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Buying a property can be the biggest decision made in our lives. It is for this very reason that impartial advice is critical from a competent and qualified mortgage broker.

Buying a house is one of the most important purchases you will make, and buying a home for the first time will be an even more daunting prospect. Add to this the vast array of mortgage products available from a wide range of sources and you could be left with an exasperated and confusing decision.

To help you with making the right decision we have put together 10 top tips for you.

1. Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend

Ensure that you are realistic when working out exactly how much you can afford to spend on your new house. You should ensure the intended mortgage is affordable (by using our budget calculator) and it is wise to seek a Decision in Principle certificate, so that you know how much you can offer once you have found a suitable property. Even a newly built house will require some sort of furnishings, whereas older properties may require extensive work, such as re-flooring, tiling or renewing the wiring. Make sure that you factor in all these likely expenses, in addition to the purchase price, and other fees such as conveyancing and stamp duty.

2. Take an experienced home buyer with you when visiting properties

When buying for the first time, there may be a number of details in the houses you are looking at, which you may not pick up. Always take an experienced home buyer, such as a guardian or a home-owning friend, when looking at properties. If this is difficult to arrange, make sure you get some assistance once you have selected a property you like and are arranging a second viewing.

3. Remember to budget for new expenses

If you have been used to living at home with your guardians, remember to budget for expenses such as council tax, gas and electricity bills, boiler servicing, and other home repairs.

4. Be aware of council tax charges at your new property

Make sure you know what the likely council tax charge will be in your new property. The selling agent should be able to tell you what tax band the house you are interested in buying is in, and how the charges are levied by your local authority.

5. Is your property in a good school catchment area?

Even if you do not have children, properties in the catchment area of good local schools will always be much easier to sell on. However, this may also be reflected in a higher purchase price.

6. Consider how your transport arrangements will be impacted when moving

Always consider how your transport arrangements will be impacted when moving into change in your new house. If you have a car, your insurance premium may increase dramatically if you move from a town with relatively low crime into a city centre with higher crime rates or if you move from your guardians’ house with a locked garage to a smaller terraced house with on-street parking.

7. Consider the availability of public transport services

Make sure you find out local bus routes, the frequency of train services from your nearest station (www.tfl.gov.uk), and, if you are moving a long distance, the range of flights available from your local airport. Even if you drive everywhere, this information will be useful for anyone coming to visit you.

8. Consider which local amenities are important to you?

Write down a list of local amenities which are important to you. This may include shops, restaurants, wine bars, sports centres, parks, and cinemas. If you enjoy activities such as walking, or cycling, the neighbourhood you plan to move into may be very different to the one your guardians are living in, and may not have the same access to parks and other recreational facilities. Before making any final decision about where to move to, take a stroll or bike ride around the local area, and note down where the key facilities are.

9. Check what broadband speeds are availble

If you are a ‘heavy’ internet user, check to see that broadband or other high speed internet is available in the street you are moving into. The selling agent should be able to tell you this. Alternatively get in touch with an Internet provider of your choice.

10. Try to move close to your work

Where possible try to reside close to your place of work. Commuting can be one of the biggest household expenses, and as you are likely to be spending much more time on domestic chores and/or DIY, living somewhere which minimises your commuting distance will be very important. If properties are more expensive nearer to your place of work, make sure you weigh up this additional expense, when compared to the costs and time of commuting. You may wish to ask colleagues in your workplace to see if there are possibilities to carpool with anyone nearby.

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