House Buying

Any pearls of wisdom ....

21 to 40 of 93 messages
M...eldy    pirate
27/01/2010 at 20:23
Thanks all,  food for thought

27/01/2010 at 20:28
Don't bother with any survey beyond the valuation one. Surveyers charge exorbitant fees and are experts at evading comeback when they miss flaws in the building as I have found out to my cost. Instead, find a friendly builder and buy a couple of hours of his time. Have him check your chosen abode over and point out what needs doing.    pirate
27/01/2010 at 20:36

ON a much less pragmatic level, they say you fall in love with a house within something like 15 seconds of crossing the threshold. I wanted mine even before I set foot through the floor. Yes,it is a major purchase and all the sensible things have to be followed - but you're in there a long time and you have to want to be in it and love it and feel safe. Especially, I think, if like me and you Melds, you will be in it alone a lot of the time - my house is my refuge. Make sure whatever you buy FEELS right.

My little place needed stuff doing and was not and is still not the most economic to run, but I wouldn't swap it for the world.

M...eldy    pirate
27/01/2010 at 20:39
Wise words Min .....and of course it will have a spare room 

Good idea Muttley,  I have a few contacts there as well !!
27/01/2010 at 20:50

Re- Crash Hamster and compasses.  The 1st house I bought was an east facing back-to-back terrace house (and therefore no back garden). On summer afternoons we would be sat indoors wearing jumpers with our little patch of front garden in shade from about 11:00hrs, while the couple opposite were sat out drinking pimms in their shorts and t-shirts. The  two houses I have bought since then have both had S-W back gardens.

Determine your priorities beforehand - no. of rooms, room sizes, garage, garden etc. so that you are less swayed by stuff that is going (their furniture) or stuff you are likely to change soon anyway (decor).

Also prioritise what you want from an area - for my first house having a decent pub within 10 mins walk was essential, for house 2 the quality of local schools was my biggest priority. For houses 2 & 3 proximity to the ring road was also a priority.

27/01/2010 at 21:01

Other than whats been said I've just got one or two things to add -

1. - follow your nose, put aside the nice coffee smells, or candles or whatever the sellers may be using to try and make the place smell nice.  You can smell damp a mile off - check under the stairs/sinks etc.  If it does smell funny / musty then think about what the cause may be.  I've gone into what I thought would be the house I was deffo going to buy, and as soon as I crossed the threshold I got the whiff of something not quite right.  Turns out that the house had rising damp and rot in places and would have cost me a small fortune to fix.

2. - its a buyers market at the moment - have a look at more than a handful of houses then offer well within what you can afford.  It's up to the seller to decide if they can afford your lower offer and they may come back with a very good (for you) compromise. You can barter on prices - you make a low offer, they come back with another etc.

My hubby and I have moved house 4 times in the last 6 years, and he's moved house 20 times in total, it's about looking and picking from a few, then not setting your heart on a property.  

Finally - most people spend more time picking shoes than they do deciding on what house to buy.  You can go and arrange a viewing on a house more than once.  If you aren't sure, go back and take a second or a third look.

M...eldy    pirate
27/01/2010 at 21:08
Someone mention shoes?  !!   

My biggest stumbling block (for me anyway)  is having to leave the village that I have lived in for 20years plus .... I have rented long term ... I cant afford to buy in the village  so anything that I look at is already a compromise on location and space and rooms.

Need either an extra room, a garage or a very large shed/outbuilding and away from a road due to the 4 legged lodger and apart from that I am fairly easy !!
Crash Hamster    pirate
27/01/2010 at 21:12


Just me then?

M...eldy    pirate
27/01/2010 at 21:17
Apparently  !!!!
27/01/2010 at 21:17

Some estate agent's details have plans attached, some don't. I find that they're really useful for recalling what it looked like, what the flow of the house is like. I have taken to marking them up with the big un-movable items, like cookers plumbing points etc, so I can look at them again later.

If you like the house, make sure you go and look at the area and its outside at different times of day. sure, it was lovely at 11:00 on a sunday morning, but the place is completely clogged with school traffic at 9:00 weekdays and is a cut through from the pub at chucking out time - none of which you'd know if you only went round the once.

open cupboards, to check storage space, look behind large or numerous pictures (you don't know what horrors might be hidden by a strategic picture) look behind doors and curtains. sellers aren't all stupid and will try to disguise any obvious flaws.

Look at the ceiling to get an idea of how much space there is in a room, especially one that's cluttered. the ceiling is usually freer than the floor, so can be a better guide to the space avaliable.

Most sellers will have a value they want to achive, but will also have a sliding scale of what they will accept depending on the situation of the person offering (I know we do!). A first time buyer is a good thing, as it means you are the bottom of the chain. Always ask what the chain is (if there is one as yet) as that can have an impact on the complexity - a short chain should go through easier than a long one, as there are fewer parties involved and fewer sets of people to sort out everything.

Especially if it's an older house, or in need of some work, as a local electrican and gas specialist to have a look at these for you. This will tell you if everything is in working order and if it is to current standard or not - this can have a big impact on how much work may be required if you decide to do it up.

Be prepared to look at anything, even if you think you wont like it, you never know, it might be a diamond.

Know you budget and stick to it - don't be tempted by the one that's just out of reach!

We're selling our first house at the moment and it's nothing like as much fun as buying the first one was! Good luck.    pirate
27/01/2010 at 21:20
Have you seen that bed that the mattress lifts up on to reveal shoe racks Meldy? I want one!!!
M...eldy    pirate
27/01/2010 at 21:23
no !!!  I want one NOW !

Thank you Helen,  certainly no scope to go above budget thats for sure !
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
27/01/2010 at 21:53

Lots of good advice here already, ive only skimmed through so sorry im repeating things.

