Buying your first home

A step-by-step guide for first-time buyers

Making the decision to get yourself onto the property ladder is one of the biggest decisions you will probably have to make in your life.

The prospect of househunting can be daunting, and we know that, so here is a step-by-step guide to buying your first home. It doesn’t need to be as difficult as you may think!

Rent or buy?

The biggest question most first time buyers face is whether they should rent or buy a property. Some people are desperate to get onto the property ladder, whereas others would rather not commit until a later time.

Here is a list of considerations that can help you decide ultimately whether or not you buy:

  1. Freedom V responsibility - buying a house comes with a large sense of responsibility. If you have a problem with central heating, a leaking roof or window, or any other maintenance problem, then it is your duty to fix those issues by sourcing a plumber or electrician. If you are renting, then it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix the problems for you. Discover more.
  2. Invest V save - In order to buy, you will need at least 5% of the value of the property you want to buy (If you opt for a homeownership scheme) Renting does not include any large up-front payments so it is easier to rent without saving up beforehand.
  3. Rent V mortgage - Renting gives you the freedom to move if your circumstances change, whereas buying means committing fully for the long-term. Renting however, does not give you any return on your investment. Buying means having somewhere that you can truly call your own.

5 factors to consider when buying a home

1. Neighbourhood

This is the one thing you cannot change about the property. You will be able to change interior, exterior, value and functionality, but it will always be in the same place. Ensure that you buy a house in a neighbourhood that you like and feel comfortable in. The neighbourhood will also influence the value of the house - if it is a sought after location, then the value of the property will not decrease.

2. Age of the home

If the house is old, then it may have a lot of character, however there may be larger restoration work required. It is also important to consider the overall condition of your potential home. An older home may need an updated electrical system, or heating system, or may need larger building work. Read more here.

3. Plot size

Size is a very important consideration because you want your house to be comfortable and spacious, especially if you are a couple. If you have a little more space, then you may be able to extend on the property for more space and privacy. If you are considering starting a family too, then it is vital to consider whether there will be enough space when there are more of you underneath one roof.

4. Transport links

If you commute to work, or want the freedom to travel with ease, then you need to consider the transport links that are local or close to your home. Bus routes, train stations, access to main roads and motorways and cycle routes are worth investigating so that you can have freedom and easy access to your work, shops, bars and restaurants, and other locations. Learn more here about the benefits of transport links.

5. Interior floor plan

This depends on your personal preferences. Do you like a lot of natural light? Do you prefer an open plan to a series of smaller rooms? One story or multiple levels? This is more about preference, and costs will take priority over this. But, you do need somewhere that is going to make you feel at home and comfortable, so if the space feels confined, small, or not to your taste, then it is an important consideration.

Check the condition of your home

The specification of your home is important. Here is a list of things you need to consider:

  • Water and energy efficiency
  • Higher specification means lower maintenance
  • Healthy indoor living - damp or faults can cause harmful chemicals, so ensure that your home is as safe as possible
  • List and qualities of amenities