So you think you’re ready to take your first steps onto the property ladder?

You’re excited about buying your first home and even if it’s not a castle it is likely to be your first major investment.

You have been influenced by the industry mantra of “location, location, location” but what other things should you take into consideration?

What can you afford?

People fall in love with houses before they have put their finances in place, but this lifestyle approach to house hunting will end in tears.

The best approach is to discuss your finances with an FSA approved independent financial advisor (IFA) who will determine what you can afford. They will arrange a mortgage for you or at least point you in the right direction.

Where do you want to live?

The location of the property should be high on your priority list.

If you get the location right then your first home may turn out to be a solid long-term investment.

However, you may also want to consider short-term gains from home ownership and explore the local transport links. What will your commute be like to and from work? Vary the times of travel, when you are assessing how long that five mile journey should and will take.

Also is the location where your friends are likely to hang out? What is the neighbourhood like for cafés, bars, restaurants and shops?

School league tables However, if your disco days are behind you and ‘garage’ to you means a home for your lawn mower rather than a genre of music, other location essentials should gravitate onto your radar.

Top of most parents’ list is getting their loved ones into the ‘right’ schools, which nowadays include nursery, primary as well as secondary.

Entry selection for top performing schools is still largely based on postcode. However, this is not the lottery most people perceive it to be as the more discerning parents do their research and specifically buy homes in these areas.

For more information on schools admission policies please visit

Property types The size of property you’ll be able to buy will largely be determined by the size of your budget, and your living space requirements so consider – are you up or downsizing?

The style of property will then come down to individual tastes and preferences. Purchasing a brand new home won’t provide the added value opportunities that older properties may allow, but if you want to do your bit for the environment they score highly as a green alternative.

Many new homes come with the latest energy-efficient appliances that make them six times more energy-efficient, and generate over 60% less CO2 emissions than older style homes, which is the equivalent of driving 10,000 miles less a year per household.

If you want an older property but not high heating costs then check out the government’s new green deal scheme.

This initiative provides financial incentives for properties built prior to the 1920s to make them more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. There is a limit of £10,000 for domestic home owners.

If you are considering buying a listed building, make sure you are aware of the implications. There are rules which apply that mean you must seek approval for changes you may wish to make.

While you may have the prestige of owning one, you will be bound by rules that prevent you from making a wide variety of changes and using improper materials.

  • For a selection of new and older homes to buy visit www.callaways or call Andrew on 01273 735237.