Are you thinking about buying your first home, but you don’t know where to start?   It’s crucial to understand the various steps involved in buying a property, to reduce upcoming challenges and surprises during the purchasing process. We have put together a checklist of how to prepare to help you.

1. Set yourself a budget

If you do not already have a budget, create a financial plan. Make a list of all the expenses you endure in a year. This should include transport costs, credit card payments, groceries, insurance, and bills. This list will enable you to keep track of all outgoing costs and to calculate how much you can save per month.

2. Survey mortgage terms and regulations of local banks

Several banks have an online calculator on their website that you can use to help calculate your mortgage. These will take into account your income, expenses and quote you roughly on your borrowing ability. Speak with your local banks as they can advise on a realistic budget.

Make sure you have all of your tax records, financial statements, recent paychecks, rent checks or utility payments in one place. Financial institutions may ask to see these when you take out a mortgage.

3. Decide where you want to move

A permanent residence is a long term commitment so it’s important to spend time researching and visiting different areas, to find the perfect location.  Ask yourself: Are there good schools in the region? Does the area have a good infrastructure? What are the future development plans and how has the area changed in the last five years?

Tax and insurance may also vary in different regions, so make sure you have a clear understanding of your new location.

4. Hire an agent

Real estate agents are well equipped with local knowledge. They are also well versed in legal procedures and paperwork. Furthermore, having a professional to locate homes for you that will meet your needs will help save you time and energy.

5. Make a home-inspection list

Once you have found a suitable house, make sure you have a closer look at the overall condition. Make a list of everything you need to inspect, to ensure that you do not miss anything that may be problematic later. You can request repairs, and changes to any undisclosed defects, or even renegotiate a lower price.

6. Take your time

Instead of rushing into a purchase, set yourself an appropriate deadline and save up for the down payment. There are a lot of beautiful houses out there. Put aside other major purchases until you can afford to make an offer for what you want and that you will be happy with in the long run.

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