It’s important not to get caught up in and carried away with the process of buying a home. It’s an exciting time, but you need to make sure that your investment is safe and your choice of property and area is an informed decision. These are some of the things you should consider before you take the plunge:
Your future plans
Before you set your mind on a specific property or area, take a step back and think about where you might be a few years from now. For example, if you’re thinking of starting a family, then a 1-bed flat in central London might not seem as great once you throw a baby into the mix. Think about how long you intend to live in this property and be realistic about the changes that might come into your life some years down the line and plan for these if necessary.
Before you stretch your finances in order to put a successful offer on a property, it’s crucial to assess how this will affect you long-term. Ask yourself whether you can comfortably afford the mortgage you have in mind, or if in a year down the line when you’re more pushed for money than you’re used to, you’ll regret your decision. Question whether your job is stable, or whether you might find yourself falling behind on your payments, and what if prices in your area fall and you go into negative equity? These are all things that you need to prepare yourself for before you take this step.
The reality of homeownership
Owning your own home may seem like a dream come true to many people, but once the dust has settled and the reality sets in, this dream can often turn sour if you’re not prepared for the reality of homeownership. When you’re a renter, any major problems you have with your property are directly reported to, and resolved by your estate agent/landlord. However, if you own a property and your boiler breaks or your roof leaks, it’s down to you to fund and resolve these problems. What’s more, if you decide you don’t actually like the property or area as much as you thought you would, it’s much harder to up and move!
Widening your search area
Living in or near the center of London is, for many people the ideal scenario. However, this comes at an (ever increasing) price! If you’re a city-dweller but don’t have endless cash to spend on buying a home, consider a location a bit further out as these are often only a short bus, tube or car ride away, but can bring down property prices significantly and get you much more for your money.
What is happening to prices in your chosen neighbourhood?
Before you put down an offer, you should always do as many checks as you can to ensure that your investment is safe. Research your chosen area and see how prices have changed over the last ten years, as this will give you a sturdy indication of how they will continue to evolve. It’s often a good idea to set up alerts on Rightmove and Zoopla and monitoring how quickly properties are selling in this area, and whether they are selling at their asking price (or near).