It can take a while to get here, but when the time comes to start viewing properties it’s good to know what to expect.
To help you on your way, we’ve joined forces with AIB and pulled together some expert advice on everything you need to know, from viewing properties to bidding on your first home.
In easy to understand language and laid out in a step-by-step guide, over the next few weeks we’ll help you on the journey to owning your first home.
Let’s kick this off!
Approval In Principle
First things first, once you have your deposit in place you can start viewing properties, however it’s a good idea to get an Approval in Principle, especially when it comes to viewing new developments. Put simply, your bank has reviewed your proof of income, evidence of repayment and your deposit and let you know how much you can borrow. This will give you a good guide of your budget when going to view houses.
An Approval in Principle isn’t a legally binding agreement – your lender will want to see a Valuer’s report showing the property you wish to make an offer on is actually worth it before you get the final green light. Saying this, an Approval in Principle is invaluable in giving you the confidence to get out into the housing market knowing your mortgage will be approved. Plus, estate agents will be super happy proceeding knowing you have this in place.
Smiles all round!
One thing most people focus on when buying their first home is location. Before you start looking, it’s a great idea to create a list of everything you would love to have in and around your home.
If you’re buying with someone, get them to do the same – then you can find the common likes/dislikes. After this you can decide which needs are deal breakers and which aren’t too important.
Once you know what you’re willing to compromise on, start looking through property sites and see what the houses in your dream area look like. This will help you get a better idea of costs and what you can work with.
Take advantage of the estate agents
Ask them everything you can possibly think of, there is no such thing as a stupid question and when it comes to spending money on a house, you’ll want to know every last detail about the property. If they don’t know at the time, ask them to find out.
Ever hear of the phrase “Buyer Beware”? This is a term often used at this stage of the buying process – it’s up to you as the potential buyer to find out as much as possible before making a decision. There are loads of questions you might want to ask, but here are a few key questions to get you started:
- Why are they vendors selling?
- How long has the property been on the market for?
- What is included in the sale?
- Has this building ever flooded?
- When was the heating and/or wiring last upgraded?
Manage your expectations
Remember that list we recommended writing? Hate to break it to you, but it’s almost a given that you won’t find a home out there that will tick all the boxes on your wishlist. That’s why it pays to have certain areas you can compromise on and work around.
Choosing a home is all about being practical – soft furnishings like curtains and carpets can be changed but north-facing gardens can’t be. Don’t be put off by someone else’s strange taste in decor and focus your time and energy looking into things that actually matter.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again
The house you loved slipped through your fingertips, but it’s always worthwhile checking back in on the house. It’s quite common for sales to fall through so keep checking in and ensuring the estate agent keeps you in mind if the deal unravels.
From bidding to closing, the sale process can be quite time consuming. If a sale falls through more than once, a vendor who is well and truly at their wits end is much more likely to go with a ready buyer to avoid going through the full process again.
Closing the deal
We’ll be discussing how to close the deal on your new home in much more detail next week, but here’s a quick overview.
Prepare to wait around – sometimes it suits a vendor and their agent to stretch out closing to see if any higher offers pop up. Be sure to let them know from the offset what your conditional time frame is but be prepared for excuses that drag out the closing of the sale.
From viewing properties to bidding and closing the deal, it can be an overwhelming process but once you find your home, put in an offer and it's accepted, AIB take the reigns. Kick things off on the right foot by checking out their Mortgage Calculator and booking an appointment with their Mortgage Advisors.
When it comes to actually viewing houses, it helps to bring along someone already in the know, whether this be a builder friend or someone who has bought a house before.
Viewing new homes can be very exciting and sometimes with all the bells and whistles of a new home, you might oversee key areas whilst gawking out the window at the delish landscaped garden. From the size of the boiler compared to the bath, to potential building issues you might not be aware of, an extra set of eyes and ears will always help.
Bid Fast, Bid Low
Ok, you’ve found the house that ticks the boxes and you want to make an offer. But what’s the best POA in this case?
If you are serious about this property it’s super important to get your bid in first – but make it a low one. Don’t take the mick, but be wise. This means you can set the bidding off on your terms from the get go.
Bidding on a house is all about tactics – if you’re the first to make an offer and bid below the asking price, other interested parties might be reluctant to move over the asking price.
Saying all of this, if you go in all guns blazing above the asking price of a property that is likely to sell, you’ll stir the pot a little and make other bidders believe the house is worth much more. Bidding can be tough, so ensure you have a budget, and have agreed on a price to drop out and stick with it.