First Time Buyers: 4 Things to Do Before You Make an Offer


You have finally found your dream home. After years of scrimping and months of searching, you have finally find the perfect property and are ready to drop your deposit and make the current owners and offer they can’t refuse.

Stop there. Before you make any big claims, there are a couple of last things that you really need to check. They are right at the top of things that First Time Buyers wish they did before committing to a home and suffering from buyers’ remorse, so listen up and before you make any big decisions.

Think about your actual lifestyle, not just the one you aspire to

You’re overcome by the size of the kitchen, and downright thrilled about finally having a decent-sized garden… but take off the rose-tinted glasses for a moment. How much cooking do you actually do, and where is all this free time for gardening suddenly going to come from? Be honest, if you’re a sucker for takeaways, that habit isn’t going to change overnight. Are you really prepared to put in the extra hours it takes to maintain a clean and tidy garden?

The same goes for fixer-uppers. Pause the romantic mental montage of splashing about in painty dungarees with your other half, and be realistic. If you’re buying a house that needs significant renovation, how much time and money do you actually have to spend on the work? If you’ve got to fit it in around a 9-5 job, chances are, not that much. Consider the implications of living on a building site long-term, and the cost of hiring tradesmen to complete jobs you’re not qualified for.

Hire Professionals

“I’m so glad I didn’t get a survey done”, said nobody, ever. It’s true that forking out for a Building Survey or HomeBuyer Report can seem like just another senseless expense. Except, paying a professional like H&S Surveyors Ltd can catch any unnoticed problems like damp, subsidence or leaky roofing that could cost a fortune after you’ve moved in. At the very least, you can sleep easy, knowing that an expert has given the property the “all clear”.

It’s also worth getting an early insurance quote. Insurers will often know the history of the house even better than the last tenants, and will be able to tell you about potential fire risks, past flooding or problems due to poor soil quality.

Don’t just view it once

So, you’ve viewed it once and found that it’s perfect in every single way? Fantastic. Now go back and look again. On your second viewing, challenge yourself to be as critical as possible. Go at a different time of day – preferably around 6pm. How is the parking situation now? What’s the ambient noise like, are there dogs barking, neighbours arguing or nearby train tracks that you missed during the day?

When you’re inside, check your phone signal, and ask about internet speeds. Test the light switches and look at the position of the plug sockets in each room. Are there suspiciously placed rugs or pictures that might be concealing a larger problem? Walk around inside and outside for signs of structural issues, and see what’s going on behind the garden fence.

There might not be any deal-breakers lurking, but when you’re over the initial infatuation it’s a lot easier to see a property for what it really is, saving you paying more than it’s worth on a whim.

“Location, Location, Location” isn’t just a cute saying

You’re not just buying a house, you’re moving to a new neighbourhood. Drive around at several times of day, to get a feel for the local vibe. Take a note of the kinds of shops nearby, and any buildings that are falling into disrepair. Don’t be afraid to say hello to your potential neighbours and ask them how they find living in the area.

Before you commit, make sure the scene is going to suit your lifestyle – if you like spending a Friday evening at the pub, go in and have a drink to check that you like the atmosphere. If your kids enjoy trips to the park, see what the local recreation areas are like. Will you be commuting to work? Give your potential route a test, and get a realistic feel for the journey during rush hour.

An extra insider tip; even if there aren’t children in your household, check out the quality of the local schools. It might not make any difference to you while you live there, but you’d better believe it will be a huge factor when you come around to selling it again.

You might go through this list and decide that the property is still exactly what you’re looking for, and that’s great. If you’re starting to get cold feet, it’s best to take a deep breath and save your money for somewhere else. Sometimes the best decision you can make is to walk away.

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