3 essential questions every 1st-time buyer should ask before committing to a home

Deciding to buy your first property is a major life decision. Today’s first-time buyers face tough conditions: spiralling property prices, a hefty deposit required and salaries that haven’t kept anywhere near the pace of property inflation.

But even all those obstacles aren’t enough to deter the people most determined to get on the housing ladder.

So, once you’ve made up your mind that owning your own home is your goal, here are three essential questions you should ask to ensure you are on the right track.

How much can I afford to spend each month on mortgage repayments?

Interest rates remain historically low, but that could change in an instant. And a change upwards has a knock-on effect on mortgage rates that could see your repayments leap by a substantial amount. A lender may be willing to lend you more than you actually need. When you sit down to work out your finances, leave yourself some serious wiggle room that lets you accommodate an increase in your monthly repayments.

Is this the right home, in the right area for me?

The temptation is to dive in head first when you spot a property in your price range. But slow down: the price may be right, but have you checked out the neighbourhood; is there scope for this property to gain in value and make you money; is this a short-term investment or a home for the longer term? Do your homework on the area first. Find out what similar properties have sold for. Check out the surrounding area at different times of day and on different days of the week for a better idea of what the neighbourhood is like. A quick Google search of the street will help, too.

Do I need to spend money on a Building Survey?

Most mortgage lenders will insist on the minimum of a HomeBuyer Report to ensure the property is worth the money they’re giving you to spend on it. However, depending on how old the property is and whether it’s had any work done on it, it is definitely worth considering having a chartered surveyor carry out a Building Survey. This structural survey will is a more in-depth examination of the building’s construction and will identify any issues and defects. The results of the survey can potentially save you thousands of pounds, either by helping to negotiate the price downwards or by identifying repairs that you can ask the seller to do before the sale is complete. Our sister site, Surveyor Local, works only with chartered surveyors who are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and our team can advise you on the best survey for your needs at an affordable price.