What I Learned About
Buying A House
I feel like this post could quite easily be titled '1003 things I learned from buying a house' but I'm not sure that's quite as helpful as the 3 things I know I would tell my friends if and when they also start the house buying process.
The tips that I wish I had taken in from other people and the things I wish I knew when we started this process are the things that if we ever move house again (I can't see that happening ever right now!) I will be so glad I know.
Alex and I would both say we were pretty naive when it came to buying a house. We knew it was the right time for us, that we had saved enough money finally and we also knew the general area we wanted to look in but actually when it came to both finding our dream house and buying our dream house - we were unprepared for everything it really entailed. The process, the details and the timeline.
I think I'll definitely be delving into another post all about how we found our dream home and our experience with the search itself but if there are 3 things I learned from buying our home that I want to share with any first time buyers especially - it would be this.
FIND PEOPLE YOU TRUST
One big piece of advice we really took on board, after hearing a few horror stories from friends and family, was to use solicitors and mortgage advisors that came recommended. Whether through friends, through family or even through friends or friends of friends. Knowing that someone we were entrusting with so much of our private lives and one of the biggest decisions we've ever made, made a huge difference. Throughout the inevitable stress of buying a house that you just can't avoid, (I'll go into that more below) knowing we had people working for us, who had our best interests at heart, meant there was at least a couple of aspects of buying a house that we felt confident about from start to finish.
We chose a mortgage advisor who came highly recommended and who had already worked for some very close friends of ours. This meant we were confident that he knew exactly what he was doing, that he would be able to explain every aspect of the process to us (as complete house buying newbies we went into this knowing hardly anything) and that he would find the best deal possible for us in the process. Word of mouth has been such a huge help for me with so many aspects of our home but especially so when it came to our finances.
We also chose a solicitor who specialised in property, had been in the business for a fairly long time and who again came recommended by family. Someone we could trust, knew would charge us a fair price and also knew every aspect of a house purchase from top to bottom. We would highly recommend both the mortgage advisor (Nottingham based) and solicitor (London based) that we used so do feel free to message me over on Instagram if you would like their details!
BE PREPARED FOR HOW LONG IT TAKES
Now I feel to a certain extent this is fairly obvious, finding the right house, putting an offer down, surveys being completed, exchanging contracts and finally getting the keys is never going to take a lick of your fingers. However there's still a part of you that during every step of the process hopes this time, your time, will be much quicker than everyone else who has ever purchased a house before. Spoiler alert - it unfortunately will not. When there is one aspect of the process that unexpectedly is far faster than you dreamed, it means you end up getting your hopes up about the next step. False hope I've learned is the worst kind of hope. Try not to set your heart on approximate dates that people give you and estimates people throw out - especially if you're in a chain. It's inevitable your heart might be broken, so it's best to stay a little guarded through the buying process and be pleasantly surprised if things do go according to plan.
GET READY TO BE FLEXIBLE
We all know what our dream house looks like. The gardens we want to spend sunny afternoons in, the amount of bedrooms we want to decorate, the area we'd so love to live in and the kitchen we can imagine cooking Christmas dinner in. What we also know is our realistic budget and whether that dream house is really just that - a dream. Alex and I had a very specific list of requirements when we started out house hunt and we also had a very narrow list of areas we'd like to live in. The house we wanted didn't exist in the area we wanted to live in. This wasn't too much of a shock when it really came down to it but it was quite obviously sad. We contemplated postponing the search, we thought about building to get what we so wanted and we realise that actually, we just had to flexible. We started searching further afield, prioritised that initial 'must have' list and even changed the type of house we were looking at and et voila - we found our house not too long after we changed our search criteria. Being flexible helped us to find a home that we're renovating into our dream home.
I'd love to know if you're currently house hunting or if you have any tips to share at all - let me know below!
PS - Take a second look at the above image, cold much?