Things I Wish I Knew When Buying My First Home

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Things I Wish I Knew When Buying My First Home

Here at BGC we know the process of buying a home can be an emotional and often stressful one, so we decided to debunk some of the issues you’ve told us worry you about the process.

It’s meant to be a milestone, and for today’s young first time buyers, a massive achievement. Something to brag about down the pub or on your Insta page. You saved up for a deposit, and you’re ready to make the move from renting to owning, but really, that’s just the beginning.

On mortgages
Having someone to make sure the process is easily explained, and that you’re getting the right deal for you is so important. If you’re getting a mortgage for the first time, it’s a massive commitment, and there are often loads of options so you want to make sure someone has your best interests in mind. Advice from a broker is free – that’s right, no cost to you – so don’t worry about making that appointment and start asking lots of questions!

On property
When you’ve found the house, yes, THE HOUSE, what on earth do you do next!? Ensuring you get a survey will give you all the information you need about your future property. In fact, if you’re getting a mortgage, you have to have a survey. It’s about knowing whether the boiler, gas and electrics work, as well as being helpful for when you move in. It can also affect the offer you make on the property. If things aren’t up to scratch, you can legitimately lower your offer. Don’t forget that things like damp or structural issues may affect whether you want to make an offer at all. Often ignoring these issues can mean significant time and money spent down the line. A Surveyor will be able to check this for you, along with possible building issues that could make a difference to your new home. If in doubt, speak to your Estate Agent – they’ll have the knowledge here to help guide you.

On knowing the area
Nowhere is that far away from where we already live on the Isle of Man, that’s the beauty of it! But deciding to move to a new part of our Island can be difficult, especially if it means you can’t nip round your Nan’s house for tea as easily!  Seriously though, make sure you visit the new area at different times of day. That idyllic, peaceful estate you visited in the day might have a rowdy pub, active nightlife, or (worse still) a street full of camper vans! Getting a sense of who is in the area, what the traffic is like at different times, and being able to imagine yourself living there is important. Consider what is important to you, and walk around to find those amenities. And if you still like it, go and have a second viewing.

Talking to neighbours is a good idea, if people are willing to talk to you. If you are moving into a flat, getting a sense of whether the communal areas are cleaned and well kept, and who else is living in the building is always a good thing. If the neighbours say the management company don’t keep up their end of the bargain, that may make a difference to whether you want to buy at all.

On asking stupid questions
Look, no question is a stupid question. Period. We all know that buying can be a difficult process, especially when it’s your first time.. There are so many options, and this will likely be the biggest purchase you have ever made. Don’t worry. But please make sure you ask all the questions you need to feel in control. If areas are glossed over, make sure you find someone willing to explain them to you. Please do your research, speak to your Estate Agent (who should be very willing to help) and ask other people who have been through it. And look, quite frankly if something isn’t going the way you expect, check on it. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Here’s the common sense bit, sorry. So firstly, make sure you know how much you’re expecting to pay for different services, and that everything is in writing. Please do not sign things without checking the small print. Always double check costings and bills. Additional costs can really add up, so make sure you’re not being charged more than you should be. A key point is as a buyer, you don’t pay the Estate Agent. That’s the seller’s responsibility.

On Money
Buying a home is an expensive business, and there are likely to be hidden costs. Best advice I can give you is to try and calculate as much as you can in advance, pricing up different services you might need, like surveys and legal fees. Consider how much stuff you have when moving. Your Estate Agent should know, quite accurately, what these costs are likely to be So ask them. Then don’t forget insurance. On exchange of contracts, you will need to insure your new home. That’s rebuild costs (confirmed on the survey) and your own contents thereafter. Here’s a useful link to a checklist you might like to download.

It might feel like once you have saved for your deposit, your work is done, but continue saving at the same rate whilst you are going through the buying process – the more you have saved, the easier it will be to give the go ahead for works to be done. Have a plan and a budget and always know where your money is going.

Most of all, try and enjoy the process. And once you complete and move in, it’ll all  be so worthwhile!

Call me on 01624 645555 or e-mail

Tim Groves
Black Grace Cowley





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