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Consider your circumstances

Buying a house is a long term commitment, and may well be the most expensive purchase you make in your lifetime. Like all long term financial decisions, it’s important to consider your future circumstances.

When property prices drop, it can be easy as a first time buyer to feel the need to rush onto the property ladder and stop throwing your hard earned money down a rent hole. But before entering into the market, is your current employment stable in the long term? Is there a possibility of having to relocate? Are you financially ready? What is your relationship status? A city centre flat may seem perfect in your current situation but will be redundant if you decide to start a family in the next couple of years.

Asking honest questions of your current and future plans could save you a long and costly commitment and save you the expense of moving again in the near future, which leads me to…

Make sure you plan (and contingency plan) financially

This may seem like an obvious one (given you’ve probably been extra frugal with your finances in preparation for buying a house) it may even seem a little patronising. But for first time buyers, not fully understanding the extent of the costs involved with buying a house can run your budget into the floor before you even have the keys.

Research by Lloyds Bank shows the average cost of ‘extras’ when buying a home now averages up to £10,996. In London, fees can rise to as high as £31,416 whereas the figure ranges on average between £6,000 -£8,000 across the North of England, Wales and Scotland.

The deposit is just the start, familiarising yourself with all hidden costs and fees will prevent any nasty surprises. These can typically include removal fees, storage costs, valuation fees, surveyor’s fees, mortgage fees, Stamp duty land tax (if the property you are buying costs over £125,000) etc… Make sure you have emergency funds to see you through as these fees can vary dramatically depending on location and type/value of property.

Research the location

In a recent Daily Mail survey, 58% claimed the location of their new home is what made them fall in love with the property. Whilst location is consistently top on the list of home buyer priorities, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look around at other properties in similar or ‘less desirable’ areas in order to form an impression of what is available for your budget.

If you have an area chosen, do your research. Go visit at different times of the day/week, visit the surrounding areas, visit the local shops, try the local restaurants etc… areas may be quiet during the week but an active social hub during the weekends. You will be living there a long time, make sure the day to day works for you.

Whilst on the topic of research, be sure to check planning decisions, the area in which you’re looking may seem perfect now, but what if a large, disruptive retail development is due to start nearby? On the flip side, an area may seem uninspiring now but you may notice a number of cafes, restaurants and shops popping up in the area. Keeping an open mind and being willing to compromise on location could help you find a more viable long term investment.

Whilst a property report may be detailed, it is not a home buying survey

This confuses a lot of first time buyers.

You will receive in depth documents such as mortgage valuations, land checks and other comprehensive information on the property you are intending to buy. This is not a home buying survey and has absolutely nothing to do with the structural integrity of the home.

There are 3 common types of housing surveys available:

Condition survey – This is the most basic survey available and will give an overview of the properties condition. It will highlight any significant issues but not in any great detail. Different parts of the property will be given a traffic light rating. This is suitable if you’re purchasing a relatively new property and are seeking an element of reassurance.

Home buyers Survey – This is more detailed than a condition report. It highlights major issues and includes advice on necessary repairs and ongoing maintenance as well as pointing out anything that does not meet current building regulations.

Building Survey – This is the most thorough survey you can get and is advisable if you are buying an unusual or period property house over 50 years old. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the condition and structure of the property in greater detail than a condition or home buyers survey. This is worth it if you have major concerns about the property.

Only 20% of buyers get a professional survey done for the property they are buying, we highly recommend you have a survey carried out as it could potentially save you a great deal of stress and expense.

Use your own Solicitor

Many Estate agents will have existing relationships with mortgage brokers and solicitors firms, opting to use these typically benefits nobody but the letting agent, as this is likely to be a commission based affiliation and could end up costing you more.

Seeking out a reputable independent solicitors you can trust will give you a more impartial service and ensure they are working for your best interest.

At Gorvins, we have an experienced, full service Residential Property team available to assist you with all your home buying needs. Call us on 0161 930 5151 or emails us at

Alternatively, you can visit our website and fill out our contact form