Things to be aware of when buying a house

Are you planning to move to a new house? Whether it’s your first step on the property ladder, a space upgrade or a switch to a new location, it’s not a decision you can take lightly. There are countless factors you’ll need to weigh up to make sure a property is right for you.

That thinking time has been somewhat reduced for potential buyers in 2021 as demand and prices have soared. But with the stamp duty holiday now winding down, experts predict the market will level out in the coming months.

property for sale

Below are five elements to consider as you begin your search and start viewing properties.

Local amenities

Think about what amenities are important to you and how nearby they need to be. Would you like to be able to walk to cafes and bars? Could having a gym close by motivate you to exercise? What about schools and your favourite supermarket?

Living close to amenities often means higher prices and extra business, so consider what balance you want to strike.

Your commute

The world of work is changing and daily commutes are becoming less common. But if you still plan to travel for work regularly, you’ll need to think about how easy it will be to get there.

That might mean researching the cost and frequency of trains to London for example, or the business of certain roads at rush hour. It could be even be worth doing a trial commute.

The amount of work needed

How much time and money do you plan to spend doing up the property? You may be looking for a project or searching for something that’s been recently renovated. Think about how much time, ability and energy you’re realistically able to devote.

Either way, it’s worth getting a professional opinion on the state of the property. Some defects can be tricky to spot and even more difficult to pay for.

The true cost of moving

The true cost of moving can be far higher than your monthly mortgage payments. Other costs to budget for include:

  • Your lender’s mortgage arrangement fee
  • A valuation fee
  • Legal fees
  • Stamp duty, which varies depending on the value of the property
  • Surveys to check the state of the property
  • Removal costs – will you need a van?
  • Furniture and extras such as flooring

Your longer-term priorities

Your house needs to suit the stage of life you’re currently in – but what might your needs be in five years’ time? Consider how long you plan to stay in the property and what the next step might be. Is there potential to extend for example?

If you plan to sell and move again in a few years’ time, try to buy in an area that shows signs of being on the up.

Moving to a new house is a complicated and often fraught process. But if you do your research and know exactly what your priorities are, you could end up with keys to the home of your dreams.