Whilst I have previously spoken about some of the downsides of buying a house, what should people look out for if they are going to purchase a property?
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In the lives of most people, buying a house is a major purchase that involves a significant amount of money. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention and choose wisely while buying a house for the first time.
Buying a house is considered to be exciting as well as an emotional process. On the other hand, this process requires a lot of effort, money, and time from a person.
If you get carried away by the emotions or feel depressed due to the stress, you might be likely to make some mistakes that most home buyers make.
As the process of buying a home requires attention as said earlier, you must be able to deal with your emotions and always try to make the best choices.
As the process of buying a home requires attention as said earlier, you must be able to deal with your emotions and always try to make the best choices.
Along with that, you would have to consider the precautions, guidelines, complexities, and other important aspects. By doing so, you will be able to make decisions that are advantageous for you and your family.
Adding to that, you have to get the details right and be observant of the entire process from the starting till the end.
Moreover, this information is based on the information gathered from some reliable sources on the internet and information provided by people such as real estate agents, property managers, property experts, etc.
We will cover the details such as What to look for when buying a house, Things to look for when buying a house, Things to look at when buying a house, Important tips while buying a house, Mistakes made by people while buying a house, and House viewing checklist, which will make the process of buying a house become easier for you.
Therefore, it is highly likely that would find the information useful to you. So, without wasting any more time, let’s jump into our topic for today.
What are the aspects that you should look for when buying a house?
Conduct some research:
Nowadays, a lot of information is provided on the internet that is related to properties available in your region. Find the best online property portal that has some useful tools and notice the prices in your area. You must also take a look at the prices of the previously sold houses.
This will be able to provide you an awareness about the neighborhood, in which you want to buy a house.
Get some information from the real estate agent regarding why the property is on sale and how quickly can a sale take place (in case you want to resale the property).
Also, take a look at property sales in the locality using online property portals. Notice when the last sale was and check for the price of the sale.
In case you have kids, check for the details of the schools located around you, and ensure that they provide an excellent education to your kids.
It is better to know these details even if you are planning to have kids. It is better to know before itself or else you would have to another place after having kids for education purposes. You can also search for the details of the schools online.
Make use of property sites and compare the prices of the property you want with the prices of the properties listed in that specific locality.
Before you get involved entirely, you can be able to find information about mortgages with the help of an online mortgage broker like Habito.
Such online brokers will be able to provide details such as how much money could be borrowed by you and the best options that you have for getting a mortgage.
During this step, you should know the exact amount of money that can be borrowed by you.
Important things that you should look for when buying a house:
Coming to the ‘Things to look for when buying a house’, we have some useful information.
Observe the area during different days and at various times of the day as well as night for getting an exact idea about the neighborhood. This will make you know more than things than just listening to somebody.
Furthermore, visit during weekends as well to know what the local people are like, especially when they are home and not at work.
Take notice of the traffic and parking situation in that specific neighborhood. Try to visit during evening times to have a detailed idea as almost all the cars would be parked during that time.
Obtain information from the real estate agent as well, which includes the paring restrictions and guidelines in that area. Some areas might not allow specific vehicles, especially large vehicles.
Coming to one of the most important aspects, you should know about all the information regarding amenities such as schools, supermarkets, stores, shops, hospitals, gas stations, etc.
By knowing such useful information, you can have a better idea about the convenience of living in that particular area.
If you are from the UK, you might get the relevant information on criminal activity in that particular region by visiting the official police website. You can obtain such details by entering the postal code of the area in which you want to buy a house.
This will let you know about the crime rate, types of criminal activity, and the action taken by the police authorities.
Things that you should take a look at when buying a house:
Let us now have a look at the ‘Things to look at when buying a house’.
Being optimistic might not be a good thing while buying a house. You always have a keen eye on the negative aspects of buying a house.
You should pay attention to the most minute details as well such as noticing whether the house is on flat ground or on a steep slope. Problems may arise because of the slope during winter or while getting access to repairs or renovations.
As said before in the article, traffic is yet another aspect among the things to look at while buying a house. Property located on a busy road can cause problems while going to work or with noise pollution due to traffic sounds.
There is even availability of online tools such as Extrium, which will estimate the level of noise in a specific area when a person types in the postcode.
Take a look at the garden and check whether it meets with your requirements or it has issues such as being too big or overgrown trees, etc. While having a bigger garden might look amazing and attractive, it would require a lot of time and effort for maintaining it.
