Whether you already own a house and you’re looking to upgrade or downsize, or you’re about to step onto the property ladder for the first time, it will always be an exciting but stressful time - and that’s the truth, no matter how many times you do it. They do say that moving can be one of the worst things possible for your mental health, and when you start to think about all the different cogs that need to turn at the same time to make it happen, you can see why that might be the case.
However, although the move itself will probably be stressful, and although there are always going to be lots of moving parts (literal ones as well as figurative ones), if you think everything through before you even start looking at houses, let alone actually put an offer in on one, you’ll be able to minimise the stress and questions you might have as much as possible. With that in mind, here are some of the things you’ll need to think about before buying a house.
One of the most important things to think about before you buy a new home is your budget - you’ll need to know how much you can afford when it comes to your mortgage, and you can’t forget about your deposit either - that’s going to be absolutely necessary, and although the percentage will change depending on the property and the lender, about ten percent is roughly what you need to have saved up.
Make sure you take a close look at your financial situation, including your income, monthly expenses, and any debts you might be paying off - once you have a better idea of what you’ve got left over, you’ll know what you can comfortable afford when it comes to your mortgage. Of course, you’ll also need to make sure you can get a mortgage in the first place, so it’s wise to make an appointment with a mortgage broker sooner rather than later - they might even be able to find you some great deals that save you money, helping your budget stretch further.
When you buy a house, it’s not a quick and easy process, and nor is it a cheap one (although there are people who can help reduce the costs, including the mortgage broker mentioned above), so you don’t want to make a mistake - you want to choose the right property to buy and enjoy living in. One of the most important elements of getting this right has to be the location, so that’s something you definitely need to consider when you’re viewing properties and thinking about which one’s going to suit you the best.
If you’re working in an office that you have to travel to each day, for example, your commute is going to have to be part of your thinking - do you want a shorter commute or are you happy to have a longer one if the house is the one you’re in love with? Then you’ll need to think about things like the local crime rate, amenities, road links, and perhaps schools too. It’s often best to choose the location first and then look for houses in it rather than hope for the best when you start your research after you’ve already found a house you like the look of.
Yes, you’ve only just started to think about buying a house, so you’re probably not thinking about selling it again just yet, but the fact is, you should be. Buying a house is an investment, so you’ll need to consider what the resale value could be and if there’s anything you can do to improve it.
Look at how house prices have changed in the area you’re thinking of buying in - do they historically rise or are they up and down or, worse, do they tend to fall a lot? You’ll also need to think about what your potential new home has that another buyer would like in the future - how many bedrooms does it have, what is the kitchen like, is there a good outside space, and so on? If not, is there anything you can do to make it more appealing (the great thing about that is that you’ll enjoy living there as well, so it’s a win-win)?
The mortgage is definitely going to be the biggest cost you’ll need to think about when you buy a house, but that’s not the only thing you’ll be paying for each month. Don’t forget there’s all your electricity, gas, and water, as well as your council tax and insurance.
On top of that, owning a house comes with a lot of responsibility, and part of that means you have to keep it well-maintained - that can cost money too. It’s wise to ensure your budget can withstand all these costs as they’re easy to forget but hard to handle if you’ve not thought things through.