Searching for your first home can be an incredibly exciting adventure. If you’ve finally saved enough money for a deposit or you’re well on your way, finding a property that you want to buy is one of the best parts of the journey. If you’re new to the property market or this is your first experience of house hunting, you may be unsure of the sort of questions you need to be asking yourself. These factors will help to narrow your search down, leaving you with properties that are best suited to you and your current situation. So, what are the biggest factors you should consider when looking for your first home?
How much can you afford?
The biggest factor that will impact many other aspects of the process is your financial situation. The key question is how much can you realistically afford? To get the answer you’ll need to consider your individual or joint income, how much you have available for a mortgage deposit and your wider financial standing. There are handy mortgage calculators that can do most of the hard work for you, but you won’t know exactly until you start applying for a mortgage. Once you know how much you can borrow, you’ll be able to understand the price range you should be looking in.
What type of property do you want?
Within your estimated budget, you’ll then have to consider what sort of property you want to buy. Would you prefer an apartment, terraced house or semi-detached? Would you like to live in a new build house or a more traditional property? If you’re unsure, do some browsing and arrange some viewings to determine what you prefer.
Where would you like to live?
Another critical question that you’ll need to ask yourself is where would you like to live? Of course, your budget will have an influence in this choice and may ultimately determine where you end up buying a property. You’ll be able to get more for your money if you’re willing to look in less desirable locations, or you can prioritise location - potentially limiting yourself to smaller or more neglected properties. Carefully consider your work commitments and potential commute because this can have a serious impact on your quality of life and job satisfaction.
How long would you like to be in the property?
Perhaps a less essential factor to consider is how long you’d like to stay in your new home. If you’re just looking for a way on to the property ladder, then you may be willing to look past certain imperfections or compromises you’d have to make in buying a certain property. On the other hand, if you’re looking for somewhere to be your home for many years to come, you may want to hold out to find the right one for you.
Searching for your first home can be exhilarating, but remember to ask yourself the right questions and carefully think through each option before making a decision.