Any pearls of wisdom ....
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.
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.
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.
Just me then?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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