Buying a home is one of the most exciting and self-affirming life experiences. Because of this, it can also be one the most stressful. We’ve put together some of the most common (and avoidable) mistakes that first time buyers continue to make, so you can be one step ahead. 1. Becoming Financially Stranded Before You Even Begin Familiarise yourself with potential hidden costs and factor them into your budget. Your deposit is just the start: Think about mortgage arrangement and valuation fees, removal and storage costs, legal fees, Stamp Duty, home insurance, surveyor fees and always have a contingency fund. Planning ahead eliminates nasty surprises. Check our previous blog post, which details the costs involved in buying a property and provides a guide as to how much budget you should put aside. Also be careful not to borrow too much by chasing your dream home. It may only be an additional £150 a month, but this is a long-term decision that will affect your lifestyle. Don’t run before you can walk and only borrow what you can truly afford. 2. Being Too ‘Green’ a Buyer Arm yourself with facts. This will make the process easier, especially when it comes to negotiation, which you should not be afraid of. Unrealistic expectations are also dangerous to first time buyers: There’s always flexibility but don’t expect a mansion on a flat budget… and if you find one, be very dubious indeed! Research your preferred area for price trends and its ambience at different times of the day. That quiet, leafy side-street could also be the bustling main walkway to the nearby football stadium on a weekend! 3. Failing To Conduct Structural Surveys The period features you so dearly love come with age, which means the house around it will too have aged. Period properties require specific - and often constant - maintenance to remain beautiful and safe. Do not take the risk, know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and get the most extensive structural survey you can afford. In the long run it is usually a false economy to skip a survey. 4. Letting Your Heart Rule Your Head It will be your home for a long time, but it will be an investment for longer. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know things change. Don’t let your emotions take over when buying a home and don’t pay over the odds for your dream home, it could be dead money. An expanding family or relocation could mean you need to sell up in years to come. And if you do, you want to be confident in your initial decision. Know your potential resale value – check with your local council for planned transformation schemes that could add value to the area. 5. Relying Too Heavily On The Internet Never underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction. Pop into your local estate agents’ for valuations, visit your bank or a mortgage advisor to see which deals you’re eligible for when buying a home. They are likely to suggest items that an online generator failed to display, and their knowledge is invaluable to first time buyers. The internet is wonderful, but information there could be outdated and you cannot be sure of the intention of the original source. However, that is not to say that the Internet is an invaluable property search tool. Most websites and property portals such as Rightmove, OnTheMarket and Zoopla allow you to register for property updates. This can be vital in keeping you up to date with the latest properties that match your search criteria. Add more tools to your arsenal; why not download a property app to keep up-to-date information on your smartphone? If you have any questions, please contact your local Martin & Co branch today. They’re happy to give free and solid advice, always.