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Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Buying or selling a home

Buying a property is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life so it’s important you do your research before taking this step.  You need to

  • work out how much you can afford
  • decide where you want to live
  • make a list of the things that are important to you and the things you can compromise on. 

You can start your research by checking out property websites online. This will give you an idea of the properties within your budget that are available in your area. Visit estate agents in the area that you want to live in, but remember that agents are working on the seller’s behalf and are trying to get the highest possible price for the property.

Once you’ve found a property you like you’ll need to make an offer, arrange a mortgage and appoint a solicitor to help you complete the process.

There are a lot of hidden costs when you’re buying a house and it can be a long and sometimes frustrating process. You’ll be asked to pay various fees and charges and you need to budget for these.

Most people need to apply for a mortgage when they’re buying a home. This is a long term loan from a bank or building society. The loan is secured on your home so if you stop paying the bank can repossess the property. You should speak to an independent financial adviser to find out which type of mortgage is best for you.

There are a few schemes that can help people who want to buy their home but can’t afford a full mortgage or may not be able to pay a 10% deposit. The shared ownership scheme for people in Northern Ireland is run by Co-Ownership Housing Association. Think very carefully before buying a home under these schemes. Home ownership isn’t the best housing option for everyone.

You may encounter problems when trying to purchase your home. This can be a long and frustrating process.

The process for selling a home is generally the same for all people, whatever the reason for the sale. Most people will use an agent to market the property and you will have to pay a fee for this. You can sell your home privately but it can be harder to find buyers this way.

Problems can crop up at any stage of selling your home, particularly if you are in a chain.