How to Avoid Financial Pitfalls When Buying Your First Home

There’s no doubt that buying your first home, especially in this economy, is a major milestone, a very rewarding one. But this is something that has a lot of financial complexities to it. Even if you hire a real estate agent for you, it’s still going to be pretty challenging to navigate all of this, too. There needs to be a lot of financial planning put into this because there’s always a chance that you might actually be financially ruining yourself if you make the wrong decision. So, here’s how you can avoid financial pitfalls when buying your first-ever home. 

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You Need to Have a Realistic Budget

With the idea of looking into houses, browsing online for home decor, conveyancing solicitors, real estate firms, you name it, you’re first going to need to be upfront with yourself on what type of budget you can realistically have. So, what sort of financial situation are you currently in? It’s best to consider not only the purchase price but also additional costs like closing fees, property taxes, insurance, and potential maintenance expenses. 

Seriously, a lot of money goes into this; you have no choice but to pay for a lot of third parties, too, and there’s no way around it either. So, just be sure to keep all of this in mind. 

Take Time to Save

When you’re saving up, you’re going to want this to be healthy; you don’t want to just barely get by or skip meals in order to save up for something like this. While there are loan programs that accept smaller down payments, saving for a substantial down payment is advantageous for this situation because the mortgage payments tend to be small. So, just give yourself time to save up, not just for a down payment, but all the third-party services, the furniture, the move, the inspection, and so on. It’s going to be really expensive in the long run. 

What Might Be the Total Cost of Ownership?

Just because you can afford an ugly fixer-upper doesn’t mean that you should get it. The same thing goes for a large house; just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you should get it. You just want to keep in mind that beyond the mortgage, you’re going to have to factor in all costs associated with homeownership. 

This includes property taxes, homeowner’s association fees, utilities, and maintenance expenses- and the list could continue. Every house is going to be different; even if the cost of the sale of the house is the same, the upkeep, taxes, fees, and bills could still heavily vary. 

You Still Need an Emergency Fund

Whatever you do, do not take out money from your retirement fund or even your emergency fund either. There’s always going to be unexpected costs that will rear its head, so do you really want to deal with that? You’re definitely going to need a financial cushion because you never know when home repairs, appliance replacements, or sudden maintenance needs can arise. Even these can cause you to get into financial ruin, so make sure your emergency fund is strong. 

Selling Your House? 5 Things to Never Say to an Estate Agent

There are a few things you should never say to an estate agent when trying to sell your home. Not because they are unprofessional but for the opposite reason. They have a duty to your sale, but also to your instruction. So, you always need to be pretty careful about any comments.

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Never Say You Won’t Settle

You should not settle on an offer you believe is unfair, but it isn’t wise to say you will never settle with your estate agent. This can instruct them to leave your home on the market with parameters that don’t work for you. And this can end up costing more time and money. After your house valuation, you need a price that fairly reflects your property, yet one that also helps a buyer decide. And in a buyer’s market, you may have to take a hit on some offers on your home.

Never Say You’re Not Interested in Low Offers

In a similar way to the point above, it isn’t wise to tell your agent you won’t accept low offers. It can take a while to sell your home, and the expectations of buyers and what they are willing to offer can vary based on supply and demand. What you consider a low offer after a while can, in fact, be a good one. Yet it can seem low compared to your home’s assessment from a few months before. It may come to the point where you have to accept an offer before it’s too low.

Never Say to an Estate Agent, “Don’t Show My Home.”

One of the most effective ways to sell your home is to allow potential buyers to see it. Of course, this means opening up your home to strangers. But estate agents are professionals at doing this and know what they are doing. Yet if you don’t allow them to show people around the home they are interested in buying, the average time to sell, between 4 and 6 months, will probably take much longer. The fact is that people like to see (and get a feel for) a home they are buying.

Never Say You Can Take Your Time

Supply and demand are mentioned above, and you need to understand the basics of this when it comes to home sales. The longer something is on sale, like a home, the bigger the chance of supply outstripping demand. When this happens, your home will become less valuable, and therefore, you have a lower chance of getting your asking price. If you tell an estate agent you have time, then they will place less priority on your home sale and reduce the possible value.

