made me skeptical and anxious as I could see how much work would be involved in getting this house just right, but my partner envisioned it and knew it was the right for us. Luckily, he has friends who are carpenters, plasters and electricians who would be able to do the jobs cheaply. So, we began a bidding war with a property investor which saw the asking price of 200k go up to 240k and we won it.
He shown me some ideas for the house which I loved and we’re really excited for its completion. So far, we’ve had the roof, windows and doors replaced which we anticipate would be one of the main outlays for the property, especially the roof. We also want an extension built onto the kitchen with bi-folding doors that leads out onto the garden. We have worked out this is going to cost an extra 45k so we’re back saving for this to happen.
If you’re planning on living there forever, invest into your property to make it your dream home!
Before we started searching, myself and my partner already knew that our first home would be our lifetime home, that’s why the location was the most important thing to us as well as the size of the house. Although we ended up paying more than we wanted to, we know that we’re building the home of our dreams. As it’s a lifetime home, there’s no huge rush and we will get the house completed in stages as we go.
My advice to any first-time buyer is to make a list of what you want from your house, what location, and whether or not you really want it to last forever or are you going to sell up further down the line. Sometimes things happen and you can’t anticipate what the future will bring, but knowing what you really want will make it a lot easier. After all the work that will be invested into our home, I don’t think I could ever sell it, it will be mine and my family’s sanctuary. If I knew at the beginning there would be a chance, we’d look to move in 10-20 years’ time, I would not have gone for a home that required so much work, we would have bought a property that was already modernised and fairly decorated. This way we can do the house to exactly how we want it, almost starting from scratch, our home will be influenced by our personalities and our characters. It’s architecture and design will reflect us and all our love will be poured into it. We will build a home that we are proud of together and that can be passed down to our children.
We also got advice from a mortgage adviser, they gave us a heads up and told us to be sure you want this to last as it’s a huge investment and requires a lot of work. We knew it was for us and we’re looking forward to showing everyone when its ready! If you’re in Warrington or Cheshire, I would recommend Warrington Mortgage Centre who give strategic and honest advice to first-time buyers, they can help you to secure your first tome and give you advice on lending.
If you’ve already found your dream home, you can read our blog post which gives you 10 tips on getting your offer accepted on a house!