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



  • Harry_Powell
    Don't be afraid to buy a house that needs a lot of work, but make sure you get a structural survey so you don't have any unpleasant surprises! Also make sure that you don't go overboard in your renovations, you will be selling it one day and the house price is set by the value of the street, not by the value of your house improvements.

    Oh, and if you can live with friends or family while the messy renovations are carried out then do it! We're currently living in our house during renovations and the dust is something cronic!! :)
    "I can hear you whisperin', children, so I know you're down there. I can feel myself gettin' awful mad. I'm out of patience, children. I'm coming to find you now." - Harry Powell, Night of the Hunter, 1955.
  • waygood
    waygood Posts: 17 Forumite
    Hi, I bought my current home 3 years ago. I must admit I rushed into it a little as we needed a 100% mortgage which were ending at the time.

    Since moving in we've discovered only a few minor flaws but here they are:-

    1. Question why all the walls have been painted white. Yes it's neutral BUT it also hides minor cracks very well!!! They are very noticable once you've redecorated.
    2. Small red ants live in the wall of the extension and come out to play for a few days every year (deathlack did a good job last year so fingers crossed for this year).
    3. Some stuff stored in the attic has drip marks on it, so I'd advise looking in the attic during daylight hours so you can see any crack or holes in the tiles.
    4. Looking out the window at the garden and from behind the house isn't enough. A few bricks lower down on the extension had been removed and re-cemented back in with filler (which isn't waterproof!)
    5. Even though we saw the previous tenants parked on the drive our cars wont fit as they are not 4x4's. The floor clearance from road to pavement to driveway is too low and our cars would grounded if we tried, so we have to park on the road.
    6. Drilled holes can easily be filled with blu-tack and painted over for a smooth surface if you cant be bothered to buy filler and sandpaper!!!
    7. IF you loose your job (I did) insurance is a wonderful thing although it seems an un-necessary expense at first glance. (upto 1 years consecutive payments and out of work for 1 year, 2 weeks - LUCKY or what??)
    8. See the house before the previous tenants move out to see how furniture looks in the rooms. We have an awkardly placed fireplace which means there is only way our sofas will fit in the living room without making the dining room inaccessible.
    9. Bay windows in a house previously owned by someone incapable of general maintenance may leak (they did!) so check them out before you decorate and always keep enough paint to touch up problems. Tar paint fixed this once the rain finally stopped (and we all remember how long that took!!!)

    Hope this helps out a little
  • waygood
    waygood Posts: 17 Forumite
    afmfifgh mentioned checking the house on google maps/earth. BE WARNED this is not up to date!

    Swansea has a flyover for the M4 motorway which is very high. Why? In order to span the river and the tall building below.
    Shame they used google maps to survey the sight without visiting the area, as all the buildings had been knocked down some years previous to starting construction!

    This was also pointed out to an adjacent council who where using it for authorising planning applications.
  • namford
    namford Posts: 31 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Advice for people buying old /period properties:

    You obviously have to expect a fair bit of on-going maintenence with old buildings, but one thing I'd like people to bear in mind is the condition of also the buildings above/below and either side of yours. If your elderly property neighbours a property that is not well maintained - it is likely cause you problems!

    I bought a gorgeous Victorian converted-flat, which had been beuatifully maintained, but the falt above me was not and I have had leak after leak from their flat. Fortunately the buildings insurance company has been really good, but every time I have to make a claim because the flat above's bathroom or kitchen or other pipe work bursts or leaks, I have to pay £100 excess, plus go through untold distress whilst my flat is damaged and then repaired - again.!

