Viewing a house or flat can be exciting but it's easy to forget to check all the essential details, Tepilo takes a look at the questions first-time buyers should ask before purchasing their first home.
Buying you first home is an exciting experience, but it is also a daunting one. Preparation is key to combatting any concerns and worries and to make the process as painless as possible. Here are our top questions to ask during the buying process that should hopefully help you on your way, it could make all the difference between buying your dream home or a disaster – so don’t be afraid to ask!
How much can I afford to borrow?
It’s a difficult and daunting task to figure out what you truly can afford, yet really working out what you can and cannot afford is an essential part of buying your first home. Your first mortgage application is as important as the property itself. It’s best to do your research, ask several different independent advisors how much you can afford and get a ‘decision on principle.’ Once you know what you can afford to pay on a mortgage, you can then go on to figure out your housing price range. Lisa Chastain, Money Coach.advises 'Many first time buyers just focus on their ability (or inability) to pay the monthly payment. Home ownership comes with so many extra expenses that first time buyers would not be familiar with (kind of like a first time parent!). First time buyers need to know if there are HOA fee(s), SIDS/LIDS, and they must factor in their monthly upkeep in energy bills, landscaping, and the like (aka things they didn't have to think about as renters).
Would I be happy here in the long term?
When searching for your new home, don’t compromise on location just to get on the ladder. Remember that you have to live there, so make sure you explore all your options. Make a wish list of the amenities that you need close by – the way you live is key to deciding on a location. Think about what you do when you come home from work, this can help you really determine if proximity to a gym, train station, park or good restaurants matter.
Why are they selling?
While agents or sellers don’t have to answer this question it’s always good to get a good idea of the property’s history, and why the current owners have decided to move on. You might find out that the owner has work that is taking them overseas and therefore is keen to sell quickly, and so would accept a lower price.
Which survey do I need?
Now to the more technical side of things, a home survey is vital to ensuring that your new home is in good shape. There are different surveys to choose from and the type of survey you choose, however, will depend on how much you need to repair and your overall budget. Getting a homebuyer survey is a good way to avoid the stress and cost of making repairs further down the line – so make sure to get this task crossed off your list!
Exactly what is included in the sale?
Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that may seem obvious, ask about everything! Are the fixtures and fittings included? What about the green house or the shed? Make sure you confirm exactly where the boundary between yours and next doors is so you can make sure you see all of what you’re paying for.
Has the property repeatedly changed hands?
If the property has changed several times in the past 10 years, this may be a clue that there’s a more serious problem going on. Do a little bit of investigating and try to find out why the property has changed hands so frequently. However, keep in mind there are any number of reasons that the property has changed owners several times, as long as you give the purchase of a home its due diligence, you should be fine.
How much is council tax and how much are unitality bills in the area?
If you can, try to get exact amounts, talk to the seller if you need to, these costs need to be added to your overall budget. While these may seem like small considerations in comparison to the amount you will spend on the house, they are reoccurring expenses that will add to the pressure of owning your home.
Do you have noisy neighbours?
If the seller has lodged any complaints against their neighbours they legally have to tell you if you ask – so make sure to ask this one, it could save you a lot of trouble!