With the ups and downs of 2016 causing uncertainty for many, it might feel that owning your own home is even further away than ever before. As we say goodbye to 2016, and welcome the change that 2017 will inevitably bring, you might be closer to stepping on the property ladder and securing your first home than you think.
Top house buying tips
Whilst we all might be feeling slightly sluggish after the Christmas festivities, there’s no better time to be planning the year ahead and getting the wheels in motion to begin house hunting. Spring is a time of change, and as there’s no bigger change in your life than moving house, it seems only fitting to plan for a new home at this time of year.
Put together a timeline of your move so you can identify any months throughout the year that might work best for you. Perhaps you want to tie in your house move with your children changing schools, or maybe it works out better for you to purchase in the quieter months when competition for property isn’t so high. The time you decide to move also largely depends on the property available and if you find a house you want to buy - so although you might have decided on moving in the summer, you might find the house of your dreams during the spring.
Also, bear in mind the length of time it takes to purchase a new home, and be prepared that the process might take a while if there are unexpected delays. On average, a straight forward transaction should complete within 6-8 weeks of the sale, so it’s important to factor the timing of a new house purchase when you plan ahead and create your timeline.
Assess your finances
Now that the expense of Christmas is out of the way and the season of generosity is well and truly behind you, focus on getting your finances into shape.
This means reigning in the spending and seeing what cuts you can make. With the recent changes to the Help to Buy schemes, you’ll need to work out how much a deposit might cost you if you’re looking to start saving for your first home in 2017.
One of the most important steps in purchasing a home is working out the size of the mortgage you need, and as a first-time buyer, the amount you will be able to borrow is based on a number of factors - including your credit rating. A mortgage in principle will give you the best idea of whether you are able to secure a mortgage for the property you wish to buy.
Applying for a mortgage in principle early on in the house buying process can make you an attractive buyer against your competition and can give you peace of mind as to what you might be able to borrow. Use our free service for advice on finding the right mortgage for you.
If, however, you’ve been saving for a few years and are now ready to buy a property, you’ll need to ensure you have enough money to fund the move. This includes factoring in the removals company, the conveyancing and also surveying costs that are all major expenses when it comes to moving house and buying a new home.
Move when the time is right
While January brings hope and resolutions that are sure to make 2017 ‘your year,’ be careful not to rush into buying your next home.
In the current market, there is no ‘right’ time to buy or sell anymore, however there are peaks throughout the year when you’re more likely to find a new home to purchase, or sell your current property.
- If you’re looking to buy: The quieter months within the industry are usually the colder months, whilst you’re more likely to see more property on the market during the summer months. This is also a busier time for removals companies too, so make sure you organise your house move with enough time to ensure you can guarantee the help of professionals as and when you need it.
- If you’re looking to sell: The property market fluctuates throughout the year, and if you’re selling your home, you’re probably going to have more luck during the summer season. Aesthetically speaking, there are also several factors that can affect the sale of your house, including the pictures that are taken for property portals and estate agents. Choosing the right time of year to market your property can have a big impact on viewings and offers.
Many buyers will want to view the property several times before purchasing, which can also be affected by the time of year. Darker nights will showcase your property in a different light, so it’s important to take this into consideration when putting your house up for sale.
If you can’t sell your home, consider putting your property on the rental market and renting in the location you’re considering moving to. That way you’ll have less pressure to sell when times are tough, and you’ll have a better idea about what it’s like to live in your desired area before deciding to buy there.
Once you’ve worked out your timeline, calculated your budget and decided on a time to buy a new home, you’ll also need to find a qualified estate agent to work with and help you throughout the process. Similarly, you’ll also want to invest in the time and expertise of a Licensed Conveyancer and Chartered Surveyor.
Last year, 81.2% of people said we saved them either time or stress and/or money across all services at reallymoving by using our online conveyancing, surveying and removals services.