Buying your first home? Before you start house-hunting, you need to know the answers to these all-important questions.
Making the decision to buy your first home is the beginning of an exciting journey, but it's a milestone that can come with some challenges.
Confusing jargon, complicated processes and difficult decisions lie ahead, making it very easy to miss out on some easily-forgotten details while searching for your dream home. And with the barriers so many first-time buyers are facing at the moment, it's crucial to go into this journey with a clear idea of what you're looking for.
With so many factors to consider, we've created a very handy first-time buyer checklist, covering all the questions you need to ask yourself before you start house-hunting. We've also included some useful tips from The Register of Gas Installers, to help you make the right choices around gas appliances, repairs and servicing.
With that in mind, here are some essential questions every first-time buyer should consider...
1. What is my budget?
Before you kickstart any house hunt, you'll need to work out exactly how much money you can spend. Your budget needs to cover the costs of buying your home from start to finish, factoring in the purchase price, solicitor fees, renovations, fittings, furnishings and stamp duty.
2. What are my must-haves?
Your budget will likely place some limitations on what you can look for in a property, but it's still important to work out what's non-negotiable for you in a first home.
Are you looking for a new build, or are you open to properties that have had previous owners? Do you need a property with a particular number of bedrooms? Are you looking for a certain BER rating, or do you have a separate budget for any works or renovations that might be needed?
3. What am I looking for in a location?
It goes without saying that the right location can make or break a property. It's important to be realistic about what you can afford, but you should still consider what you really want and need from the area you live in.
Are you nearby to shops, schools, childcare or any other amenities that are important to you? Is the property near any streets, train stations or airports that might make it a noisy area to live in? Are you within a manageable distance from friends and family? Take some time to consider your priorities when it comes to location.
4. How much work does the property need before I move in?
When viewing properties, it's important to make a list of any installations, fittings or renovations the house may need before you can move in, to ensure you have the budget to have these works carried out by qualified professionals where needed. Gas works, for example, is one area where you'll need to budget for a registered professional's help.
When it comes to gas installations, repairs or servicing, it's essential to get a Register Gas Installer (RGI) to carry out any works. Not only is it a legal requirement, it will help you avoid poor-quality work that needs to be replaced or repaired at a later date and you'll also avoid serious hazards like gas leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning.
5. Do I need professional advice?
It's no secret that buying your first home can be a fairly tricky process, and it can be difficult to wrap your head around all of the steps you must take to get on the property ladder. For that reason, it could be beneficial to speak to a mortgage broker. They can offer advice on different mortgage providers' offerings in terms of repayments and interest rates, and provide expert-insight on any insurance queries you might have.
6. Are there good public transport links?
If you don't drive, this is essential. It's important to check there are reliable transport options in your area and that the distance you'll be travelling to work and schools is manageable. Scope out what public transport routes are available to you and ensure that the commute times will fit into your lifestyle.
7. What is the home's BER rating?
The more energy efficient your home is, the less you'll need to pay in utility bills. There's also the sustainability element to consider, which is only going to get more important as time goes on.
That's why it's so important to consider the BER rating of a property and find the most energy-efficient property available to you. Every property has a BER rating ranging from A to G, with A-rated homes being the most energy efficient and ultimately, more cost-effective for homeowners.
Always use a Registered Gas Installer for gas appliance installation, servicing, repair or removal. Visit www.rgii.ie to find a Registered Gas Installer near you.