Even with all of the will and the professional mortgage help in the world, buying your first home can still be a minefield of figuring things out as you go. But once you’ve eventually moved in and let the dust settle, it’s much easier to reflect on the things you wish you’d have done differently.
We spoke to a number of people, to ask them about the things they would have liked to have known, before buying their first property. As a mortgage broker in Huddersfield, we had plenty of property contacts to ask.
If you’re about to take the plunge and become a homeowner, it may be beneficial to read some of their advice.
Here they are:
Mortgage broker says ‘Consider car finance carefully’
Benjamin Blyth, head of intermediary distribution at Darlington Building Society, believes that car finance can be an affordability ‘killer’.
He said: “This isn’t directly linked to property, but my number one advice to first time buyers is to stay away from car finance. It’s such an affordability killer, because you have £200-300 a month committed.”
Jonathan Moore, director at Maxwell Moore, agreed. He said:
“It isn’t just an affordability killer. It is a wealth killer too. £300 a month might sound affordable, but that is £3,600 a year, which is £10,800 over a typical 3-year PCP – and then you start again with nothing to show for it.
“Buy a decent second-hand car, either with savings or at worst with a traditional amortisation loan, and over time you’ll be massively better off. Don’t get sucked in by the marketing hype!”
P.s. here’s a blog which outlines the affordability checks a lender will look at.
Buying on your own can ‘set you up for life’
One key piece of advice was that buying on your own doesn’t have to be a scary prospect – and we have to agree.
Benjamin continued: “Do it alone if you have to. I’ve seen plenty of people buy as a couple and then the relationship goes sour. It’s worth the extra hard work to buy alone and set yourself for life.”
Joanne Jones, family law solicitor at Chadwick Lawrence added:
“From a family lawyer perspective, it’s important that you carefully consider a declaration of trust, if buying together. This records your intentions in relation to the sharing of the equity, should you split.”
Add up all of the renovation costs
You may be able to cover the mortgage, but can you afford to pay for the renovation work required too? If the property is in a poor condition, modernisation may be required.
Marie Urwin, commercial manager and credit risk officer at Darlington Building Society said:
“Don’t underestimate modernisation costs and get some quotes before you buy. Take a builder or family DIY genius with you to view to help point out the bits you might miss that will need doing. You might find it’s worth spending an extra £10-15k on another property upfront.”
Learn to stick to a budget
Monthly running costs can add up, so it’s important that you know you’ll be able to live there comfortably, once you’ve taken all overheads into consideration.
Alison Etherington, financial support officer at Darlington Building Society said:
“Make sure you understand the costs of actually running the house and learn to stick to a budget. The shiny new 48” TV to go in the corner is lovely to have, as is the flash holiday, but the roof over your head, gas, electricity, water and food in the fridge is much more important.
“I remember my first house, we completed in the February before we got married. On Christmas Day of the same year I realised between my husband and I we had the grand total of £80 in our accounts and the mortgage payment was due on the 28th. My husband got paid in the meantime so in reality it wasn’t an issue, but it really spooked me. In my role as a mortgage advisor I often used that as an analogy with first time buyers. Now in my role as an arrears advisor I often see that people live in such a disposable world that if they want it, they buy it, and forget about the priorities!”
Don’t forget about insurance
Marie continued: “Learn about home insurances upfront and don’t just sign up to any policy, just because you need to show you have it. I was guilty of this.”
We agree – home insurance is important. It’s not just about ticking a box either. The right insurance can make a big difference between sleeping well at night and being panic-stricken, in the instance that something goes wrong.
If you are looking for home insurance or mortgage broker, Huddersfield (the West Yorkshire area), please contact us for a no obligation, free consultation*:
Please note: Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. As with all insurance policies, conditions and exclusions will apply.
*There may be a fee for arranging a mortgage and the precise amount will depend on your circumstances.
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