Buying your first home is likely the biggest purchase and one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, so it makes sense to do a bit of thinking, researching and planning in preparation. If you go in with your eyes wide open and having considered all factors carefully, you may land an investment that could set you up securely for the rest of your life. Here are a few factors to consider first before jumping into the property game.
Fix up your finances
Get your finances organised first before finding the new home of your dreams. Working this way around will help shape your property search in terms of what you can afford. First-time buyers will need a deposit saved, plus extra for all the legal and practical aspects of moving. It’s hard to be seriously considered as a buyer without a mortgage agreement in principle – a note that shows the maximum you would be allowed to borrow from a lender – so approaching lenders for this in advance is a must. An independent mortgage broker or financial advisor can help you find the best deals for your specific circumstances.
Decide on the best area for your budget
Your budget will start to dictate what you can afford and where. You may get more property for your money in certain areas, but consider how living perhaps further away from work or family might impact your life overall and try to strike a balance between affordability and practicality. It’s a good idea to narrow your search down to a particular area that ticks most of your boxes and where you know you can afford. It’s a good idea to consider any up-and-coming areas that are becoming more popular and where property values may increase in the future.
Set up a property alert
Property searches start online these days, so make websites work hard for you, and cut out the constant searching through pages and pages of listings, by creating an alert for properties that match your area and specific criteria. You will then get emails through at least weekly, if not more, of all the latest listings to browse in one place.
Approach a local estate agent
Don’t rely solely on the online channels but strike up a working relationship with a reliable and reputable estate agent, such as Vanilla Square, with knowledge on the area you’d like to live. We have extensive experience of buying, selling and letting property in Glasgow and the clearer you can be with us about what you are looking for, as well as what budget you have, the better we will be able to approach you with properties that are a good match. If you are on our database of active buyers, you may well hear about new properties before they are are even on the market. When it comes to putting in an offer, we can steer you towards a figure that’s a true reflection of the local market, which could possibly be different from the asking price.
Look for potential to add value
You may be looking for a property in move-in condition which requires little in the way of work or improvement. On the other hand, you might want a home that can change and grow along with your plans for the future. If so, keep this in mind when you start to view properties, noting where value could be added with internal or external renovations, as well as potential extension or conversion projects.
Consider transport and amenities
It’s not only the bricks and mortar to consider, how many bedrooms and the state of the bathroom. You need to identify whether the area where the property sits will be ideal for your current life set-up or whether it’s worth any compromises. The big ones are commuter distance to work and transport links as well as the quality and convenience of local amenities. Aspects like who your neighbours would be and the community feel of an area can also have a big impact on your life, so consider these factors too.
Future family plans? Check out schools
A property may suit your needs now but cast your mind into 3, 5, 10 years’ time – does it still fit? Do you plan to have family? And would you need to move again to be in a good school catchment area, or are there good schooling options already nearby? It can pay off now to do a bit of research, saving you time, hassle and money later on.
The importance of second viewings
It’s unlikely you’ll be ready to make an offer after a single viewing. Buying a home is a huge expense – likely the biggest you’ll make- so it makes sense to be as sure as possible. Second viewings, ideally at a different time of day, can shed light on aspects of the property you hadn’t noticed before, plus it gives you a chance to take a closer look around and ask more detailed questions. If you are satisfied after a second viewing, now is the time to get the ball rolling and put an offer in!
Vanilla Square – highly personal sales and lettings! Whether selling or letting property, you will always be liaising with one of our business partners, which makes our service that much more responsible and approachable. When you instruct us, your property will reach a wider audience as we are one of the few agents who are present on all the major property portals to offer sellers and landlords maximum exposure. If you’re looking to buy, sell, rent or lease your property, or you’re simply considering the idea, contact us by calling 0141 229 0210 or pop into our new office at 711 Great Western Road. One of our partners will be delighted to help and provide you with impartial, expert advice.