Robin King, Director of Move with Us, the residential property experts, shares his top 10 tips for couples looking to buy their first home.

Robin King of Move with Us
Robin King of Move with Us

“Buying your first home together is one of the biggest financial decisions that a couple will ever make and one which should not be taken lightly. Moving in together is a very exciting time but it’s important to remember that buying a property is a serious financial transaction.

“There’s nothing worse than grafting for that hard earned deposit, spending hours searching for your perfect new pad, going through the emotional turmoil of negotiating an offer and the stress of moving only to find out after a few months of living in your brand new home that it wasn’t exactly what you had expected.”

Here are Robin’s top 10 tips for couples on how to choose their perfect home:

1. Date at different times  – View the property together during daylight hours and at night time to get a proper feel for it. Travelling to the property during rush hour will also give a good indication of what traffic and parking are like.

2. Be nosey!  – Turn taps on and off, flick light switches and open cupboard doors. Remember, this is likely to be the biggest purchase of your lives so the usual guest rules don’t apply – now is the time to lift the lid and look beneath the surface.

3. Meet the neighbours  – If you are serious about buying a property, it’s not a bad idea to introduce yourself to the neighbours and talk to them about the area. They will be able to tell you all about parking and local facilities with no agenda and you will also get a sense of whether you will both get along with them.

4. Spend quality time together  – If you’re moving to a new area, even if it’s just a few miles from your old home, it’s important to spend some time exploring the local area. Hang out in local bars and cafes, take walks in any local parks and shop at the supermarket. It’s the best way to get to know the new area together.

5. Do you connect?  – A good mobile signal and a fast internet connection are becoming increasingly important to modern day living. Some mobile phone coverage can be brilliant in one area and almost non-existent in another. To ensure you are covered, it’s a good idea to take your phone with you when viewing a property. You can also contact internet providers to check the broadband speed.

6. Do you have protection? – All properties need to be covered by buildings insurance. There are, however, areas located in high risk flood zones that insurance companies won’t cover or will charge high premiums for. Whether you’re in a flood zone or not, it’s a good idea to get a quote for cover to ensure affordability before you commit.

Make sure you like the property and the area
Make sure you really like the property and the area and if possible, talk  to the neighbours. Above all, don’t be rushed into making a purchase

7. Timing is everything – If you are relocating together to start a new career or situate your family in a new school catchment area, it is a good idea to leave some contingency time so that if the move is delayed, you won’t have to commute or have to wait another year for your children to join a new school.

8. Are you going to fall apart? – It’s easy to get swept away when you find your dream home but you need to be sensible and make sure that you conduct the appropriate surveys. New builds won’t require a structural survey but older properties may. A valuation report will outline any serious property defects but won’t look deeper into its condition. For this you will need to purchase a homebuyers’ survey/report, or a structural survey. This is the most comprehensive type of survey and the most suitable for listed buildings and renovation projects.

9. Set realistic expectations – Remember that there is no such thing as the perfect home. Even with an unlimited budget it would be difficult to secure a home with everything you want in it, short of building it yourself. Sit down together and agree your ‘must haves’ from your ‘maybes’ so that you know what you are both willing to compromise on when it comes to the crunch.

10. Does your relationship have longevity? – For those who are looking for a long-term love affair with their home, it’s wise to plan ahead. Think of potential room for improvements, such as an extension or conversion, and research the area for schools, amenities and employment opportunities. You might think it is too early to consider all these factors, but being prepared and knowing the full potential of the property, could make all the difference for your new home.

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