The decision to buy a house is one of the biggest you’ll make in your life. But whether you’re looking for your first house or forever home, you must test the impact it will have on your life. From the cost, location, and life direction, you need to check that you’re ready for the big move.

Home viewings, design aspirations, and the emotion of buying a house can be an exciting process. But it is important not to get too far ahead of yourself. Instead, take a step back and understand how each aspect of a new house will affect your life.

We’ve compiled some of the big questions you need to ask yourself before buying a house. Together, we’ll explore the hidden costs, your needs, and evaluate your lifelong goals. This will reveal if buying a house is right for you. If it is – great. If not, we’ll look at what you can do to help make your dream home a reality.

1.      What’s the cost?

It’s a simple question, but it can be dismissed far too easily. The house price is not the only cost involved when buying a property. Only calculating your monthly mortgage outgoings will simply not cut it. Your mortgage may be the main focus of home buying expenses, but we must breakdown the hidden costs we don’t always think of. Aside from the mortgage, you will also need to factor in costs for:

  • Stamp duty
  • Mortgage valuation survey
  • Reservation fee for new-build homes if applicable
  • Legal fees
  • Electronic transfer fee
  • Estate agents fee if applicable
  • Removal costs

The cost of these can vary. It may depend on the property value or the physical wellbeing of the house. But you may expect to pay at least an extra £2,000 by moving day. However, there are solutions to this problem. Until 31 March 2021, you will pay no stamp duty on properties up to the value of £500,000. After this date, you will only be exempt from the tax on properties under the value of £125,000. But if you’re buying your first home, you can claim relief from the tax for properties up to £300,000. Even then, there are more money-saving benefits to buying a new-build house. One national house-building business, St. Modwen Homes, has extended the stamp duty holiday until 1 June 2021.

2.      Why do you want to buy a house?

This may seem like a simple question with a simple answer. Homes, after all, are a necessity. However, when we ask why you want to buy a house, we’re actually asking you to be a little more analytical: What do you need from a house? Where will you buy a house? And how long do you plan to live there?

You need to cover all bases. A 2020 survey found that 42 per cent of homeowners regret not paying more attention to particular aspects of the home they chose to buy.

Everyone is an individual and this changes tastes and needs. But our style doesn’t always match up with our living necessities.

For example, someone who works at home may want a big home office. This can be found in a lot of houses, but which home doubles down and provides a fast and reliable internet connection? Let’s say that you work from home and want to live in a leafy market town like Newton-le-Willows. The aesthetic of the village community is appealing, after all. However, older buildings are not likely to offer the internet speeds you need to work from home. No one wants a lagging video-call meeting. Therefore, you may want to look for new-build houses in Newton-le-Willows. New-build houses are designed with modern and hyperoptic technology, meaning they are more likely to have fast internet. They may also offer more comfortable office space, than older buildings in historic market towns. But you still get to live in your dream location. You must think about your location, what you need, and how this can be achieved.

You may want a home to start a family in the near future. Is your home large enough for this goal and is it in a good catchment zone for schools? A good catchment zone can help boost your child’s education and may help with their prospects.

Simply put, don’t just think about your needs now. Think about your needs in five or ten years. How are your needs likely to change in the future, and are these needs being accounted for when choosing your dream home today?

3.      Are you ready for the responsibility?

Remembering bin day can be a mission in itself. But owning a home comes with more responsibilities than you may think. When you buy a home, that property becomes your responsibility. This means that the costs involved with the repair and maintenance of the house will come from your pocket. Home renters would usually expect the landlord to do this.

Additional responsibilities include a commitment to the community that you join. You and your neighbours should strive to create a welcoming community, keeping the area clean and safe. However, this in itself can be a benefit of homeownership. Finding a home in a community that you care about means that you are ready to dedicate your time and money to create the best possible place to live, for you and your family.

Increased responsibilities have even more benefits to counter the extra work you put in. Updates to your property can increase its value and ensure that your home reflects your tastes. The responsibility of paying a mortgage also contributes to your financial security. Homeownership is an investment. The money you pay goes into the property as opposed to paying a landlord. Ultimately, the responsibility of owning a home is worth it, but you must be prepared for what that involves.

The home-buying journey is exciting, and rightly so. Choosing the home where you want to spend the next chapter of your life is a big decision. But we should also be wary of everything that surrounds that decision. Buying a house may be the best thing you ever do. Ensuring that you’re prepared for that moment can make the experience of buying and living in your new home even better.