Think you’re ready to buy your first home?

Buying your first home is a huge commitment, so to help you be absolutely certain about your decision, property expert and TV presenter Phil Spencer, has put together a list of important questions all first-time buyers should ask before making an offer on a property.

Can I realistically afford it?

Before you jump in with an offer, ask yourself some serious questions about what you can realistically afford to borrow.

Evaluate factors like future bills (council tax, water, electricity), changes in your circumstances and interest rates, to gain a bigger picture of your future finances.

Do I really like the location?

Are you entirely sure that the location you’re moving to is somewhere you’ll enjoy living for the foreseeable future?

The location isn’t just important for making you feel settled, it will also play a big role in your home’s potential resale value when you decide to move on.

Is this property right for me?

Now you’ve got the lowdown on the location, it’s time to scrutinise the property itself. This may be your dream home now, but that doesn’t mean it always will be.

Try to remove your emotions when viewing a property for a second time, and look at your potential new home with a level head.

Always get a property survey! A surveyor will spot any potential, more serious issues early on.

There are different types of surveys available depending on the type of property involved and your budget.

Tip: try to use a surveyor who has worked on similar properties before.

Should I buy freehold or leasehold?

Is the property freehold or leasehold? Essentially, this comes down to whether you own the property and land yourself (freehold) or whether someone else does (leasehold).

If you’re buying a leasehold property, there will be ongoing costs throughout the duration of the lease, such as ground rent and service charges, which you’ll need to be aware of.

What can the seller tell me?

Building a good relationship with the seller is going to help you a lot when it comes to the offers and negotiation stage. It will also allow you the freedom to get the run-down on the property.

It can feel a little awkward asking a stranger these types of targeted questions but don’t get nervous and back down, the knowledge you gain will benefit you in the long run.

How can the agent help me?

Before you put in an offer on the property, make sure you grab the agent for a frank chat. Now’s your chance to ask as many questions as you can to help confirm whether you’re making the right decision.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • How have they reached the asking price of the property?
  • How much did the seller pay for the property? They may not want to tell you, but it’s worth a try. My property report is a must-have when it comes to knowing all the facts.
  • Has the property had any issues or problems in the past? The agent is not obliged to tell buyers about defects but if asked directly they are legally required to!
What’s likely to happen in the area in the future?

Check in the property report about approved or pending planning applications that you don't know about.

The area might seem perfect now, but a construction site on your doorstep could dramatically alter the look and feel of the neighbourhood.

Have I got all the information I need?

Making an offer on your first house is an exciting time, but it’s not something you should rush into. The more informed you are as a first-time buyer, the less likely you will run into any unforeseen obstacles or hidden costs.

My property report covers all the key topics you need to think about before making an offer in your chosen location.

Need further advice?

To access step-by-step guides and checklists designed to help first-time buyers as well as save you time and money, sign up to Move iQ for free  there are also a range of member rewards for you to access.

 Whether you're buying, renting, selling, moving or owning, Phil shares his property advice all in one place over on www.moveiq.co.uk

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