Never Disclose Personal Reasons for a Sale

Selling your home can be a game of give and take, and negotiation is part of that game. But if you inform your agent about personal reasons for selling the property, especially if time is a factor, they are legally obliged to disclose this if asked. But you aren’t. If a potential buyer knows you are in a desperate situation, they can use it against you to try to take advantage by offering a price well under what you are asking. And this can force you to accept an unfair property offer.


There are some things to never say to an estate agent, such as that you won’t settle. You should also never instruct them not to show your home because buyers are more likely to make an offer if they can see it. And never disclose personal reasons that can be taken advantage of.

What’s the Difference Between A Freehold and Leasehold Property?

When buying a home, you may come across the two terms ‘freehold’ and ‘leasehold’. It’s important to understand the difference between the two as there can be different costs associated with each. This post explains exactly what freehold and leasehold properties are and the important difference between them. 

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Freehold vs leasehold explained

The difference between freehold and leasehold all comes down to land ownership. When you buy a freehold property, you own both the property and the land. When you buy a leasehold property, you own the property, but not the land it’s built on.

The terms are also different in both cases. With a freehold property, you have ownership of the property until you decide to sell. With a leasehold property, you have ownership for a fixed term until your lease expires or until you sell. Unless you renew your lease, you will lose ownership of your home. That said, most leases are very long and never need to be renewed. 

In the UK most leasehold properties are flats, while most freehold properties are houses. Of course, there are exceptions, so you need to be wary when buying a flat or house not to assume that it is leasehold or freehold. 

What is ground rent?

Because you do not own the land when moving into a leasehold property, you’ll usually have to pay an extra fee called ground rent. This can vary in cost, but is usually not too expensive – the average ground rent is between £200 and £500 per year.

Some leasehold owners charge very low ground rent rates of as little as £1 per year. This is often known as ‘peppercorn’ ground rent, Some leasehold owners may not even bother to collect peppercorn rent, meaning that you essentially don’t have to pay anything. Such leasehold properties are worth looking out for. 

Is a service charge the same as ground rent?

Many apartment blocks will also ask for a service charge, which is different from ground rent. The service charge covers maintenance of communal and shared areas of the apartment building. The service charge and ground rent may be billed together, or billed separately. 

What are your rights when it comes to renovating?

With a freehold property, you have the right to make any improvements you want, providing that they’re legal and permitted by your local planning committee. This is typically what people think about when they think of home ownership.

When renovating a leasehold property, there are likely to be more restrictions when it comes to renovating. In some cases, it can be just as restrictive as renting – you may not be able to make any structural changes and may even have to ask permission to make minor improvements. That said, you’re more likely to get permission to do things like painting walls, replacing flooring and hanging up shelves than you would renting.

What are the benefits of a leasehold property?

It may seem that there aren’t many benefits to leasehold properties compared to freehold properties. After all, you have a set lease term, you have to pay ground rent and renovations are more heavily restricted. 

However, leasehold properties do still allow you to build equity and get your money back when you sell. You can also rent them out as you would with a freehold property. Compared to freehold properties, they can also be cheaper to buy overall. All in all, a leasehold property is still better than renting. 

How to Get Your Child to Learn More About Real Estate

Teaching can be fairly easy when it comes to your first few years as a parent. You’re taking care of your little one, you’re letting them develop their own interests, and on top of that you’re teaching them the basic things such as ABC and counting to ten. While the theory of teaching and taking care of children sound simple, in practice, it can be quite challenging of course. But as your child navigates through life, they’ll learn more about how to survive once they reach adulthood so they can thrive.  While school can teach plenty of life lessons to your children, one thing they don’t teach is real estate.

Real estate and real estate investing are important. It needs to be known and understood so adults can purchase their first house. But property value isn’t the only thing either, interest, mortgage, banks, savings, and overall financial health also play a major impact in this as well. These are things that aren’t exactly covered in school, quite possibly in college as well.  So, how can you teach this to your little one? How can you get them to understand the importance of financial health and the impact of real estate? These helpful tips may be all you need to get started on this journey.

Why is it so important to teach children about real estate?

