Buying your first home doesn’t have to be a stressful process – if you know what to look for from the outset. With the proper planning beforehand, you can get your dream property in no time at all.

So, before you start speed scrolling down Rightmove, here are the essential steps to buying your first home to ensure you get it right, first time.

1. Think about affordability when buying your first home

First, check out your credit and financing options. Use a reputable agency to get a free credit report. Your score will be based on payment history, debt and the length and type of credit. If you find any errors in the report, it is definitely worth resolving these before you approach a mortgage lender. This is because the higher your credit score, the better the interest rate on a loan.

You can use online calculators to get a rough indication of what you can borrow based on annual income, monthly debits and the amount you have saved for a deposit for example. It’s also worth discussing with the sales team at a new development or a mortgage broker to get a true picture of what you can afford.

You could also consider getting a loan amount pre-approved in order to enhance your negotiating position once you find the home of your dreams.

2. Understand the costs of owning and maintaining a home

Don’t just consider the cost of your house – factor in the outgoings you will face such as insurance, heating, Council Tax, rates, telecoms and broadband. Unless you are buying a new home, you may also need to consider any repairs or improvements needed and in future. The reality of owning a property is that there will nearly always be maintenance costs for its upkeep.

You can also check to see if they are signed up to New Homes Quality Board (NHQB). They are an organisation that sets a high standards for developers in terms of the quality of both the product and the service you receive.

If you opt for a second-hand home, you will need to keep an eye out for structural defects, such as any cracks, as well as the overall quality of doors, windows and roof. You should also consider heat retention and noise elimination, as well as issues such as water pressure and electrics.

Buying a new home also means that you could also save a significant amount of money on energy bills, as new builds are built to modern high energy-efficiency standards.

3. Are there any incentives when buying your first home?

As a first-time buyer, it’s always worth checking to see if there are any schemes available from the Government, or first home scheme incentives from the developer. Popular schemes include Stamp Duty payments, mortgage contributions or Key Worker schemes.

4. Location, Location, Location

Set out your wish list. How much space do you need – indoors and outdoors? Are there any layout requirements, features and finishes you are seeking? Do you need to be near home, a particular school district and what amenities, such as facilities and green spaces are a must-have nearby?

It’s often useful to start with a wide net in terms of the location. Start your search online but then get out and visit a few to narrow down the search. Remember; don’t forget to ask advice from friends, family and estate agents. The reality is that you will probably need to adjust your requirements as your home search continues, as you might discover it’s worth sacrificing a bedroom to afford your desired location.

As you’re likely to be buying your first home as an investment for your future, always try to let your head rule as well as your heart. You can check resale values in the area online and on the specific property itself.

Once you decide where you want to be, ensure you do a comparison of what’s available locally. Have a walk around the area and, where possible, try to meet the potential neighbours for a chat, it will give you a real feel for the area and cover subjects the estate agents won’t tell you, for example, any issues with on-street parking.

5. Seal the Deal and get packing!

Once you find your dream home, it’s time to make your offer and agree a deal.

If you are buying a brand new home, you will not need a survey and you will have the peace of mind of the warranty as a guarantee. However, for any “pre-loved” home, it is money very well spent. Having an expert confirm that it is structurally sound is advisable and likely to be a pre-requisite of your mortgage provider.

After that your to-do list will still be daunting but, hopefully, it won’t be too long before you are heading towards completion, booking the removal company and getting that bubbly on ice!

Contact Graven Hill today and buy your first home If you are ready to take the first steps to buying your first home, contact the Graven Hill Sales team today or browse our available homes. We offer a range of house sizes available depending on your requirements and affordability, including: · 2-bedroom homes · 3-bedroom homes · 4-bedroom homes · 5-bedroom homes