    It never occured to me the importance or impact of the condition of the surrounding buildings, but I will definitely watch for it next time!!
  • mhr035
    mhr035 Posts: 12 Forumite
    We've burnt our fingers when buying our first property. Here's my advice

    1. Always be prepared to WALK AWAY!
    2. Do not trust the estate agent - they are not your friend
    3. Do not use their mortgage brokerage service
    4. As a previous poster said, get certain things in writing from the seller ie. neighbours, issues etc. This should be a legally binding document. I asked about the neighbours, the seller said they were nice and quiet. It turned out they had 7 kids!
    5. Determine what you are prepared to pay for the property (irrespective of what they are asking) and stuck to that price or walk away.
    6. Do not use a solicitor recommended by the estate agent
    7. If you buy an ex-local authority house, make sure that you know who to contact in case of sewage blockages etc. If the shared blocked drain is located on the council property the council will refuse to sort it unless their tenant complain. The water companies won't touch it as it's on the council property. Go to your local MP and the Mayor and make noise.
    8. Ask who's responsible for fences and ask HOW that is/was determined.
    9. Never be desperate for a place to live when buying a property - rather rent another few months
    10. View more than once - day and night time
    11. Speak to other people in the street or park your car and check out the area for a few hours.
    12. Check for rubbish next door (back and front). If you see some - avoid like the plague.
    13. Keep your cards close to your chest and if the estate agent phoned and tell you other people are interested or about to view etc - be cool and don't say anything or show emotion. Be prepared to walk away.

    I could write a book about our experience but will leave it at these few tips.
  • greenalien_2
    1) If you're buying a house that needs redecorating, try to get the redecoration done before moving your possessions in - you'll have lots more room to move, and the job will get done much quicker.
    2) Check - and double check - exactly where the property boundaries are and who is responsible for any fences.
  • Delphinum
    I'd say look at the tree protection orders and make sure that they do not block out all your lovely sunlight. There's about 10 trees that go up our little road at the backs of the gardens which are all protected and they are MASSIVE! The evening sunshine is lovely on our garden but we only get it on the patio due to the huge trees. It will cost hundreds to get them lopped as the council won't pay and my neighbour ended up getting them done about 12 years ago and it cost her £400.

    Never ever ever ever buy a house with artexed walls. Please don't put it on your walls. Dirt, cobwebs and insects stick to it like glue so your house never looks clean. You will spend years trying to get the stuff off, all of your textiles will be caked in it, even if you seal off rooms and cover furniture. You will have to replaster the walls and it is disgusting. I don't know why, but when we went to look at a newbuild house, they said all ceilings would be artexed and they could not negotiate that point. Nutters!

    Always expect that Frank Spencer has done every piece of DIY work in the house if it is an old one. Also expect to have to undo everything and do 10 other things you didn't expect to do before you start on a job.

    Parking is very important, as others have said. We have an idiot down the road who comes round threatening everyone if they park outside his house as we have no spaces in our road. Since I screamed in his face to !!!!!! off, he's not bothered me since and his car was torched a few years ago... but you don't want to live with that kind of thing around you.

    Can you tell I haven't enjoyed the first house we bought? :P
  • Delphinum
    Oh just to say it wasn't us who torched his car. Apparently, he's had hassle from some criminals or something... it did look like I'd torched his car reading my post back. :lol:
  • Banbers
    Banbers Posts: 11 Forumite
    A few points in our experience...

    Check that the boiler is working properly, in our first home the boiler was condemned the day we moved in as the Chav's we bought the house off failed to tell us it had broken between having the surveys done and us completing. We sued them through the small claims court but the Judge only awarded us 25% of the cost of a new boiler.
    Home buyer reports are next to useless and not worth the money. Either go for basic or full survey.
    Open every door, window, cupboard, lift all mats & rugs etc. We found loads of hidden problems from a smashed cistern lid to stains on carpets etc.
    Also visit at different times of the day and night to get a feel for the area.
  • flashnazia
    flashnazia Posts: 2,168 Forumite
    Delphinum wrote: »

    Always expect that Frank Spencer has done every piece of DIY work in the house if it is an old one. Also expect to have to undo everything and do 10 other things you didn't expect to do before you start on a job.

    :rotfl: So true as well!
    "fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." (Bertrand Russell)
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