Check whether the roof is in good order, or else you would end up paying a lot of money for renovating the house. You should be more observant of even the small details and the workmanship.
The decorations should be checked and make sure everything is good. If not, estimate the money required for redecorating. In most cases, the general costs of redecorating a house would require a lot of money.
Also, check the carpets and know if they are okay or needed to be changed. Make sure that the electric boards are working and there are sufficient sockets in the house. Along with that, check whether the lights are working in each room.
Take a look at whether the central heating system is working perfectly and know when was the last time that the boiler was serviced. Check the number of radiators and whether they require any upgrades.
Inspect the walls for any dampening or discoloring as they are the signs that the walls are not in a good condition. Try to have a look at the places by moving the furniture as well, because some people might place furniture to hide such details.
Examine for water leakages in the kitchen, basement, etc. also, notice the ceiling for cracks, flaky walls, or stains caused by wetness.
The connectivity is yet another important feature among the things to look at while buying a house. Make sure that you have a signal on your cell phone regardless of being anywhere in the house.
It is better to check the signal strength of different vendors to get an exact idea about this. Also, inquire about the speed of a broadband connection and the providers in that area.
Explore the storage space & attic and know whether you would be able to have all the things you want in there. Also, know about the things that will be leftover by the seller as a part of the sale.
Finally, pay attention to the insulation, plumbing, water facility, drainage facility, and other types of important things to look at while buying a house.
Adding to that, you might have to talk with the seller as well as the real estate agents about some important things before you could buy a house. These things have been listed below:
What to ask the seller – First thing that you need to ask the seller is that, for how long they have been residing in that house.
If the seller was there for a short period of time, it could mean that they had some issues with the property or the locality and are selling the house for that very particular reason.
If the person has stayed there for a consistent amount of time, then it would mean that the chances are likely to be high for you to stay for many years without having any problems.
Ask the seller why they are moving from that house. If the seller is not able to come up with a valid explanation, then he or she might be moving out of the property because of some problems they are facing with it.
Inquire about the neighbors and know what type of people they are. Know the details such as whether they are noisy, whether have issues with the parking, etc.
This way you might get an idea of the problems, which you might have to face later. Also, take a quick peek around the neighborhood to know how the people around the house are like and how do they keep their houses.
Get an estimation about the details of property tax, utility tax, and council tax bills so that you can prepare yourself before itself.
Know about the renovations or improvements that the seller has made to their house. It is even better to know about all these details starting from the time when the seller has bought the house.
This will let you know how they were able to take care of their property. Gain information on the property listing and how long it has been listed for sale.
If the property is a flat, ask about the ground rent as well as the service charge. Know whether the property is on leasehold and if so, how many years are left on it.
Ask the seller what would be left for you as a part of the sale. Some people leave out furniture, lights, curtains, etc.
Let them know about the type of furniture and other things you have and ask them whether everything would be able to fit in perfectly. If possible, measure around the place by yourself and the things you have.
Think of yourself living in that house and imagine what would be the problems you think you might face. Ask the seller about those problems and whether or not do they have solutions.
Take pictures of the property and compare the house among the other choices you have for buying a house.
What to ask the real estate agent – Ask for the time period that the property has been on sale. Also, find out whether if the property was on sale previously by any other agents.
Inquire about the price of the property from the beginning of building the house and get an idea about the price variation. You can do this even better with the help of online tools such as the property log tool (available as a chrome extension).
Such tools let you know about the price change history and provide you an idea of whether the prices are likely to increase or decrease in the future.
Along with that, ask the agent how many people have viewed the property, the offers made on the property, and the offers that got declined. If most people have viewed the property and haven’t bought it, there might be a reason behind it.
Know about what the previous viewers had to say about the property.
We have discussed the ‘What to look for when buying a property’, ‘Things to look for when buying a property’, and ‘Things to look at when buying a property’ so far. Now, let us have a look at some tips while buying a house.
Important Tips while buying a house:
We have provided some information below that contains tips for first-time home buyers. These tips will help you to get prepared to buy, select a mortgage, shop for a home, and purchase a home.
‘Start Saving Money Early’ – it is better to save money early as buying a house involves various types of costs. These costs include Down payment, closing costs, and costs for moving in.
Depending on the type of mortgage chosen, the down payment for a house could start from an amount as low as 3%. However, it might be hard for some people even to pay an amount as low as 3%.
Therefore, it is better to giddy-up and save as much as possible to ensure that you will save enough money required to pay the down payment amount.
