Tired of your monthly direct debit going to your landlord? Had enough of house sharing for the nth year in a row and all that entails – the arguments over the washing up, TV remote wars and the random mid-week house parties? Then it is time to start looking for a house you can call your first home. Hunting for your home-to-be is the fun part of the whole house buying process, so here are a couple of things to think about when you start.
Location can be more important than the actual house
Whether you want to live in the rolling Scottish countryside or bustling city centre of Aberdeen, deciding where to live is key to being a happy first-time homeowner.
Talk with friends or family who live nearby the area you’re looking at and get their honest opinions. You’ll want to establish what the commute to your office is and if it fits your lifestyle. Does it have good running routes or a nearby gym? Have any of your neighbours moved in yet, and is there a sense of community? Is there a good atmosphere or local cafes/bars you could imagine yourself going to? Get a true feel for the area before buying – this should be a key part of your research.
While wine coolers, security gates, and big gardens might sound appealing in theory, they might not be right for you. Make sure you find a house that perfectly reflects your lifestyle. A huge garden might sound great in principle, but do you have the time to maintain it and will you use it frequently? If you’re going to rent out other rooms to your friends, do all the bedrooms fit a double bed? If you’re recently married or looking to get married, would you prefer a large kitchen or a spacious open plan kitchen/dining room for entertaining?
Each potential home you look at will have varying pros and cons, so you need to decide which are the most important to you and work out what your dream first home actually looks like.
Get a mix of advice from different sources
Once you start telling people you are on the hunt for a new home, you can expect friends and family to start coming to you with their well-intentioned advice – which is great! You can pull valuable and real-life guidance, including things you may never have thought of.
But balance these opinions and tips with advice from trusted experts, such as independent mortgage advisors, as well as do your own digging online. Some advice you get from family and friends could be out-dated or biased, so it’s always good to gather guidance from a mix of sources.