Buying Your First Home? This First-time Buyers’ Checklist Will Help You Make the Right Choice


Buying your first house is one of the most exciting moments in adult life, but it can be daunting. It’s unlikely that you would have taken on so much debt before, and there is very little guidance for newbies embarking on this process.

While there are easy ways to transform any space, it’s important to ensure that you start with a property that’s structurally sound, so you have something to work with.

So what should you look for? This checklist for first time home buyers will help you keep your head screwed on and spot important deal-breakers before you sign the dotted line.

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Have You Inspected the Property Thoroughly? 

As they say, there is a time for everything. And if there’s a time to be OCD, house hunting is it. Before you put in an offer on a property, make sure you leave no cupboard unopened, no toilet un-flushed, and no carpet un-lifted. Neglecting to conduct a top-to-toe inspection of the property—scrutinizing both the construction and condition—could result in a host of expensive challenges that you could have side-stepped. So run all the faucets to get a sense of the water pressure. Tap the walls, keeping an ear out for a hollow sound. Bring your friend with the sharpest sense of smell and sniff out the odor of mold. Yes, you might annoy the seller. Yes, you might look a little odd. But do it anyway. 

That’s not to say that if your inspection turns up something undesirable, it has to be a deal-breaker. Take a pest infestation, for example. When weighing the pros and cons of the property, you might decide that a few bugs needn’t outweigh everything the place has going for it, especially when you can just call pest control. What matters is that you know about any issues in advance so you can make an informed decision.

Have You Asked Every Question in the Book?

Once you move into your new home and start turning up problems, it’s too late to back out of your decision. So on top of conducting your own inspection before you buy the place, make sure you ask your real estate agent every question you can think of about the property’s condition and history. Property agents are obliged to tell you about significant structural issues, but they won’t necessarily volunteer information about an infestation of mice in the basement. That said, if you ask directly about something, they have to tell you. So ask, ask, ask.

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Are You Overstretching Yourself Financially?

When you want to buy a certain property, it can be tempting to take the biggest mortgage you are offered in order to afford it. But this approach can result in losing your home in the future if you aren’t fully able to manage the repayments. Now is not the time to guess what you can spare from your monthly income. An affordability calculator is essential. To avoid tough decisions, don’t look at homes outside of your price range, not even to ‘get an idea of what’s out there.’ Stick to realistic options and hang in there for the right thing to come up. You’ll end up with a home that’s both affordable and suits your needs.

Whether you’re looking for your first flat or a family home, these tips will help you settle on the right property.

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