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10 Tips when buying your first property

 
Green shoots have started to emerge in the Irish property market with our office seeing an increase in the number of conveyancing transactions and in particular first time buyers purchasing their first home.  
 
We set out our top 10 tips for any first time purchaser wanting to make that leap on to the property ladder:
 
1.Know your budget
 
It is essential prior to going house hunting that you know what your budget is.  It is essential that you submit all of your paperwork to your lending institution and make an application for a mortgage approval in principle.  This will allow you to know how much a lending institution will lend to you based on your income and your current level of existing debt. 
 
2.Save for your deposit
 
Most lending institutions will allow a purchaser to borrow 90% of the purchase price.  Gone are the days of 100% mortgages.  You must be in a position to pay 10% of the purchase price on the signing of Contracts. 
 
3.Consult a mortgage intermediary 
 
The mortgage intermediary will best compare the various interest rates, the term of the loan being offered and the conditions attaching to the loan.
 
4.Ensure you can obtain life cover  
 
All mortgage providers require a purchaser to put a mortgage protection policy in place.  If you have had a medical procedure or recent illness the life insurance company may require a medical certificate or a medical examination to be carried out.  This can take time so allow for a delay in the issue of loan approval.  
 
5.Choose a property that suits the needs of your family
 
A good deal of consideration must go into the type of property that suits your needs.  Many have purchased apartments but now find themselves with a growing family and apartment living is no longer suited to their needs.  Assess your current and future needs before choosing a property and, if possible, choose a South facing rear garden or an apartment with a South West aspect.
 
6.Research the area in which you intend to purchase 
 
There are lots of online forums that can be reviewed to obtain information on many housing estates.  If possible, speak to other home owners in the area.  A good idea is to rent a property in the area prior to purchasing, perhaps while you are saving for your deposit. A good neighbour in a good neighbourhood is a treasure.
  
7.Instruct an Architect to carry out Structural Surveyor
 
When you have agreed a sale employ the services of an Architect or Engineer to carry out a survey of the property to identify any structural defects and to ensure that any alterations or additions to the property comply with planning permission and building regulations.  The lending institution do instruct a Valuer to value the property but this is not a survey on the condition of the property and is sometimes referred to as a “driveby valuation”.
 
8.Don’t forget about the ancillary costs of purchasing a home 
 
It is essential that you budget for the stamp duty payable on the transaction, legal fees and the cost of a surveyor. 
 
9.View the property again the day before closing the transaction 
 
Always make an appointment with the Auctioneer the day before closing the transaction to do a walk through the property again.  Unfortunately some previous owners leave more than the celebratory bottle of wine in the fridge for the new owner.  Nothing takes the smile off the as quick as a lot of rubbish in the attic or garage. The “walk through” the day before means that the closing can be delayed until such time as the vendor has cleared the property in full or terms agreed in lieu. 
 
10.Ask lots of Questions
 
The professionals that you employ during this process are there to help so ask your Auctioneer/Architect/Mortgage Advisor and your Solicitor to answer all your doubts and worries.  This is the single biggest transaction you will enter into during your life time and you should be absolutely certain on every aspect of the transaction.