They say that buying a house is one of the most stressful experiences we can go through and there’s no doubt it’s a major life event. It’s an aspirational purchase for most of us and we’re brought up to want the element of security that in theory owning a house should give. But buying a house has been getting harder and harder over time, with more people being precluded from the possibility of homeownership.
This is largely due to the significant rises in property values in recent years – rises which have not occurred congruent to rises in annual wages or household incomes. Put simply, houses are more expensive and less people can afford to join the ladder. This makes reaching the milestone of eligibility for a mortgage an especially impactful one today. But what happens after being accepted for a mortgage?
If it is your first time buying a home, you may be unfamiliar with the house buying process altogether. In particular, choosing a property can be much more complex than it may initially seem. There are various different things you need to consider before you settle on a property and put a deposit down in order to ensure your decision is the right one and that your new home will serve you for years to come. Here are some factors to consider.
Budget and Mortgage Offer
If only money grew on trees but first and foremost, you will need to consider your budget. If you are actively looking for a property, chances are you already have a mortgage in principle – which will give you a clear idea of your budget range, and what you have available.
While it can be tempting to look beyond your budget before you start your mortgage application, the additional financial burden can be catastrophic, and especially so in these times of economic uncertainty. Staying within budget is essential.
Location, Location, Location
We didn’t have many requirements when house-hunting, but staying within half an hour from Central London was essential. Location is absolutely key to your home-buying decision, for a number of reasons. Too much compromise on location in choosing your home can make life unnecessarily difficult for you, while certain location-specific qualities might not be what you desire in your day-to-day life.
We both work in Central London so transport links for us both are absolutely crucial and for me, there’s no point needing to rely on public transport only to have to get a bus or drive to the station in the first place. Living by a train station can give you swifter access to trains to Kings Cross, enabling you to access any part of Central London from there.
If you’re thinking more long-term and hoping to buy a property that isn’t just a stepping stone to the next one then future family may be part of that consideration. In this case, you would want to know that local schools are of a quality you are comfortable with, and that the neighbourhood is safe and appropriate enough for them to grow up in. Most of my friends have moved further afield since having children, either to be closer to family or for a better quality of life.
Age and Condition
Lastly, but no less importantly, comes the quality and condition of the property itself. We had every type of survey done in the process of buying our home and there were still plenty of surprises (expensive ones too!) that weren’t unearthed. Often, the condition of a property is only truly revealed by the survey your conveyancing solicitor orders during the buying process – but there are hallmarks you can look for. Older houses are more likely to suffer structural issues and subsidence, while newer properties can be unknown quantities with regard to quality.
If you’re looking to buy a house in 2023 then I wish you all the best, it will hopefully be one of the best things you’ve ever done.
Post in collaboration.