Property Guide: Things to keep in mind before buying your first house

Buying a house is one of the most important financial decisions you can take in your life. It comprises a sizeable and long-term investment, and many people have difficulty with all the steps involved in the process. These individuals tend to make small mistakes along the way, which can cause them some serious problems in the future.

With a decision this momentous, it is highly recommended that you research your options thoroughly before making any permanent decisions; especially if you’re stepping into the property market for the first time. Even though modern technology has made things much easier for buyers today, especially with online real estate portals such as Prop (a recent entrant to Pakistan’s virtual real estate space, and a good case study), buying a house still turns out to be quite a confusing and taxing process for most purchasers – even for the veterans to the game

Being aware of quick and easy tips/hacks which make the process seem less daunting and save both your time and money always comes as a welcome prospect. Here are four handy ways by which you can ease this affair for your benefit (and which can aid you in avoiding a number of common mistakes).

1.    Know your Affordability

When buying a house, make sure it is not the real estate agents, loan officers, and banks that tell you what you can and cannot afford. Instead, this chain of consideration should proceed the other way around. Your finances may look great on paper, but the reality might be something different. While some market estimates reveal that you can afford to pay mortgage payments worth one-third of your salary, other sources restrict this value to 28%. Banks and agents, however, generally tend to provide an estimate much higher than this, which is why you need to keep your own budget in mind.

Now a recipient’s affordability considerations are not confined to mortgage payments alone, but also include assessments of other costs as well; such as insurance, repairs, maintenance costs, and taxes, to name a few. The category of ‘Potential Lifestyle Changes’ (in the near future) also comes under this bracket. For example, if you plan to start a family soon after moving into your new home, you should plan your finances accordingly.

Most importantly, do not get pressured or hurried into placing an offer on any property. Remember: costly mistakes and haste go hand-in-hand.

2.    Buy a House that Complements your Lifestyle

Soon after you’re done with buying your first house, the excitement of this new phase of life will fade, and you will be left to live with your choice. Make sure that your final selection suites your lifestyle and fulfils your priorities. Sometimes, having a decent school or market close to your house is preferable over having a peaceful and larger property. Remember, you are not only buying the house, but also the location!

3.    Make Use of All Your Senses

While exploring potential properties to buy, you need to come prepared to examine every little detail so that you don’t miss out on anything. Look for signs of problems like insect infestations or mould. Check every nook and cranny, including the lighting fixtures, electric wires, and plumbing to ensure that everything is in working order.

Trust your senses (as well as your intuition) and don’t hesitate to bring up even the smallest of issues, so that you don’t face any inconveniences in the future. It is imperative that you feel comfortable and completely confident in the investment that you are making. On this front, it is the job of the agent to answer your queries, so don’t be squeamish in making good on your time with him/her

 4.    Employ Skilled Professionals

An important step to take when buying your first property is to employ only professionals to see to any ‘settling in’ jobs required. This may look like an added cost, and for this reason many people avoid it, but following this route can make a huge difference to your repair or maintenance expenses after you’ve consolidated the purchase.

Professionals offer the benefit of checking for specific problems that the average person might not be equipped to handle or even identify. For example, getting professionals to check the house for asbestos can help you avoid severe medical problems down the line, while employing a realtor can increase your scope for finding new properties. These smaller measures, if employed, can effectively change your choice and value of investment.

Buying a home for the first time can be an exciting prospect, but making uninformed and hasty decisions can quickly sour the experience. Being well-educated about this subject will help you avoid many of the common mistakes (those identified above, and others) made by prospective homeowners, soit is always recommended that you talk to people with experience in these matters before committing to a course of action.

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