Closing costs are the fees and charges levied by the lender in order to finalize your mortgage. This could range somewhere around 2% to 5%.
You can save some money on closing costs by checking various listings and shopping around for homes.
Just buying a house won’t make the process complete, there will be expenses for you to move into your new home. Some examples of such types of costs include repairs, upgrades, furnishings, etc.
‘How much can you afford’ – It is better to know about how much money can you afford before you start shopping around for a house.
Online tools will help you calculate this on the basis of information such as your earnings, down payment, credit history, the location in which you want to buy a house, etc.
‘Maintain a good credit score’ – It is necessary to have a good credit score while qualifying for a mortgage. Otherwise, you couldn’t get low rates of interest on the mortgage offered by lenders.
Get free copies and keep regular track of your credit score offered by the three important credit bureaus, which are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Make sure everything is clear and there are no errors.
Pay your bills on time and always try to keep the credit card loan or any other loans as low as possible. Always keep your cards open, as closing a card will lead to an increase in the portion of the credit used by you, which can affect your credit score.
‘Explore the available mortgage options’ – different mortgages have different interest rates and vary in terms of down payment. Always try to choose a mortgage lender that you find suitable.
Also, if possible, choose a mortgage term that has a low time period rather than opting for mortgage terms having a higher time period. For example, the interest rate is low on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage when compared to a 30-year mortgage.
However, you should consider the monthly installment as well because mortgages of lower term periods will require a higher amount to be paid as a monthly installment.
‘Research with the help of assistance programs’ – Generally, many states and cities provide first-time homebuyers programs, with the help of which, a person can be able to obtain mortgages that have low-interest rates.
Moreover, assistance is provided to the individual by these programs for the down payment as well as for the closing costs.
‘Compare the fees and rates of mortgage’ – It is suggested by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that a person should request estimates for a mortgage from different lenders in order to compare interest rates and other fees.
‘Preapproval letter’ – A mortgage preapproval letter is nothing but a lender’s offer on the amount that can be provided to you as a loan (under certain terms and conditions).
People who have a preapproval letter are considered as genuine buyers by the real estate agents and the sellers. You should apply for a preapproval when you decide to shop around.
A lender will make a credit pull and require some documents to verify your income, net worth, debts, etc. You can apply for a preapproval from more than one lender and this won’t impact your credit score if you do it within 30 days.
‘Choosing a real estate agent’ – a fine real estate agent will help you look in the market for the best deals on homes, which in particular would be suiting all your needs.
It is better to know about the agent’s experience, especially how they were able to help first-time home buyers. Along with that, ask them how they might help you in finding a home that suits your requirements.
‘House and neighborhood’ – Choose the type of home that will fulfill all your requirements. Not only you, but the house you choose must also meet the needs of your family.
Pay attention to the neighborhood as well, specifically on the amenities, types of people in your locality, crime rate, etc.
The things to look at while buying a house, which were mentioned earlier in the article might be able to provide you an idea.
‘Concentrate on the budget’ – In order to avoid stress (financially), it is better for you to choose a house which is below your budget or is of the same.
‘Explore more’ – Try to have a walkaround of the house to be specific about what you are getting. If you don’t have access, you can even try the 3D home tours that have been made available to deal with the COVID 19 pandemic situation.
‘Home Inspection’ – It is even better to have a home inspection to have a clear view of the house. They might even cover the details that you might have missed. Make sure that you get the best home inspection service rather than opting for a standard inspection.
‘Negotiation’ – Always ask the seller if the price of the house can be lowered a bit. Try to be a little bit consistent by pointing the aspects such as the cost that you would have to pay, renovations, etc.
This might change their mind and lead to the possibility of lowering the price than stated originally.
‘Home Insurance’ – Almost all the lenders would need you to buy homeowner’s insurance before getting to close a deal. Make sure that you buy enough amount of home insurance so that in case of damage (if any was to happen), you can cover the total rebuilding costs of the house.
Now, let us have a look at the common mistakes that most people make while buying a house.
Mistakes made by people while buying a house:
- You should always be thorough about your budget, mortgage, costs involved apart from buying, and many other aspects as you should not go for a house that you can’t afford.
You should also make sure that your income will be able to complete the entire payment within the agreed-upon terms of the mortgage.
- Mortgage preapproval will let you have an idea about how much you can afford. It will also make you look like a serious buyer in the eyes of agents and sellers.
