As a first-time buyer, much depends on your choice of property – especially as it is likely to be one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make.
Also, although you may have been already dreaming about design elements such as open floor layouts or sunny terraces, your first home may not be able to fit that vision in terms of affordability, maintenance needs, or even your lifestyle.
But don’t let that dampen your enthusiasm for taking this important step onto the property ladder. By switching your mindset from emotional factors to practical considerations during your search, you can find the starter home that is right for you.
Here are four signs you’ve found the perfect place to call your own.
Your budget will possibly be the biggest decider of your first home. It will need to factor in everything from how much you can afford to pay as a mortgage every month, to the cost of any refurbishments the property requires to make it livable and any future maintenance costs.
Before you start house-hunting, you will need to know what you can afford to spend. Here, your RE/MAX agent can guide you as you calculate your budget, narrowing it down to a figure, perhaps after you have talked with your bank or mortgage lender.
Equipped with your personal budget, it is time to start looking for properties for sale in Malta via the property listings – but don’t lose your head. Remember, just because you might qualify for a certain amount, does not mean that you should go for a place at the top of your budget. If you do, you might find yourself struggling to meet the monthly mortgage payments or having to spend your savings on maintenance.
Instead of going all-in on your first property, better to keep it affordable and save for whatever the future might hold for you or your home.
As you make the leap from renting to buying, you now become responsible for the upkeep of your home. When something breaks or needs repair, it will be down to you to get it fixed rather than a landlord.
If you find this prospect daunting, then we advise you stick to a smaller first home that is easier to maintain on a long-term basis. This is your ideal opportunity to learn the ropes of property ownership – especially if you are considering becoming a second-time buyer and upsizing to a larger place later – so give yourself a smoother transition and start small.
Plus, this may not be the time to consider buying a fixer-upper that needs a lot of upgrades and renovations. As you join the property ladder, you would be better off buying a home that needs minimum repairs or remodeling and is move-in ready.
Finding the right home for you is all about location. Many first-time buyers tend to put more focus on the inside’s layout or decor, without thinking about external factors such as distance from family or friends, the commute to work, accessibility of shops or amenities and so on. Your home must complement your current lifestyle rather than work against it – and while you may find your dream property from the inside, its location could still be a dealbreaker.
And it is not just your current lifestyle that you should consider here. To make a property investment make sense versus continuing to pay rent, you are likely to be living in this home for at least the next five years. Ask yourself: will the place still work with your changing lifestyle over this time?
You may have factored in where you expect to be in five years’ time – but now is the time to think along the same lines for the property itself.
Consider your next step before you sign on the dotted line, whether that might be selling up after a time and putting the funds towards buying a bigger place, making it a second home, or perhaps offering it for rental purposes.
If any of the above are on the cards for you, then a starter home is the ideal investment, provided it is in keeping with your future goals (by ensuring it is eligible for rental, for example). However, if you are looking for somewhere a little more permanent, then that could raise another set of considerations for your first home wish list.
The moment you buy your first home will likely be a memory you will cherish forever – but it can still be a daunting process. Your RE/MAX agent can help you to choose a starter home that offers the best fit for your lifestyle today and in the future, which you can afford long-term and make your own.