A new year is the ideal time to make a fresh start. But is it a good time to purchase property?
Spring and autumn are usually the busiest periods in the year for buying a house, as there are more houses for sale in St Helens. Summer and winter tend to be much quieter – meaning that, with less demand, you may be able to bag yourself a bargain.
Mortgage payments are often most affordable for those with larger deposits, which could put first-time buyers off taking the plunge – especially if they have a small deposit.
However, with UK house prices forecast to remain low or decline slightly in 2024, and the Bank of England expected to cut interest rates this year, there’s a chance homebuyers may benefit from the ideal combination of lower house prices and mortgage rates.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer looking to get on to the property ladder, or you’re a homeowner in search of a larger family house or interested in downsizing, read on to find out what you need to consider when buying a home in St Helens.
6 factors to consider before buying a house
Buying a house is a time-consuming process – usually taking several months to complete. However, one of the first and most important things you need to decide on is what area you want to live in.
If you’re considering buying a house in St Helens, be sure to check out the different neighbourhoods within the town to find your perfect spot.
You’ll likely want to find somewhere that has easy access to your workplace. And if you have children, or plans to start a family, it’s worth taking the time to review the schools and nurseries in the local area, as well as the parks.
Need a little inspiration? Check out our blog ‘Best places to buy a house in St Helens’.
Buying a house often involves more financial expenses than originally meets the eye.
Not only do you need to budget and plan for one-off costs, such as the deposit and solicitor and mortgage broker fees, but you also need to factor in ongoing costs, like monthly mortgage payments, interest rates, home insurance, maintenance and utilities.
Our best advice? Find out how much money you can borrow from mortgage lenders and see the reality of monthly repayments and interest. Look at properties within your budget to ensure you don’t break the bank!
If you really wanted, you could look at houses that are a fraction over your budget and put in an offer that’s lower than the asking price, in the hope that the seller will accept.
The number of properties sold in the UK significantly dropped in 2023 as many home buyers struggled to afford high mortgage rates. However, with the rate of inflation gradually coming down, it seems that mortgage rates may have peaked and are starting to drop.
If you’re looking for houses for sale in St Helens but only have a small deposit, stretching to a 10% deposit (rather than 5%) will enable you to access cheaper rates and cut your monthly repayments.
Alternatively, taking out a longer mortgage term can help to improve affordability. You’ll end up paying back more, but if the rates drastically fall, you may be able to remortgage to a shorter term.
With that said, it’s worth doing your research. By all means, contact an experienced mortgage broker who can advise you on the best rates for your circumstances.
Something else worth thinking about before you buy a home is the size of the plot.
As you view a property, ask yourself whether you could picture yourself living there and how each room will work for you and your family – whether it means leaving it as it is or altering its layout.
If your family is growing, or you intend to host guests or need a home study or office, it’s a good idea to consider a home with more bedrooms than you currently need.
Age of the house
Though you may not think so, the age of the property can make or break whether you want to purchase it or not.
While older houses are known to have a more charming appeal than new builds, they’ll likely require more upgrades, repairs and improvements – meaning more time and budget spent on renovating.
If you’re in the market for a newly built property in St Helens, less maintenance will be required, but you should still attend viewings and assess its condition.
Home appliances, fixtures and fittings can be expensive to replace.
Taking the time to estimate the age and condition of things like the boiler and fireplace, to ensure they are up to date and suitable for your preferences, is highly recommended. This way, you can determine how soon an upgrade will be required and how convenient they will be to use or customise.
Ready to take the next step?
At Stapleton Derby Estate Agents, we have an extensive portfolio of properties for sale in St Helens.
Whether you’re looking to downsize to a cosy bungalow in Rainford village or upgrade to a spacious 4-bedroom detached house on the edge of the town centre in Sutton Leach, we have something to suit everyone.
Our local estate agents will discuss your requirements in full to help narrow your options down.
To book an appointment at our office in the town centre, call 01744 88 33 22.