Buying your first house can be an exciting thing, but at the same time, its the ultimate cost, so this can also come with stress and confusion, especially for first-time home buyers right now.
While rising house prices are beneficial to some, they are becoming an extremely costly step for others. With so much money invested in their potential forever home, there are a few things first-time buyers should be aware of before making such a commitment.
Obtaining a mortgage can be intimidating for some, but there are several steps you can take to improve your chances. Examples include:
The higher your credit score, the better; one way to raise it is to make purchases with a credit card and then pay it off within 30 days. There are free methods for checking your credit score available online, such as Experian.
Understanding how it works and improving your credit will improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage.
There are options to help people save for a house, such as ISA’s that every year will add interest to your account if you meet all the terms and conditions. The government has also offered to add 25% every year if you don’t withdraw from the ISA until you’re buying your first home.
The aim is to generally save 10% or more of the house price; however, there are some 5% mortgages available, but they tend to come with higher interest rates and stricter criteria.
Locking in your interest rate with a long-term fix will add some security if the interest rate rises.
Do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you can think of before making a decision on a house. Here are some suggestions for what you should know.
- How long has it been available?
- How many offers has it received?
- What renovations have been done?
- How old are the house and the boiler?
- What is included in the price of the house?
There are no good or bad questions, and they will not only help you find the best value for money, but they will also teach you what you clearly want and do not want. Because not every home is ready to live in or to your liking, look for properties with potential and resale options.
There are potential issues with houses that a first-time buyer may not notice; thus, hiring a professional to conduct a home inspection before closing the deal will ensure you are not buying into something that will be a problem later and will reveal any structural or maintenance issues.
Depending on the findings, you may be able to negotiate repairs with the seller or move on to a better option.
You should be aware of the various costs associated with purchasing a house, including but not limited to:
- Fees for the title search
- Loan organisation
- Property taxes
You must review the closing documents provided by your lender to understand these costs before closing, as this acts as a binding contract.
Before you move, there are things you need to prepare and sort out, such as:
This will make the transition easier when moving from your current place.
Prevent Property Fraud
Fraud continues to be a huge threat to first-time buyers, and its important to know what to look out for when making such big life decisions. Two different kinds of property fraud include:
This occurs when someone dishonestly gains control over a property by manipulating foreign documents in a real estate transaction, which can result in financial losses and legal complications for the rightful owner.
Its important to take precautions and not let others take advantage of you as you’re new to the market. Here are some tips to stay vigilant:
- Verify the identity of all parties involved.
- Secure your personal information, such as the channels through which you share sensitive information, and be cautious about sharing it in the first place.
- Check the property title for any irregularities.
- Verify property documents
- Use a reputable real estate agent and attorney.
If you ever have doubts about the legitimacy of a transaction or the parties involved, seek professional advice and assistance to protect your interests.
Property Title Fraud
Also known as deed fraud or title theft, this occurs when a party involved fraudulently transfers ownership of a property into their name without the rightful owner’s knowledge or consent. This type of fraud can result in significant financial losses and legal complications for the rightful property owner.
Its crucial to only work with trustworthy and reputable people. Here are some things to be aware of as a first-time buyer:
- Check property title regularly.
- Register for property title alerts.
- Secure your personal information.
- Use strong passwords and other security measures.
- Beware of phishing scams, which are unsolicited emails, calls, or mailings related to your property attempting to gather sensitive information.
- Verify your property transaction.
If you become a victim of property title fraud, the consequences can be severe, so it is critical to take preventive measures, whether you are a first-time buyer or have been in the game for a while.
Time To Relax
Now that’s all said and done and you’re taking the right measures, its important to savour the moment, whether its an achievement to share with a partner or by yourself to unwind and start turning this new property into a home. Crack open a premixed cocktail and soak it all in, because you’re a successful first-time home owner.
*Article written by Terrance Danielson.