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Friday, 13 April 2018

First time home buyer- What we learned.

I am extremely lucky to say the least to be now a home owner. I am 40 years of age and when I was living in London I though this would never become a reality and that I'll be renting (and paying someone else mortgage) for the rest of my life. To be fair buying in London is still an almost impossible thing for most Londoners due to high sky house / flat price even if you are earning well, rent price are so high along with everything else, that saving is near impossible or at least saving enough for a mortgage prove to be very difficult have been there and I am not even a high maintenance person . Therefore we did it. Don't take me wrong my partner and I, even so we managed to save enough, we were still not able to buy or to save enough to buy in London unfortunately.
So we moved out of London (unfortunately like many other Londoners that I had no choice to move out to be able to offer a property) to be able to get on the housing market. We moved to Banbury in Oxfordshire. A one hour journey to London by train. We bought our 3 bedrooms semi-house just over a year ago and even so moving out of London (I lived in London for 18 years) was not an easy move, as I miss this city a lot, I will so do it again with no hesitation.

 So what we learned from buying our first place:

TIME
You need to know that it s not going to take 2 weeks and its not going to be an easy ride. Buying a place can take from 6 months to a year. so my first advice to you its be prepared once you found a house and that your offer have been accepted that you might not move in your dream home until maybe a year. Once you accepted this you'll be fine and ready for the challenge upfront.


AGENCY
We dealt with an agency, not by choice but previous owner sold their house with the help of one and we had no choice to go along with it.
I'll tell you something the day we'll decide to sale our house I can ensure you we'll avoid agency like the plague and we'll be selling our house independently. 
Like renting agencies in London (and I am sure everywhere else too)  they've been the pain of my renting life for many, many years and buying a house made our experience as bad as when we were renting. Dealing with the agency have been extremely slow to get the simplest answer, paper work etc. (hence why it can take a year along with lawyer etc.to get the 'key' ) In fact so slow that when our offer got accepted along with the bank credit ...we had to start all over again by sending our mortgage request again to our bank for a second time as the date on our first agreement expired! This was not our fault but the agency fault. 
So my advice its be prepared that if the house you buy is being sold through out an agency this might make you grow white hairs or not... but be prepared! Always keep copies of everything, anything you send by post to be 'sign for' etc.  it will cost you a little fortune but worth to avoid all the headache in the long run. Keep chasing them, keep reminding them dead line, be the pain in their life (for once sounds amazing!) sound arsh but our experience have been so poor that if you want things done quicker (or hoping to) then be on their case at all time. 


HOUSE VALUATION
Have one done! Don't even think of avoiding it. I highly recommend you get a house valuation done at 100% . To have it fully done cost much more money than partly done but it will reveal if you are about to pay the right price for the property but mostly to really find out the state of your property that you are about to buy from roof to the ground your house have been builted. We did uncovered few things, which weren't alarming, but was worth to know and this is how we found out too that the offer we gave was the right offer (originally previous owner ask much more than what his house was worth it so good to know as you could save thousands!!).


MISTAKE WE MADE
But we learned from it. 
When we first visit our future house we regret to not have done some kind of agreement or even some kind of contract for previous owner to empty their house to all their belonging including what was in the loft and not take with them stuff that belong to the property such as doors.
Let me explain:
On the day we got the key (the same day as we moved in) previous owner left all the curtains, all light ceiling pendants, pot plants, garden ornament and other bits and bobs. 
Don't take me wrong, even so we do not like their taste, we were rather happy they left all curtains behind as we had none at the time (we were not too keen on the rest left but we were just not too bother). 
But this is where we got very angry: we uncovered few weeks later that they left a huge amount of their rubbish in the loft. Here what we found: a large sink (yes a fully functional sink!), a broken stereo, huge broken speakers the size of a chair, a oven, a microwave (all broken too!) a large amount of broken mirror and frames (why keeping broken stuff in a loft ??), large random piece of wood, some old curtains, curtain shower ,a whole broken wardrobe that have been flat pack etc. 
It was very annoying to find that, as not only we almost broke our back to get all down from the loft, it literally took us 4 trips to the recycle tip. Yes 4 trips! Trips that cost us money on petrol, as our nearest recycle tip is 25 minutes away, and also money as some stuff that we left at the tip were chargeable for, such as the sink and electric goods. We were not happy to say the least.
Oh! I forgot the most important thing. We have a porch! so to get inside our property we had to open 2 doors. Well guess what? The day we moved in one of the porch door was missing. After chasing for weeks the agency, which could not gave us a real answer on why the door was missing? We find out from our neighbour that previous owner just took the door with them. As we can not prove it we just had to sat on it. 


So my advice its make sure you have some kind of agreement on paper/contract...? with agency/lawyer/ previous owner that the house you are buying will be emptied of all previous owner things including from the loft and missing part of your house (e.i. door, gate etc.) will be credited back (if missing on the day of moving in). Sounds a bit extreme but having to spend a whole weekend emptying that loft and paying £400 for a new door was not something we wanted to pay or deal with.


So here you have my little insight on buying a first home. I have so much more to say but it would take me 12 pages if not more to mention it all. Just remember to not trust anyone (agency, previous owner etc.) but do work with them as best as you can too. Keep copies of everything and just enjoy because it is stressful but also very exciting!!!


Are you a home owner too? Tell me all about your experience below. 
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