First time buyer

9 June 2016

Home Renovations

With so many first time buyers across the UK on the lookout for their dream home, house-hunting can be a competitive process, particularly in the current housing market. Having strict criteria in place when looking for the perfect first home will mean first time buyers aren’t settling for second best during the sometimes seemingly endless property search. But what if the often materialistic home renovations that come with most properties are putting first time buyers off and ultimately preventing them from buying a perfectly good house? Here, Kate Murray, Principality Building Society’s Senior Savings Product Manager, shares her advice on the home renovations that shouldn’t put first time buyers off putting down that deposit.

It’s the biggest purchase of your life, and after years of saving many first time buyers – or first time triers as we like to call them - are put off buying a house that’s any less than perfect. But in today’s competitive housing market, first time buyers could be cutting themselves short by dismissing a house with minor home renovation needs. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Principality Building Society looking into the habits and needs of first time buyers across the UK, over half (54%) of respondents claimed they wouldn’t buy a home if it had a whiff of a bad smell in the property – something that more often than not is easy to get rid of. But from flaky paintwork to leaky sinks, its normal to expect some property maintenance when buying a house. And in fact, this might be the key to turning it from just a house, to your home.

What if there are stains on the carpet?

A new carpet can be a big financial investment, so it’s understandable that first time buyers might not be as keen on a property that features a few stains on the carpet. In fact, this was something 25% of the future homeowners we surveyed actually stated. But there’s no reason to dismiss a house completely for that reason, or even presume you will have to replace the whole carpet because of this. A good quality carpet cleaner can refresh your carpet and give the whole house a new lease of life. While hiring a company to clean the carpet for you will take the job off your hands, a more cost effective way would be to rent a physical carpet cleaner for much cheaper. A popular choice with homeowners at the moment is The Rug Doctor available at most home improvement stores, and will only cost you £33 for 24 hours.

Okay, but what about marks on the walls?

For nearly a third of the first time buyers we surveyed (30%), dirty marks on the walls would be equally as off putting. More surprising you might think, especially considering so many new homeowners like to give their house a fresh lick of paint on moving in. Even so, crossing a potential first home off the list because of this could see you right back at square one in the house-hunting process. There are plenty of home remedies which effectively remove stains on the walls if you’re trying to save money on re-painting when you move in to a property. Visit* for effective cleaning methods.

But which home improvements should I consider seriously before buying a house?

It’s rare you’ll find a house that is completely perfect and while some home improvements can be sorted with a little elbow grease, there are certain renovations that require more thought before putting down the deposit. Damp or mould for instance, which would put 66% first time buyers off purchasing their dream home, can be a much more timely and expensive issue to deal with. Severe mould in a house could indicate there is a bigger problem with condensation or water leaks in the property.

Elsewhere, a fifth of our surveyed first time buyers would also be put off a property if it had an old bathroom. Again, this is a large structural house renovation that can also come with a big price tag. Buying a home that is in need of a new bathroom is a commitment and one that should be considered carefully before signing on the dotted line. If you have enough savings to do so and not leave yourself in the red, you could vastly increase the value of your new home, but it’s worth taking the time to weigh up your options.

We all have an idea of what our dream home will look like, yet so rarely do house-hunters find exactly that. Following specific criteria will help you carefully consider the houses that aren’t right for you. However, not being put off by trivial home interiors improvements means you’ll quite literally get your foot in the door that much sooner than otherwise. Looking past materialistic issues could even save you time and money in the long run, not extending the house hunting process any longer. Once you’ve finally found a property, it’s the personal touches that will transform what is just a house, into your home.

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Published: 09/06/2016