Buying your first house is always an exciting and daunting process, especially when you’ve been carefully saving for years. It’s a big decision for anyone to make, which is why it’s essential to make sure you have the right people around you providing help and advice. As experts in residential real estate, we’ve put together our E&V guide to navigating your first property purchase.
Calculating your budget is an obvious first step, but it’s more complex than you might think at first. The most important thing is to be honest with yourself, not only with how much you can afford on that initial down payment, but also with regards to your monthly payments and expenditure. It’s surprisingly easy to convince yourself that you’ll live frugally in exchange for a bigger or better home, but eventually this will catch up with you. You don’t want to end up struggling to pay your bills, so always err on the side of caution.
To confirm that you’ve got your sums straight, visit a financial adviser or bank to determine the size of the mortgage you’ll be able to get. You should do this before you even start browsing through properties, as it ensures that you won’t get your heart broken by falling in love with a home considerably outside your price range. Take the figure you’re given as your absolute maximum, as you don’t want to find yourself dipping into savings that you’ll need to cover the costs of moving and settling in.
Once you know what your limits are, it’s time to find a real estate agent. They will be the person helping you make the largest purchase you’re likely to have made so far, so take the time to shop around before deciding. Prepare for your first meeting by drawing up a list of requirements for your future home. Divide this into essentials and desirables, keeping your budget firmly in mind. You may even want to organise your list in order of importance, to make it easier to compare properties. Once you’ve discussed your requirements and budget with your agent, they should be able to start matching you up with potential homes.
When the viewings begin, you should keep both your wishlist and more practical considerations at the forefront of your mind. A property may appear perfect, but if major repair work is required or it’s in an inconvenient location, actually living there can be less than ideal. Always ask the estate agent about the current owners’ reasons for selling. (Article: “Why a real estate agent is essential”) Not only can this give you a valuable insight into the state of the property and the previous owners’ experience, but it may also give some indication as to how much room there will be for negotiation on the price. Skilled and experienced agents will be able to help broker a deal that suits everyone, keeping you informed throughout the process.
If you’re ready to take that first step onto the property ladder, contact Engel & Völkers for friendly, authoritative help. We work with everyone from established international property investors to nervous first-time buyers, using our global network and rigorous training to ensure that all our customers get the same high standard of service. For more information, just visit the E&V website.