It’s quite a few years since I bought my own home. However when I was asked by Santander to talk about my experiences of having a mortgage, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect back on my experience of being a first-time buyer.
Looking back there are a few things I would do differently but times have also changed. When I bought my first home it was at the height of the housing boom, prices were high and mortgages plentiful.
To think that at the time of getting our mortgage both myself and my boyfriend (who I was buying with) both had temporary jobs, it is a bit scary to think we were given a mortgage. That was the way of the world just a few years ago. With very low deposits and high lending. Fortunately banks are generally more responsible at the moment.
Buying our house was a fairly quick decision, it wasn’t something we spent years saving for. I didn’t overthink it and just jumped in!
Here are my 3 top tips when buying your first house.
1 – It’s All About The Location
The first thing we decided on was the area which we wanted to live in. We chose on a mid-point between both our families. Our home is also on a bus route (a huge plus in winter as the roads are gritted) and near a train station. These are not things we thought much about at the time but if I was to ever move I would certainly take these points into consideration. We also wanted to be near bars and a social scene. Although we have to get a taxi, nowhere is very far from our home and it is in a quiet area. As they say it’s all about location, location, location!
2 – Set A Budget
Before we began looking for a home we had no idea what we could afford. A good way to work out your budget is to speak to a mortgage company or financial advisor. We were surprised just how much we could borrow – As I said mortgages where on a high then. You can also get a guide to what you could potentially borrow using Santander’s Mortgage Calculator.
3 – Invite Others To Look
Once you have a budget and a location in mind you can begin your search. I lost many hours on Rightmove! We saw some great houses, terrible ones and tiny flats. On one occasion we were close to putting an offer in and invited our mum’s to take a look. They spotted the extractor fan went into the conservatory – Yuck! We soon changed our minds but this just goes to show a fresh pair of eyes are always a good idea.
We basically then narrowed our search down to two types of properties which were in our budget. New build apartments which looked fabulous and were very tempting but had limited storage, small space and barely any parking. Instead we settled on the pre-loved market, this also meant we could buy a larger house.
Once we made our final decision, the negotiations were completed and contracts exchanged. We were fortunate we could move in straight away. We didn’t have the budget for more than a few key items and DIY is not our forte so we didn’t have to do any decorating! My advice would be don’t max out your budget, we did this and it left little room for manoeuvre.
If you are a first-time buyer enjoy the experience and I would recommend don’t settle, find a house which you can make a happy home.
What would your advice be to anyone buying their first home? Please share in the comments below.