1: How much can I afford?
Owning a home is great but it does bring additional expenses. As well as one-off purchase costs, like stamp duty, legal fees and possible refurbishment work, you will also have on-going costs. These include things like home insurance and life insurance.
Make sure you understand the additional expenses so you have a clear picture of how much owning a home may cost before you sign on the dotted line.
2: Will I be able to save a deposit?
If you're a First Time Buyer buying a home valued at €300,000 you will need to save €30,000 for the deposit before you can apply for a mortgage. (First time buyers can borrow up to 90% of the value of the property).
It's a significant amount of money, which could take you a while to save. (Part of your deposit may be funded through a gift, or from other sources, and these sources will need to be provided). When saving for your deposit, make sure you put away enough of your income each month so that you can save up a deposit in a reasonable amount of time.
3: Where do I want to live?
Make a list of everywhere you'd love to buy a home but remember to consider neighbouring areas too; they may well be more affordable. Set up email alerts with property sites so that you know when anything new goes on sale in your chosen areas. Don't be afraid to drive around new neighbourhoods and discover places you could, potentially, be very happy to live in.
4: Where can I afford to live?
Many of us dream of buying a home in a specific neighbourhood, only to find we can't afford to buy there. If that's the case for you, broaden your search and do some serious research.
Rather than bid on the first house you can afford, investigate the area, the neighbourhood and local amenities. Is it close to where you work and served by good public transport? Does it have good local amenities and is it the kind of place you'd still like to be living in ten years’ time?
5: How long should I borrow for?
This will depend on your age and your individual set of circumstances. Banks usually have a maximum loan term, such as up to 35 years or to a maximum age of 70. Longer mortgages will certainly reduce your monthly repayments but, ultimately, they extend the life of the loan, which will end up costing you more over time.
6: Will this house meet my future needs?
It's hard for any of us to imagine what our lives will be like in ten years’ time. This makes property buying doubly tricky, especially if you think you might like to have children some day or maybe have elderly parents move in with you. In reality, few first-time buyers can afford to buy their forever home as a first home, but that shouldn't stop you from dreaming.
When house shopping, consider things like the potential to extend the property or to convert the attic. Life is forever changing so try to visualise how a property could meet your growing needs.
7: Can I afford to run a home?
As a homeowner, you will need to furnish and decorate your house before incurring all the usual everyday expenses. From property tax to water charges, appliances to utility bills, house maintenance to refuse collection, property management fees to central heating, home insurance and general wear and tear, it's important to know how much everything costs.
For more information on getting mortgage ready and top tips, signup to get your First Time Buyer e-book today.