The number of first-time buyers in the United Kingdom is now at its highest for over a decade. If you’re one of the thousands of people who are looking to get on that first rung of the property ladder, then finding the right home can be a daunting process. Follow our tips and you could be moving in to your first home in no time at all!

1) Know your limits

Starting your search with a clear idea of what you can afford is a key aspect in terms of finding the right home. Oftentimes, first-time buyers are so excited at the thought of starting their property search that they begin with expectations soaring. Knowing your financial limit is key; before you start your search, we would recommend having a mortgage-in-principal approved so that you know exactly what you can afford. Starting your hunt by looking at homes twice your actual budget will only end in disappointment and will unduly extend your search – be realistic, set your limits and keep those finances in mind!

2) Don’t go it alone!

One of the biggest mistakes that first-time buyers make is trying to manage the whole process alone. Finding a good estate agent who will help you not only in the property search, but also during the financial process of buying a property, will be the difference between peace of mind and undue stress. Remember, it is the sole purpose of an estate agent to match properties with people, therefore as suitable properties are brought to market which suit your requirements you will be the first to receive property details if you’re registered with an agent – giving you the edge.

3) Half an hour, time to scour

Did you know that, on average, buyers spend just 30 minutes looking at a property before they put in an offer? Half an hour is not enough time to make a sound decision on purchasing a property! When you are new to the property game, it can seem awkward to spend too long looking around; however, if you are serious about the property then feel free to overstay your welcome. Check absolutely everything around the property – open cupboards, look at plug sockets, light switches, open windows and venture into the loft, if there is one. Having this in-depth look into the property will hone your mind onto the minutiae and take you away from the excitement of wanting to make an offer; it will also provide you with a “snagging list” which will be invaluable when it comes to haggling with the price. If you feel like you still have more to see around the property then arrange multiple viewings; seeing the property at different times will give you a better feel for the neighbourhood and your immediate neighbours.

4) Don’t be seduced by décor

One of the most difficult things to do when looking for a property, and often cited by even the most seasoned property purchaser as a difficulty, is to look past the current decoration. This can work in two ways; if you view a property with elegant decoration it is easy to fall in love with the aesthetic; however, keep in mind that the chic furniture will all be gone when you move in. The second way in which decoration can put a dampener on your search is that you dislike the taste of the current owners and can’t see through it. If you don’t like the presentation of a property, then try to look past the individual components such as curtains and carpets and instead focus on the bones of the room underneath; looking at the features of the room and the overall size as there could be a fabulous space just waiting to be uncovered.

5) Don’t take all of the credit

You have your mortgage-in principal, you’ve worked with an estate agent to find that perfect home within your budget and you have visited the property multiple times, checking everything from water quality to windowsills. The dream is practically complete; you have that contract signed and the countdown to completion is on – so now you’re on the home straight to first-time property bliss. How to celebrate? A new car that will look lovely on your new driveway, a large television to adorn your living room wall or an expensive sofa to relax upon? Whatever happens, before your property purchase completes do not take out any other credit lines whatsoever as this could put the property purchase in severe jeopardy. Some mortgage lenders will pull one final credit report before completion in order to ensure that your status has not changed – taking further credit out will endanger this so wait until your purchase completes before splashing out the cash.