The journey to owning a property for us was a hard and long process but rewarding in the end. It was one of our main goals because paying rent felt like we were paying someone else’s mortgage. I learnt a lot along the way and will share this in upcoming blogs. The blogs will include information on costs to expect and how to navigated the whole process.
Speak to a professional
Seeking professional advice early on from mortgage advisors or bankers gives you access to information that may not necessarily be available on search engines. It also enables you to have a realistic view of the whole process and you can ask specific questions.
Mortgage advisors helped us to understand how much we could borrow and the deposit required. They also explained the different products that were available and how they worked. This helped us calculate the cost of a house we could afford. Personal bankers also explained to us what they consider when calculating affordability which they use to decide how much mortgage amount to offer. At this point we knew we had to pay of all the small debts we had in order to improve our affordability and get favourable rates.
Affordability is how much money you are left with after you have paid all your key expenditure.
We also started visiting different developments and asked the sales staff questions about the houses. This gave us an insight into some of the hidden costs that might crop up, what to expect when buying a new built house and how the pricing worked.
Do some research and look at different houses on the market
Looking at different houses in different areas helps you to understand what you can get and what to look for. This is especially important if you are looking to buy a newly built house because developers have different styles. When my husband and I were looking for a house, I fell in love with the 2nd house we saw, 3 months later we saw a different house, by a different developer which suited us better. Looking at the different houses also enabled us to compare the quality of the finishes, the extra packages the developers include in the sale and the amenities in the areas. It is also important to have a list of priorities to look for i.e. good schools nearby, distance from the shopping mall or train station.
It is very important to do your own research regarding the area you are looking to live in. Sales staff are there to sale properties, therefore it is important to collaborate everything they tell you. We visited a development that was 5 minutes away from where we lived at the time. As part of the sales pitch, the staff gave us some misleading information about the train service in the area which was geared towards selling the flat.
Seek advice from friends who are on the ladder
Experience is the best teacher! Asking for advice from friends who have bought houses is another great way to get information. They will give you first-hand information of how they dealt with the whole process, what they expected and what was actually delivered. When we moved into our house I wasn’t expecting to still be reporting back snagging issues to the developers a year on. If I had received this information before-hand I would have realigned my expectations accordingly.
When starting the process, the above information can help you to effectively plan and to know roughly what to expect. It also motivated us to save for the deposit as we felt like we had set realistic goals.