- Explore all the available options you have while buying a house. You will regret it if you know there was an open offer on a house which is far better, after buying a house.
- The services of an agent would be far more beneficial when compared to you going out by yourself and checking the houses that are available.
- Pay attention to details as you might be needing upgrades or renovations. This is not something to be underestimated as you might end paying a lot of money if you ignore this.
- Don’t get desperate on overbidding on the house thinking that you may lose the offer if you don’t. Remember what your budget is and try to buy a house at a reasonable price.
- You should not rush while making an offer, even though you have to act fast. It is better to inspect and make sure that the house fits all your needs.
We are providing a checklist for you to make things even easy and you don’t have to deal with the hassle if you can’t remember the useful information given earlier.
House viewing checklist:
This checklist for viewing a house will consist of sub-categories which are general house viewing, checking every room, doors and windows, garden, outer brickwork, roof, neighborhood & locality, and additional details that should be considered.
So, let us have a brief yet detailed checklist for viewing a house.
‘General House Viewing’:
- Check how old the electric system, central heating system, number of sockets, and wiring details.
- Check if there are any alarm systems for burglars or fire. Make sure that you can be able to install an alarm system if you wanted to.
- Check whether the building will fit in all the household items you have. Also, make sure that you have an adequate amount of storage space available.
- Check for the signal strength, broadband facility, and other important connection details.
- Check the parking and the garage and know how many vehicles you can have.
- Check whether if there are any renovations required, if there are any, discuss this with the seller and ask them for a price discount if possible.
- Check whether any renovation or work has been done on the property that still has a valid warranty.
- Check whether you can have pets and the requirements to have them.
‘Checking every room’:
- Make sure all the switches work properly and there are connections for electronic accessories.
- Check the condition of the flooring, carpets, and any other interior decorations.
- Check for any bad conditions such as dampness or cracks.
- Check for the storage in each room individually.
- Check the fireplaces and additional chimneys.
- Check the taps and drains while making sure all of them work.
- Ask for the appliances and fittings that would be left by the seller as a part of the sale.
- Check if there are any built-in appliances in the kitchen such as ovens or exhaust fans.
- Check the light and ventilation in each room and what can be done for the rooms that don’t have enough light or air.
- Check for the details such as the condition of geysers, hot water taps, water pressure, flush, etc.
- Look out for the wallpaper and the plaster available in places all over the room in each room.
- Check behind furniture and make sure everything is clean and perfect.
- Check the size of each room and what items could be kept.
- Check how many bathrooms are there and make sure that they are enough for all the members of your family.
- Know the maintenance required and the upgrades that are to be made.
- Check whether the garden is private or is being shared between two houses.
- Make sure that the garden gets an adequate amount of sunlight.
- Check for unwanted plants and trees.
- Check if there is a possibility for the garden to overgrow into the road or into other houses.
- Examine the age of the bricks and their condition.
- Make sure that there are no cracks or holes in the brick walls.
- If there are any changes or renovations made to the brickwork, make sure everything is perfect now.
- Check if you have complete protection from the climatic conditions.
- You should observe and make it clear that are no cracks or missing tiles.
- Check whether the chimneys are okay and don’t need any repair works.
- Know where the rainwater will go and confirm all the gutters and drainages are in good condition.
‘Neighborhood and Locality’:
- Know about the neighbors by asking the seller and confirm that they won’t be a problem for you.
- Check for the nearby schools, hospitals, grocery stores, and public transport.
- Investigate a little bit about the crime rate in that particular locality.
- Check the traffic conditions in the locality and how busy can it be during the rush hour. Also, make sure you won’t get affected by the noise of traffic.
‘Additional details to consider’:
- Know about the taxes, and other charges if any.
- Check whether the house is on a lease or is a freehold property.
- If on a lease, know about the ground rent.
- If it’s flat, know about the years left on lease, service charge, outdoor space, noise, etc.
- Check for the property’s EPC (energy performance certificate) rating.
Buying a house can be a rather stressful process as we mentioned before. But with the details provided by us on the topics What to look for when buying a house, Things to look for when buying a house, Things to look at when buying a house, Important tips while buying a house, Mistakes made by people while buying a house, and House viewing checklist will make the process easier for you.
That being said, we hope that you were able to find the relevant information in this article for which you have been looking for.
If you require the services of a professional financial advisor or a wealth manager, you can benefit from the expert financial services offered by us.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article and we wish you luck with the homebuying process.