It’s finally time. You’ve been thinking about it for years, dreaming about it, and you’ve finally decided to buy a house. It’s the first property you’ve ever owned, and you can kiss goodby to paying landlords! This is a very exciting time, but buying a house isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s nothing like buying a car or going to the shop and buying some new clothes. There are lots of stages involved, and many other things you need to understand.
Before you rush into things headfirst, you should take some time to learn about buying your first house. What are the main things to be wary of? Let’s find out!
Paying a bigger deposit gives you a smaller mortgage
When you’re young, you think that you have to save up to buy a house in full. Then, you get older and check house prices, and suddenly it seems impossible. How on earth can you save this much money? Surely it would be a lifetime before you could afford even a cheap house? Well, as you’re probably now aware, this isn’t the case. Instead, you only need to save up enough money to afford a deposit/down payment on the house. From here, you get a mortgage that covers the full costs, paying it back monthly over time.
One thing to realise is that down payments and deposits are flexible. Yes, there will usually be a minimum deposit amount, but nothing stops you from paying more than this. It can be beneficial to pay more than the minimum – if you can afford it. Why? Because it means your mortgage will be smaller, basically meaning you borrow less money and don’t have loads to pay back . So, don’t assume you can only make the minimum deposit – spend as much as you conceivably can without damaging your financial position.
Get your credit score sorted out
Speaking of mortgages, they work like any other loan. The only difference is that the requirements for a mortgage are the strictest out there. Many countries tightened their mortgage laws after the 2008 financial crisis. Thirteen years on, and experts still blame the banks for causing this collapse, saying they let too many people borrow too much money, without being sure they could pay it back. So, you will have to meet certain requirements before your mortgage application is approved. These vary from country to country, so check them out to see what ones you have to meet.
However, all countries will have a few common requirements, such as a good credit score. If you have a bad credit rating, the chances of you getting a mortgage are slimmer than slim. You’re too much of a risk, and banks can’t be sure that you’ll pay them back on time. As a result, your first job should be to get your credit score in check. This isn’t as difficult as you think, and you can see improvements in just a few months. The basic advice is that you should be financially savvy and avoid reckless spending. Making all your payments on time will also help, and you can watch the video below for a more in-depth view of what else you can do:
Always look for government schemes
Governments around the world have different schemes that are designed to encourage people to buy houses. A couple of the most well-known are in the UK and Singapore. In the UK, there’s a help-to-buy scheme where the government pay a certain percentage of the property price for the buyer. In Singapore, there’s something called the HDB, which develops more affordable housing for people to buy. You’d then have to find an HDB resale portal and get your house from there. If you look all over the world, you’re sure to find a similar scheme in place.
It always makes sense to check for these schemes whenever you go to buy a house. Certainly, for first-time buyers, most schemes are targeted at you. You can save a lot of money if you do a bit of research in your country and see if the government will help you out in any way, shape or form.
The asking prices are never final
When a house is up for sale, it needs to have an asking price. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t the final price of the property. It’s a general ballpark idea of how much the property is worth, but it will almost always be an overestimate. Real estate agents and property sellers want to get as much money as possible from their assets. So, they weigh up the value of the house, then stick a price that’s slightly above this.
Why? Because they know that buyers will negotiate with them. Nobody pays the full asking price for a house unless it’s completely brand new. In most cases, you’ll send some bids back and forth until you both agree on a price. The funny thing is, both parties end up in a happy position. The buyer thinks that they’ve got a deal because they knocked a few thousand dollars from the asking price. However, the seller is equally happy because they might have sold the house for more than it was originally valued. The high asking price is there as a buffer – when lower bids come in, the seller knows they can sell and yet still gain a profit!
So, the lesson here is that you should never pay the asking price for a house. Also, don’t be put off by some houses that are slightly over your budget. It’s worth looking at them and making a bid, just to see if you can reduce the price. You never know, you may have ignored a house because it seemed too expensive, but after negotiations, it fits your budget perfectly!
Clearly, you have many more things to learn about buying a house for the first time. The topics discussed in this post talk about things that most people don’t cover. They should give you a better view of what to think about when buying your first home.