In 2020 alone, home purchases reached nearly 5.65 million. If you’ve been living the apartment life but watched all your friends and coworkers buy homes, you may think it’s time for your first home.
Of course, the “buying first home” process isn’t always an easy one to wrap your head around. There are a lot of considerations, not to mention a lot of moving parts.
Plus, buying real estate isn’t like buying a car that you can return if it’s defective. Once you own that new house, it’s yours…warts and all. If you’re serious about buying your first home, keep reading for our quick guide that can help take some of the stress out of the process.
Know Your Budget
A lot of people start house hunting before they really think about the finances of it all. That’s dangerous because you can set your heart on a house only to find out later that you can’t really afford it.
You must sit down, calculate, and know UK mortgage affordability on what you can afford to pay each month on a mortgage.
Shop Around for Mortgages
In reality, your best move is to shop around for mortgages before you start looking at houses. This gives you a better picture of what kind of interest rates you can expect, as well as any vendor-specific fees. Pay close attention to those fees, because they make a great interest rate look less great when you do the math.
You can also get pre-qualified for a mortgage, which sets a firm limit on your budget.
Look for What You Need
A lot of people buy more house than they really need based on the expectation that they’ll grow into the house. Yet, the average time spent in a house is only around 8 years.
Instead of focusing on what you think you may need down the road, treat your first home as a starter home. That means a home in a neighborhood you can tolerate. It also means a house that meets your current and most likely needs in the next few years.
Consider Sweat Equity
If you’re willing to put in some sweat equity, you can often get a first home at a comparable bargain. For example, you can paint, change light fixtures, and even put down some tile yourself.
You might need professional help with some things, like garage doors. You can head over here to have a look at the kind of pros you might need.
Buying First Home Smarts
As much as possible, you should apply some buying first home smarts. Focus more on your current needs than wants, since you’ll likely sell the house within 10 years. The school district doesn’t matter much if you don’t even have kids yet.
Get the finances figured out before you start house shopping by comparison shopping mortgages or getting pre-approved. Make an honest assessment of how much work you’re willing to put in. A fixer-upper can come cheap and end up very nice.
Looking for more real estate tips? Check out the posts in our Real Estate section.