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Great 'What I wish I’d known before I bought my first home' Hunt

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Comments

  • greenface
    greenface Posts: 4,871 Forumite
    Mortgage-free Glee!
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    Dont go over your comfortable buget think of the hard times ahead.
    Do not believe the seller or EA . Sit around during different times of the day/night see what happens when the schools/pubs throw out
    If a new build tell them you will bill them £x amount for waiting in because they never did something properly in the first place.
    :cool: hard as nails on the internet . wimp in the real world :cool:
  • harryhound
    harryhound Posts: 2,662 Forumite
    edited 2 February 2010 at 1:46AM
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    Sometimes there is a real danger of information overload; so YOU have to put real effort into investigating the property to decide if "its the one".
    As a seller it is difficult to stall a potential purchaser for more than a week or ten days - because they might walk away.
    While you flaff around someone else might grab it.
    After a decision has been made the parties involved start to rationalise what they have done to avoid going through the pain again, even though the English system means it will be 1 - 3 months before legally it is impossible to change your mind.
    That first week to a fortnight is vital, so sometimes you just have to take a risk with the structure - so have enough in reserve to put right the stuff even a surveyor cannot find.
    There is no excuse for moving in next to the neighbours from hell, discovering that late night drinkers use your steps as a toilet etc.
  • ihunford
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    MrGumby wrote: »
    I'd be interested to know why "local". If their price is competitive, fine, there's nothing to lose and everything to gain. Otherwise I tend to disagree (see earlier posts) - save yourself some money.

    You're right I wouldn't have used local if they weren't competitve but most people would find 3 or 4 solicitors to get a quote from within about 10 miles of them and hopefully one would be competitive.

    I used and liked the local solicitor not only because they were competitive and did a good job but I could contact them directly and not through a call centre, I could go past their offices before or after work without much trouble if I needed to sign/collect/drop off papers. This helped to speedup the process. When I needed another independent solicitor to witness paperwork they were able to organise with another local solicitor they knew with very little trouble and no extra costs involved.
  • thecornflake
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    Not sure if this has been posted yet, but you only pay stamp duty on the house itself, not any things left behind so for example if a sofa gets left by the previous owner and you agree a (reasonable) price with them you don;t pay duty on it. Not much for a sofa, but if they leave a fridge, washing machine etc it can save a bit.

    Also online conveyancing saved us a fortune, and was a lot easier than our first buy using a local solicitor (even though the estate agent will probably moan about it for some reason).
  • Impet_Limpet
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    We were told to buy the tattiest house in the best location we could afford. As you can do a house up over time to make it nice and if it is in a desirable location it would be easier to sell (and you could get more money). A lovely presented house in a terrible area would never command much money.

    Obviously being 1st time buyers we didn't listen lol! We bought our house on the edge of "one of the largest council estates in Lancashire" being on the outskirts doesn't make it that bad, but potentially off putting for future buyers who don't know the area has vasty improved since the 90s!

    PS also check your drive is legal (although advertised as off road parking) there is a restrictive covenant on our deeds that does not allow cars to be parked on the front garden of the house. We were only told when we went in to sign the docs and we should have in hindsight attempted to negociate more money off the asking price because of this or pulled out altogether (off road parking was a necessity for us!!)
    :kisses2: Got married September 2011:smileyhea

  • ichibanto
    ichibanto Posts: 4 Newbie
    edited 2 February 2010 at 11:49PM
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    If you're buying together with your partner, do not try and convince them to like the property - even if they cannot justify why they dislike it. It's going to end in disaster if you buy it. This may sound simple but when your desperate to find somewhere you'll be suprised how heated the debates get!

    Check the celings for brown stains, slow drips and problem leaks which were never repaired.

    Triple check the neighbours, I've had a living hell with the wrong neighbour which forced us out of our house. When you meet them they will be friendly and co-operative. You need to look for subtle clues to their lifestyle, friends or partners they keep in the property. Even type of breed of their dog - you know what I mean;).

