4 tips when looking for your next home

4 tips when looking for your next home

Have you ever thought about getting your own place but are afraid of taking this big step? It’s likely that you’re hesitant due to the responsibilities that this involves or the money that you’d have to invest. Here you’ll find 5 tips that you may find very useful in the quest to find your new home.

Monthly budget

Establish your budget

Often, we get excited about getting new things and we forget about the limits to our purchasing power. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to us over-extending ourselves and getting into debt. It’s vital to take care with this because you don’t want to be worrying about losing your new home. The best way to avoid falling into arrears is to work out an affordable monthly budget and select a mortgage plan that fits your payment capacity.

North West England road map

Location, location, location

One of the most important things when it comes to choosing a house is the location. Why? Well, because it will be the starting point of all of your daily activities. You have to take into consideration that from home, you’ll be going to work, taking your kids to and from school and their recreational activities, visiting family, going shopping, socialising with friends etc. If things aren’t within easy reach, you don’t want to be spending long periods of time travelling from one to another. Be sure to keep all of these geographical things in mind when property searching.

House plans

Size, design and layout

Whether you have a large budget or small, decide upon a home that will fit your and your family’s needs for many years to come. Choose a house that works for everyone on a practical level and makes daily living enjoyable. If you’re planning to start a family or having an ageing parent move in at some point, find a house that you can expand into when necessary. If you’re going to be working from home, you’ll need a quiet space where you can remove yourself from day-to-day distractions during your 9 to 5. If you or a family member has mobility issues, a single level property is most practical.

Estate agent

Get professional help

You’ll come across a whole world of options on your quest to acquire the perfect place. You’ll likely find the process a little bit overwhelming at times. Luckily, there are people that can help make your life easier. Estate agents have the experience, knowledge and skills to assist you in your search. You should do a lot of research before selecting the agent with whom you want to work. Fortunately, there are many companies like liveloveathome.com that have a list of agents near your chosen location.

[disclosure*]

Why 2015 is the best year to buy a house

'Why 2015 is the best year to buy a house' blog post banner

For sale signs

Buying a house can be a pretty daunting prospect. It’s a process that is expensive, stressful, tricky to get right and long-winded. Yet, despite all of that it’s still something many of us want to do. The safety and security of a permanent roof over our heads makes buying a house an attractive prospect – and the prospect of investing in something tangible makes the hassle financially worthwhile. So, with many people wanting to make that step into home ownership, what makes 2015 the year that they should take the plunge? What about people looking to move up the ladder too?

Stamp duty illustration

Stamp duty

One of the changes all buyers can benefit from in 2015 is those made to Stamp Duty. Brought in in December, these rules make a difference to the up-front cost that you’ll need to bear. Previously you had to fork out 1% of the purchase price in Stamp Duty on properties between £125,000 and £250,000 and 3% up to £500,000. Under the new system you still pay nothing below £125,000 and then above that you pay 2% of the cost over and above that figure, i.e. if your house is £130,000 you now pay 2% of £5,000, instead of 1% of the full cost, or £100 instead of £1,300. In Scotland the duty was rebranded as the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and although it operates in a similar way it carries no charge for the first £145,000 of the cost.

Monopoly board showing Mayfair

Rent

As with any decision there are push and pull factors when it comes to buying a house. One thing that may well ‘push’ you into buying a house this year is the increased cost of renting. The price of renting is rising to a point where the cost far outstrips the amount you could be paying towards your own bricks and mortar – with more than a quarter of landlords plotting above-inflation rent increases during this calendar year.

'Help to Buy' logo

Schemes

If you’re renting then chances are you can afford the mortgage payments, but it could be the deposit that you’re struggling with. The good news is that there are a whole host of schemes on offer during 2015 that can help you to overcome that hurdle. Check out the latest home buying schemes information to see how Help To Buy, Right To Buy and NewBuy all work. Essentially, Help To Buy sees the government stepping in to provide a loan – refundable on sale of the property – so that you’ll only need a 5% deposit. Right To Buy aims to help social housing tenants and NewBuy looks, as you’d expect, at freshly constructed properties.

Red Monopoly houses on pound coins

Economy

Forget the squabbling of the political parties; for house-hunters, the economy is in a relatively good shape to take the plunge in 2015. Low interest rates mean there are some excellent sub-2% deals out there and a host of options on fixed and flexible rates. It’s a competitive mortgage market and that’s a good sign for the buyer. Price increases have slowed – at least outside London – too, making this a steady year to invest.

Rising rents, falling Stamp Duty, a relatively stable economy and support schemes all mean 2015 could well be the ideal year to dip into the housing market.

[disclosure*]