Many people think that it is not a good idea to teach their kids about real estate because they want them to have a carefree childhood. While that’s understandable, a child has to learn so they can make smart decisions once they reach adulthood. Besides, there are many benefits to learning about real estate at a young age. Children who are taught about real estate at an early age are more likely to purchase their first home before the age of 30.

Start by teaching them the value of a dollar

Children believe that money is an infinite source, that there doesn’t need to be any work, trade, or anything in order to receive it. It’s natural for kids, especially small kids to have their train of thought. So, what can be done? First, begin by teaching them that money is a scarce resource and it’s not something that their parents can pull out of thin air.  You just need to find an age-appropriate way to get them to understand, and one of the classic ways is through chores.  Getting them to understand money at a young age is going to ensure financial wellbeing.

Letting them work for the money will also let them know that there needs to be some sort of trade to get money. It also teaches them that if they want something, they will need to work for it, and it also teaches them that the things they have, are thanks to their parents working for it.  It takes a little while to teach, but kids will eventually get the understanding.

Let them play video games

While real estate is something that can be difficult to grasp for someone at any age, the sooner, the better. So teaching it to them at a young age will be optimal. If you love video games, then this could be a great and engaging way to have some fun with your child while also teaching them about real estate.  There are plenty of video games that are out that do teach basic economics, financial health, and real estate. You, of course, will want to choose a game that can nicely reflect on your child’s age.

While The Sims franchise can be a great option if you have a tween to teenager, for the younger kids you could opt-in to playing Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon. This family fun bonding time can be one of the best ways to get your kid interested in real estate.

Get them involved

If you’re a property owner, why not talk about your property with your little one? You can explain the ways that you’re working towards raising the value of the property (such as home renovations or curb appeal), but if you have multiple properties, you can get them involved in that as well.  This can include letting them look at a lodger agreement template for your tenants, but you can even teach them the odds and ends of how you invest.

 Children are visual learners, so getting them to learn all about this up-close and personal can be a great way to get them to understand all about it. So just bring them along when you’re working on boosting property value, managing money for your real estate, and when you’re hunting for real estate to buy. It can be a great educational experience for them. 

Everything You Need to Know About the Financial Aspects of Buying Property

There are many important financial considerations when buying a property. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand all the costs associated with the purchase to decide whether or not to buy. This blog post will discuss some of the critical financial aspects of property buying. 

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1) The Down Payment

One of the most important financial aspects of buying a property is the down payment. This is the amount of money you pay upfront to secure the property. The down payment usually ranges from 20% to 40% of the total purchase price, although many exceptions exist. 

If you don’t have enough cash saved up for a down payment, you may be able to get a loan from a bank or other lending institution. However, be aware that taking out a loan will increase your monthly payments and could also add years to the time it takes to pay off your mortgage. 

2) The Mortgage

Once you’ve saved up enough for a down payment, the next step is to get a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan from a bank or other lending institution that enables you to purchase a property. The mortgage will have specific terms and conditions, including the amount of money you need to borrow, the interest rate, and the length of time it will take to pay back the loan. 

It’s essential to shop around for the best mortgage rates and different mortgage brokers, as they can vary significantly from lender to lender. Also, be sure to read all the fine print before signing any paperwork! 

3) The Closing Costs

In addition to the down payment and mortgage, there are also closing costs associated with buying property. These are fees charged by the lender, real estate agent, government, and others involved in the transaction. Closing costs can add up quickly, so it’s important to factor them into your budget when considering whether or not to purchase a property. 

4) The Maintenance Costs

Once you’ve purchased a property, there will also be ongoing maintenance costs. These can include things like painting, repairs, landscaping, and more. It’s important to factor these costs into your budget when deciding whether or not to buy a property. 

5) The Property Taxes

Another important financial consideration when buying a property is property taxes. These are levied by the government and can be a significant amount of money, depending on the property’s value. Therefore, it’s important to factor in property taxes when budgeting for your purchase. 

6) The Insurance

When you purchase a property, you will also need to get insurance. This protects you in case of damage to the property or if someone is injured while on the property. The cost of insurance will vary depending on the property’s value and the location. 

There are many important financial considerations to consider when buying property. By understanding all the associated costs, you can make an informed decision about whether or not purchasing a property is the right choice for you.