This is the fun part of house buying! Deciding where you want to live, what type of property you want (tenement flat, terraced house, detached house or bungalow), dreaming of how you’ll decorate and getting to have a nosey into other people’s homes.
Here are Glasgow Credit Union’s top tips on how to get the most out of your home search:
Where to start looking
Ironically, the easiest place to start your house search is from the comfort of your home – by trawling property web sites. As well as listing properties for sale, property web sites can also provide information on sold house prices, the local area and housing market trends.
If you’re not sure where you want to buy, take the time to get out and about in your potential new neighbourhood. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of an area and get a feel for who lives there just now. Parking, traffic noise, issues with litter – these are the little things that you can only find out from visiting an area.
3 golden rules of house hunting
Astonishingly, buyers spend on average just 30 minutes looking at a property before putting in an offer! Nobody wants to outstay their welcome, but it pays to have a plan when viewing properties to get the most out of your time.
Here are our top 3 tips for getting the most out of your viewing:
Test everything. It might feel odd with the current owner watching you, but the only way you can be sure that everything is in good working order is to test it yourself. Switch on lights, open cupboard doors, run the taps, check the shower pressure, make sure that windows open, check the number and position of sockets in each room and walk all around every room to test for squeaky or uneven floors. It might seem excessive, but finding out that your windows are painted shut on moving day can really put a dampener on things!
Check out the neighbours. Ask the seller who the neighbours are, if the adjoining properties are bought or rented and how long people have lived in the area. Have a quick look in neighbouring gardens too – are they overgrown with children’s toys or evidence of pets lying around? If it’s a flat you’ve viewing, take a good look around all common areas (hallways, stairwells and outdoor areas) to see how well maintained these are.
Don’t be influenced by décor and furnishings – good or bad. It’s easy to picture yourself living in a home when the furniture and colour scheme match your taste, but remember that the furniture won’t be there when you move in. Remember that wallpaper and paint doesn’t cost the earth so it’s not worthwhile paying over the odds for a finish you can easily achieve yourself. On the flip side, don’t be put off by bad décor either. Try to look past oversized furniture, dark colour schemes and shabby carpets to see the bones of the room underneath.
New home versus an older property
Buying a brand new home compared to an existing property can be a consideration for many first time buyers. Like most decisions around the house buying process, this will usually come down to personal taste, but to help weigh-up your options, we’ve listed some of the key pros and cons of new versus old:
Established local facilities and community
You’ll be the ‘newbie’ among people who may have known each other for years
May have desirable period features or established garden
Could require modernisation and skilled trades to get it up to liveable standard
Heating and upkeep
Older properties tend to be ‘built to last’. Might have traditional fireplaces
Heating, electrics, windows etc could need replaced and the house might be more susceptible to draughts
There may be room to negotiate directly with the seller on price and what’s included in the sale
If more than one buyer is interested, you may need to offer ££ over the asking price
Chance to strike up new friendships with other first time buyers in your neighbourhood
May be a lack of facilities close to hand
Blank canvas for you to flex your creative muscles. Usually get to choose your kitchen, bathroom and flooring options
Usually advised to wait 12 months before decorating to allow house to settle – so may feel a little soulless until then. Garden turf and fencing not usually included in price
Heating and upkeep
Modern heating and insulation installed to latest building regulations
Rooms are usually smaller so can feel stuffy
Not part of a chain, so you don’t need to worry about the seller’s move falling through and how that can affect you
Delays in building work can push your moving date. Also, if you buy in the early phases of development you may be living on a building site until development is completed
Please check first that you are eligible to apply:
You are aged 18 or over
You have a UK bank account in your own or joint names
You are a permanent UK resident
You have never been bankrupt or had a Court Decree
To complete your application you will need:
Your current employer's address details
Details of monthly income and outgoings
Bank or building society details (sort code and account number)
To enable us to make a decision on your loan application we will contact Credit Referencing & Fraud Prevention Agencies. This will register a search against your credit record and if your application is successful we will share the information we hold for you with these agencies. Further details are available in our Privacy Notice
It is important that you read the Privacy Notice document above. If there is anything that you do not understand, please contact us.
Please be aware that the longer you take to pay back a loan, the more you will pay back in interest. If you go for a shorter term your monthly repayment might go up, but you'll save in interest and pay back your loan faster.