A guide to picking your first home

UK property hunters visit Zoopla and Rightmove around 180 million times a month - so 70 visits a second!

But as fun as house hunting can be as a pastime, in reality, your first property is unlikely to be your dream home. Unless you’re incredibly lucky, finding your first property usually involves a bit of a compromise.

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How to decide what’s important when choosing a house

This sort of list is very personal, as what’s important to you may be totally irrelevant to the next person. Some will prioritise location, whereas for other the budget is immovable.

1. Budget

Your budget is the dominant factor in choosing your home, as it limits the number of potential homes available to you.

Mojo Mortgage Matcher can help you quickly find out how much you can afford, but how much you should spend is a little different. This should be based on how much you want it, how much work it needs and how long you plan to live there.

2. Immediate suitability

It’s easy to view a property and see how much better you could make it, but keep in mind that renovation projects are costly and time consuming, so it’s a good idea to ensure the property can be lived in without any essential works - especially for buying your first home.

If you do plan to rework certain rooms or add to the property, that’s great, but make sure it’s affordable and will add value to your property. 

3. Location

Just like budget, location really focuses your search. Whether you’re keen to be close to friends and family, work, or a good school, you rarely have the whole UK to choose from. Some locations are far pricier than others, especially those that tick all of the typical boxes for a preferred location, such as transport, safety and availability of amenities.

Do your area research

There’s a wealth of information online about different neighbourhoods, locally available public transport, new building developments, crime rates etc. Investing a few hours in researching the location you intend to live in could help you decide whether to avoid or get that viewing booked asap. Remember not to rely solely on home viewings, which are often on a tranquil weekday afternoon. Return at rush hour, see how loud it is at night and how busy it is at the weekend.

You can also use sites like Zoopla to look at average house price growth in the area - resale value is really important in your first home. It’s often better to buy the cheapest house in a neighbourhood where prices are increasing, than the best house in an area where prices are falling.

4. Property features

Again, property features are a very personal factor in choosing the right home. Try to think about how you want to live, not the house you want to live in. If you love to cook and entertain, for example, is a sleek, minimalist, stainless steel breakfast bar what you’ll want from a kitchen - beautiful as it may be?

Only you will know what you like and what you need. But it’s important you make the distinction between a like and a need.

It’s normal to have a bit of trepidation going into a huge decision like buying your first home. Even if you’re on home number 3 or 4, you can worry it won’t work out.

Equally, buying a new home’s massively exciting. When you find a good one, our Mojo mortgage advisors are more than happy to help you find your ideal first-time buyer mortgage.

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