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Park Place - Leeds

Essential things to do before you buy your first home

From making a list of the things you’d love your new house to have, to finding out if you can afford your dream home, there are so many elements to buying a house, and that’s all before you’ve even found the one you want!

But there’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the house-buying process. You can use this list to make sure you’ve prepared everything possible before you start viewing potential properties. It’ll give you peace of mind and make sure you’re buying the right property for your budget and needs.

Find your desired location

You may already love the area your rental property is in, but if you don’t, consider looking into other places that are commutable to your place of work.

Finding a house further out of city centres, on good commuting routes, is one way to get more house for your money. Decide if you want a city-centre lifestyle or if you’d like more space when you’re relaxing at home.

Websites like Zoopla and Rightmove have ‘draw a search’ function, so you can restrict the areas you’re looking at for properties based on your chosen location, right down to individual streets, if you want!

Make sure to visit possible locations to scope out the local facilities, transport routes and traffic. Try to make a few trips at different times of the day and week to get a real feel for the place before you decide that it’s where you want to live.

Make a list of must-haves (and must-not-haves)

What would put you off a potential property? Perhaps it doesn’t have an en-suite to the master bedroom, which is essential for you. Maybe you need to have a garage to create a home workshop space.

Have a long, hard think about what you absolutely must have in your new home. Also consider total no-go things too. For example, do you insist on a kitchen/diner instead of a separate dining room?

This will help you to whittle down potential properties so you only view ones that could be strong contenders for your final choice.

Look at house prices in your chosen location

You’ve chosen your location and made a list of essentials, but can you afford it?

Use property websites to look at current house prices in the area. If they’re out of your budget, think about nearby neighbourhoods or other things you can compromise on. For example, if you wanted an extra room for a home office, could you set one up in the corner of a larger kitchen instead?

Knowing how much your chosen area and house type will cost gives you a clear idea of how much money you’ll need to have saved before you can buy.

Save a deposit

The larger the deposit you have saved, the smaller the mortgage you’ll need to get (or, on the flip side, the bigger the mortgage you’ll be able to afford). A good deposit is 25% of the house price, but generally speaking, the bigger the better.

Putting more down for your deposit will reduce your mortgage loan term and/or amount you borrow. This can save you thousands of pounds over the years, so it’s worth trying to save as much as possible before you start looking for a new house.

Create a house-buying budget

When you’re working out your budget, it’s not just the deposit you need to save for. Moving home costs money, such as hiring removals teams and professional cleaners for your rental property. You’ll also need to budget for conveyancing fees, local search costs, and surveys.

All of these costs easily add up to a few thousand pounds, even if you’re buying an inexpensive property. It’s wise to keep an extra buffer of cash aside, in case you discover emergency repairs once you move in, such as replacing an old boiler or extra renovation work you didn’t expect.

Gather your paperwork for a mortgage application

When you’ve got a good deposit saved, and you know how much you’ll need from your mortgage, it’s time to prepare your paperwork.

You’ll need three months’ payslips from your employer, or two years’ tax accounts if you’re self-employed. In addition, you’ll need identification such as a driving license and proof of address.

Collect your bank statements, too. You’ll need to demonstrate you have the funds for your deposit, as well as generate a household budget from your earnings and outgoings.

See a mortgage adviser

When you’ve done all of the above, it’s time to see your local mortgage adviser in Leeds!

It’s tempting to try and find a great mortgage deal on your own, but the expertise of a mortgage adviser means you’ll have access to a wider range of deals and have someone to guide you through the application process.

Your adviser can also help you determine whether you’re likely to be accepted for a mortgage before you apply for one. This is useful, as if you’re rejected for a mortgage this goes on your credit file and can make it more difficult for you to be accepted in the future.

Apply for an Agreement in Principle

When your mortgage adviser has talked through your options, they’ll help you apply for an Agreement in Principle from the lender you’ve chosen.

This is a document that tells estate agents and solicitors that the mortgage provider is willing to lend you a certain amount. It makes you a proceedable buyer in terms of the vendor and estate agent. Without an Agreement in Principle, any offer you make might be rejected because you can’t prove that you’ll have the funds to buy the property.

Contact your local mortgage adviser to find the right mortgage deal for you and get help applying for your Agreement in Principle so that you can finally start the fun bit of house hunting – viewing properties!

 

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