Firstly I wouldnt say house prices are inflated by any specific percentage, generally a seller thinks its worth more than a buyer and/or will maybe add a bit on to account for a lower offer?  A house is only worth what someone will pay for it, some maybe 15% above realitic expectations, some houses will be subject to a bidding war and sell at or over asking price.  I think in the current market its reasonable to take a punt in a cheeky offer (especially if the house has been on the market a while), the more marketable a property the less likely youll be to get it at a decent amount under asking price.  Remember this in the context of when you come to sell, i.e. a shit low market demand house wont shift at a reasonable price and you could be waiting ages for a buyer.

Maybe similar to Min, I couldnt find a house I really likes, then on seeing the one im in now I knew I had to have it, I put an offer in £1000 below asking price and got it straight away.  In my opinion it isnt worth haggling over a couple of thousand it you really want a specific house.

If you can afford it youll get a much better mortgage deal with a 10% deposit.

Finding a house - A lot of the better properties dont hit the papers (or didnt before the market took a dip) and are snapped up by extate agents preferred clients e.g. buy to lets, or are first offered to people buying other services.  You need to play the game and pretend you are interested in their financial adviser finding and placing your mortgage, home insurance, protection policy etc.

Lending/house buying was my field of expertise until I moved into testing lending systems.  I cant give financial advice in the way maybe Coops can but if you want to know about house buying process, how lenders work, prop fees, credit scoring, how much you can borrow, surveys, early redemption fees, shared ownership, offers, convenyancing (legal stuff) etc.  Youre welcome to give me a call any time.

Edited: 27/01/2010 at 21:54
M...eldy    pirate
27/01/2010 at 21:56
should have close to 15/20% deposit so that will be better

Thanks for the offer Barlos and I have no doubt I will bend your ear at some time   

Shared ownership/Key Worker is something I am eligible for but in two minds at the moment due to a few factors
27/01/2010 at 22:00

This might sound daft...

We have just got a flat and a few things weren't what we expected when we got in there. Only small things but things which, if you find them out, might help you knock a bit extra off the price.

  1. Sit on the toilet. Does it wobble. Flush it.
  2. Shower. Switch it on. See what happens. Taps ditto.
  3. Check top corners and bottom corners of every room - damp? Blotches? Check behind wardrobes if you can.
  4. Boiler - check it out. When was it last serviced.
  5. And look out for lash up diy on things like curtain rails, bathroom fittings
This assumes the seller isn't there - sometimes they are, sometimes they're not.
27/01/2010 at 22:05

Don't trust the estate agents at all..... ever.  They're all lying barstewards who only care about the money.  Try and get talking to the person you're buying from so if there's a problem with the purchase you can talk to them and get it sorted out.

The only people worse than estate agents are the financial advisers who work in their offices.  Do the research on mortgages yourself.  There are an increasing number of banks who only take direct applications and don't go through financial advisers.  We bought last year and none of the advisers could get close to the mortage deal we found for ourselves.

27/01/2010 at 22:15

* "Bid them in the balls", remember, it is easier to offer more than less once a price is agreed.

* use nethouseprices to see what other properties are selling. Work out what it is worth and offer a bit less than that. Will prob be no more than 91 percent of the asking price. Remember if a property sold for 100k in 2007 then it is worth less now.

* You are buying a house, not a shower or screws for a toilet or a coffee peculator

* Don't pay for a 'buyers survey'. If there are problems it will be in the brief but standard survey.

* Don't come over as too keen, even if you are : try not to 'gush' when you view. Make people think you can take it or leave it.

* Negotiate slowly. Time is usually on your side and remember properties are like buses, you think you missed the last one then another three good ones come along just when you are not expecting it.
27/01/2010 at 22:22
Oh, one other thing. When you're seriously hunting visit the estate agents in person as often as you can and as early as you can in the day. This way you might get first dibs at the house they've just taken on their books. When I was hunting last time I doorstepped all the agents in town every morning at 9 to 9:30. They soon got to know me and the house I eventually bought was taken on at the end of the previous day, I viewed it mid-morning the next day and had my offer accepted at the end of the day. Don't wait for them to phone you or post the details, be there in person to be told and shown in person.
27/01/2010 at 22:23
Lots of good advice on here. The mortgage valuation is not a survey and has no legal protection, even if the surveyor has been negligent. (it is not done for you, it is done for the lender). Get an independent survey, but not by the mortgage valuer. You will pay less if you go privately. Don't ever buy a modern house. They seem to be built poorly. Always consider the re-sale before you buy. Would you be able to sell it quickly, when the time comes. Have a look at the neighbours. Do you really want to live next door to them..?

Location, location, location. Its worth paying for....

27/01/2010 at 22:28

In your position I'd just take the piss with low offers.  What is the worst that can happen?  They say no and you move upwards?! Estate Agents are there to act on behalf of the vendor (when in fact they only care about themselves) so be wary of ANYTHING they tell you!

Mortgages - ideally 15% upwards as a deposit for a decent deal.  Anything less than that as a deposit and the lender is basically screwing you over at around 5% above the base rate.  Make sure whoever sources your mortgage looks for deals available from advisers, as well as direct offerings.  Mister W is partially correct that a couple of deals aren't available through IFA's but luckily this number is decreasing rather than increasing (there are also some available to IFA's that aren't available direct so it works both ways).  This time last year it was far worse though and lenders seem to be playing ball again.  The benefits of using an adviser who can be trusted far outweigh doing it yourself.  If he doesn't get paid by the lender, expect him to charge you for finding you the best deal though as they are running businesses, not charities

Conveyancing - don't use who the Estate Agents recommend.  They recommend them as they get a kick back and overcharge you say £100 which pays for their referral fee.  

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