Buying your first home is exciting, nerve-wrecking and financially challenging. I personally found the first year living together the real test of managing money, bills and ensuring there was enough in the account for the mortgage payments. However, as homeowners get settled into routines and living in the new home, you often tend to think about the future and ask questions like; how long will we live here? What about starting a family? Can we add/change the garden? All of these questions are perfectly natural, but these home-buying tips make sure you are slightly more prepared and think about purchasing that home with these points in mind.
1. What are the tie-ins and agreements already in place?
This is important to really think about if you are buying a flat, maisonette or accommodation part owned with a bank (popular for first-time homeowners in the UK). A flat or maisonette comes with a lease-hold agreement that often lasts minimum of 99 years. Research the implications of leasehold agreements as the property purchased decreases in value as the number of years left on the lease decreases. This often means you need to keep on top of this and may need to extend the agreement if you were looking to sell in the future. Flats and maisonettes can be harder to sell as you really need to have considerate neighbours above or below you and these can change from when you originally purchased your home.
2. Can I extend in the future?
If your family increases, or you take over care of an elderly dependant there will be a need for extra room. In some cases, internal walls can be knocked down or internal structures changed (with the right permissions). However, look at the property and think is there room to extend if we need to. This can often be in the form of a kitchen or garage extension, but it always worth looking into this. An extension is not cheap, but can be cheaper than moving home and less hassle than uprooting the family home. Ground floor extensions are a popular choice for adding an extra bedroom, downstairs bathroom or creating space in your kitchen with a separate utility area. These rooms make an ideal sanctuary and privacy if ever you need to look after elderly relatives.
3. Surrounding Boundaries
Check what the property boundaries are and if you need to keep up with maintenance. For example, large trees in your garden might be picturesque now, but they may block light in your neighbour’s garden and your neighbours are within their rights to ask you to maintain the height of them. This can include the expense of hiring a tree surgeon to professionally cut the trees.
Parking is one of the main causes of neighbourly disputes. When you are thinking of purchasing your first home, take a look around the street and consider if you will have enough room to park one car, maybe two cars in the future. If you cannot park on your drive, or specified garage space, would you be happy parking down the road and walking with the shopping or carrying children in the future. A lot of residents will always try and park in front of their own houses and some streets (like the one I lived on) it was an un-written rule. However, this might not always be the case when the house next to you goes up for sale and a family of 4 (all with cars) move in. How will that affect your parking? Remember there is no law to enforce parking and technically if a car is taxed and insured, they can park on the highway – even if that means waking you up at 4am as they start their morning shift.