There are few purchases in life that carry the financial and psychological weight of buying a home. Whether you are buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing your home and your life after the kids have gone, it’s important to understand the ground rules for success in the world of property buying.
Making the wrong decision when buying a home can have devastating and long lasting effects, while making a wise decision when purchasing can greatly enhance the overall value of the investment. It’s necessary to learn all you can about the world of home buying and mortgages before setting out to purchase the home of your dreams.
While there are plenty of websites designed to help first time homeowners learn all they can, most experts say that there is no substitute for good old fashioned one-on-one learning. Fortunately, most mortgage lenders, financial advisers, solicitors and estate agents (including our property team at Morgans!) will be able to provide you with impartial advice.
Here are five basic ground rules you should adhere to when it comes to buying a new home:
#1 – Get your finance in place before you make an offer
There are few things in life as disappointing as losing out on the home of your dreams due to not being able to secure funding. While the desire to get out there and search for your perfect home is understandable, it’s vital to line up the finance you will need before you start shopping around.
Getting the financing in place ahead of time has a number of important advantages, including knowing how much you can afford to spend. By knowing how much you can afford before you shop around you will avoid wasting your time looking at unaffordable properties.
It’s also important to take a good look at the various types of mortgage on the market before getting started in the home buying process. These days mortgages come in far more choices than the typical 25 or 30 years. For that reason, potential home buyers need to understand how each type of mortgage works, and to gauge which mortgage is the best choice for their needs.
#2 – Look at the community, not just the home
It’s a good idea to look at the entire community, instead of focusing on a single home. This can be a particularly important thing to consider for those moving to a new town or city, as you will be unfamiliar with the local climate and lifestyle. It’s crucial to determine the areas of town that are most desirable, and to consider things like distance from schools, work and local shopping opportunities.
We have all heard that location is the key consideration when it comes to property, and that is certainly the case. Buying a house in the wrong area can be a big mistake, and it’s important to choose the location as well as the home. Potential buyers can learn a great deal about the nature of the various areas simply by driving around town, as well as by talking to other residents. Our property team know the West Fife area well and are able to offer advice.
#3 – Be fair with your first offer
Trying to lowball a seller on the first offer can backfire, as can paying too much, so it’s important to carefully evaluate the local market, and to compare the asking price of the home with what similar houses in the area have sold for.
Comparing the sales of similar homes, what are known as “comps” in the industry, is one of the best ways to determine what is fair, and to make sure that you neither overpay or underbid on the property. Our solicitors can advise you on the best way to proceed.
#4 – Always request to see the Home Report
You should always contact the listing agent to request a copy of the Home Report and then investigate the property for any possible defects before making an offer – this is imperative! Again our solicitors are able to advise you and help you through this process.
#5 – Don’t alienate the sellers of the home
Many property deals have fallen apart due to the personal animosity of the buyer and the seller. It’s important to avoid alienating the seller of the home during the process, and to avoid nitpicking every little detail during the sale. Keeping the good will of the seller will help the transaction go smoothly, and provide the best experience for seller and buyer alike.
Finally, when buying a home it is often best to use a systematic approach as this is often the best way to be sure that all decisions are based on information and reason, not on impulse or emotion. Buying a home can be an emotional process, nevertheless it is imperative to keep your emotions under control and not let them cloud your judgement. Most of all it helps to have an expert advising you through the process. Our solicitors can guide you and ensure that your purchase runs smoothly from start to finish.
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