There are a number of things you need to consider if you are looking to buy at home. Whether it be taking the necessary steps prior to getting a mortgage so that you are fully prepared and so can provide a strong application, maximising your chances of acceptance, or making sure to take into consideration certain aspects when you go on property viewings. There is never such thing as too much information when it comes to doing your research into a potential property purchase in any guise, be it an investment bought via auction finance or your new home.
Prior to Considering Buying a Property
The preparation and research involved when looking to buy a property is significantly different to that when renting any property. furthermore, if the property is a house as opposed to a flat, the consideration will be slightly different. For example, in the case of a flat, as part of a larger freehold, a buyer will need to consider things like additional permissions and potential service [and leasehold] charges.
Preparation is Important
When it comes to planning your first property purchase, you should spend a considerable amount of time preparing to maximise your mortgage chances. You will find, as the process proceeds and moves forward, that thorough preparation prior to making that all important mortgage application is vital.
One of the first steps you should take is to thoroughly research the information that is important for the mortgage lenders considering prospective property purchasers [clients]. This should include taking time to consider the eligibility criteria lenders will be assessing when it comes to determining if they should accept or decline your mortgage application.
Some of the typical criteria that lenders assessing applicants will consider include the following:
- Your credit report and credit score
- Current salary and salary expectations for the future
- Deposit size
- Your monthly outgoings
- Their mortgage policy rules
- Your current savings
- Employment status
- Your spending habits
- The amount you want to borrow and over how long
There may also be other criteria that lenders will look at in order to determine your eligibility and each company will have slightly different qualifying criteria. As a result, you should remember that the above information isn't exhaustive and there may be other requirements in order to be approved for a mortgage.
Spend Time Researching Mortgages
You should always spend plenty of time thoroughly researching mortgages that are available in order that you can determine which will best suit your circumstances as a first-time buyer. There are many different mortgages products on the market in the UK with various benefits, and not all products will be suitable in your circumstances.
It may be worth speaking to a number of experienced and proven property finance intermediary or broker, will be better able to help you to find the most suitable mortgage and give guidance on applying. Alternatively, you could compare various mortgage products on one of the main comparison websites, as well as looking at the online mortgage calculators available. These can help to break down mortgage types and average rates, making it easier to understand as well as being less overwhelming to take in.
Considering Homebuyer Schemes
It is usually worthwhile to check whether there are home buyers schemes you are eligible for if you are considering purchasing a property as it could make the process dramatically easier as well as less expensive.
There are a number of government backed-schemes aimed at helping buyers including those available for first-time buyers, helping them to get onto the property ladder. The Help to Buy scheme is one such example, which was launched in 2013 and is designed to help both first-time buyers and home-movers. However, it is worth noting that it is strictly limited to new-build homes.
Those looking to buy a home under the Help to Buy scheme will for example, only need to find money equivalent to 5% of the property's value as deposit.
Considerations When Viewing a Property
The viewing process is one of the first steps you will undertake in the property buying process. It is almost impossible to buy a property having not properly viewed it. This applies for residential properties and homes as well as commercial investments and all else in between.
Investigate the Neighbourhood
It is all well and good to fall in love with a property, but if you hate the surrounding areas, you could be setting yourself up to fail from the start. This is why it is vital that you spend time in the neighbourhood prior to going to property viewings. This can be achieved through arranging a day in the local area beforehand and. You will likely want to make sure that it is close to the things that matter (such as proximity to schools, shops and similar) as well as the overall atmosphere of the area. Sometimes things can look good on paper and in pictures but feel very different in reality.
Confirm the Land Included with the Property
It is not necessarily a given that a property's parking space or garden is in fact the property of the buyer or supposed owner, but it isn't always the case. If you feel uncertain, always check and get this confirmed in writing too so you have evidence should you need it. In some cases, you may be purchasing the leasehold as opposed to the actual freehold.
Consider the Structure of the Building
Taking the time to look at the outside and overall structure of the property to see if there are any hairline cracks in the walls, loose tiles on the roof, or damp inside is important. If you do see anything that makes you concerned you should ask the estate agent or vendor as soon as possible to find out the cause as well as if it can be fixed. You should also make it a top priority to get an independent house survey carried out once you have made an offer as well as after it has been accepted. It is common practice to instruct a chartered surveyor to cast their professional eye over the property.