    No off road parking could spell parking wars, especially if you have more than one household car. We had the car keyed several times by disgruntled residents over where we parked.
  • greenface
    greenface Posts: 4,871 Forumite
    Mortgage-free Glee!
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    Estate agents sold us on a house locally quote "3 bedroom semi commanding views over the 3rd most historic and recognizable waterfront in the world" Fantastic discription for a house just off Birkenhead docks
    :cool: hard as nails on the internet . wimp in the real world :cool:
  • London_Town
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    There's some brilliant stuff on here, thanks to everyone who's posted with their advice so far.

    My tip is not to make any assumptions about your gas or electricity meters or suppliers. This is particularly important if you're buying a flat or a terraced house where the meters may be in group with others. I bought my flat 3 years ago and the lady who sold it to me recorded British Gas as the gas supplier on the documents, which turned out to be incorrect. She also didn't tell me which gas meter to read and I didn't think to ask.

    I ended up reading the wrong meter for over a year, with all the stress of incorrect bills. I also tried to open an account with British Gas when the supplier was actually Eon. As all the flats around me are Buy To Let, I have new neighbours every 6 months so there was never anyone I could really have any help from. You need to be sure of these details yourself. Only now is this finally being sorted out for me.

    So ask to see the meters and a bill to confirm who supplies your gas or electricity. You can change your supplier once you've settled in, but you need to supply correct opening reads to the right company!
  • harryhound
    harryhound Posts: 2,662 Forumite
    edited 3 February 2010 at 2:18PM
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    We were told to buy the tattiest house in the best location we could afford. As you can do a house up over time to make it nice and if it is in a desirable location it would be easier to sell (and you could get more money). A lovely presented house in a terrible area would never command much money.

    Obviously being 1st time buyers we didn't listen lol! We bought our house on the edge of "one of the largest council estates in Lancashire" being on the outskirts doesn't make it that bad, but potentially off putting for future buyers who don't know the area has vasty improved since the 90s!

    PS also check your drive is legal (although advertised as off road parking) there is a restrictive covenant on our deeds that does not allow cars to be parked on the front garden of the house. We were only told when we went in to sign the docs and we should have in hindsight attempted to negociate more money off the asking price because of this or pulled out altogether (off road parking was a necessity for us!!)

    There has to be someone owning nearby land to enforce the restrictive covenant if you are not the original owner.
    If you can "get away with it" for a number of years you will be home and dry, but it is not an exact science like planning permission(lack of) or "adverse possession" (Squatter's Rights).
    (unfortunately some builders put a covenant on the plots saying "no building can take place on the land without the authority of XXXXXX"
    Councils like doing that with ex council houses.
    Then they "screw" the owner occupier by charging a stupid amount for the permission. (after all you have to apply for planning/building regulation approval anyway!)

    Restrictive covenants can be useful if they are in the form of "estate covenants" that allow the neighbours as a body to prevent antisocial development. Typical examples in the third link below.
    (Yes I could not afford to live there either - the original Elizabethan Wayneflete Tower house was featured in "Time Team" on C4)
    http://www.problemneighbours.co.uk/what-are-restrictive-covenants.html

    http://www.esherplace.com/legal/
    http://www.esherplace.com/legal/summary-of-covenants/
  • Doc_N
    Doc_N Posts: 8,291 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Photogenic First Anniversary
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    Whatever you do, and before you spend any money on surveys etc, check the flood map:

    http://maps.environment-agency.gov.uk/wiyby/wiybyController?x=531500.0&y=181500.0&topic=floodmap&ep=map&scale=3&location=London,%20City%20of%20London&lang=_e&layerGroups=default&textonly=off

    If your new house is in a flood plain, you won't get insurance easily, and you'll strugggle to sell it again - quite apart from the problems you'll have if it floods.
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