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

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  • hayleythedaisy
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    I wish I'd known -
    how much house repairs cost!
    how much service charges cost!
    how much a remortgage costs
    how much there is to go wrong.
    that house prices can go down not up!
    What is the building managements responsibilty in a flat
    how to pick a decent solicitor!
    how to argue a good price
    to check what parking is like at different times of day
    how long realistically it'll take to get home


    think thats about it!
    Bump due 22nd September
  • sunshine101_2
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    Sylvan wrote: »
    sunshine 101: If the trees cast a shadow on your windows the council can make the owners trim them to a height that won't block your light.
    (It was a planning enforcement officer that told me that, so they'd probably be able to tell you which department you need to contact)

    Hey... thanks for that Sylvan - maybe I can get some sunshine in my life again :j
  • misstaz
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    Me and my OH bought our first house 5 years ago and so far the only thing we regret is not thinking far enough ahead. It's a very small mid terraced 2 bed house and with house prices the way they are currently, we're stuck here for a good while longer but with no way of increasing the space we have - dinner parties aren't that easy when the kitchen/diner isn't big enough to swing a gerbil! It's just starting to feel a little too cramped. Also, our back garden faces Northwest which isn't the greatest for veg growing - not that it stops me - and we lose the sun pretty quick on summer evenings!
    If you're moving into a house after a flat or for the first time, never underestimate how beneficial offroad parking will be. Parking here is a nightmare due to a new block of 32 flats which has been built (despite enormous protest) in our tiny cul de sac.:mad:

    I would say, for any potential sellers, that we appreciated greatly the following:
    The vendors cleaned the house thoroughly when they moved out. They left us the rubbish/recycling collection boxes and the calendar to tell us when collections were. Also, the code to the alarm, window keys, guarantee paperwork and instruction leaflets for every appliance left in the house (including the new windows and the boiler which is 26 years old yet more reliable than my friend's 1 year old combi!), the phone number of their plumber and the alarm service guy, leftover tiles for the kitchen (!) and names of neighbours who would help us out with any problems.
    I suspect they were a rare breed but we shall certainly do the same for anyone who buys the house from us when we eventually move on.
  • mateypeeps
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    Just a reminder to appeal against your council tax band within the first 6 months of buying the house, if it seems unfair.
    After that it is more difficult.
  • uk_property_expert
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    If you are paying a touch over a stamp duty level ie 128k or 255k split the price between the property and chattels (carpets curtains etc) ie 125 plus 3k chattels or 250 plus 5k chattels

    if you are buying over 500k use a solicitor who offers a stamp duty mitigation system cutting a huge amount off stanp duty payable

    Never pay full market price ( I never pay more than 70% of market price) but it's not personal to me.
  • Tabby
    Tabby Posts: 79 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
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    This is a very useful thread. Many of the posts I have read ring true especially about:
    Check, Check and check again
    Do not be afraid to check things on the viewings. I visited my flat twice before buying it. There was washing up in the kitchen sink and when I moved in, I found the sink was damaged and the plug hole was thick with mastic. I was intending to update the kitchen so that was not a huge problem.
    Inventory
    Make sure you note down everything the sellers say they are leaving and things they will do before leaving e.g. repair a hole in a door or whatever. Get this in writing from them before buying. The sellers offered to leave me their oven and fridge which I was grateful for. However, I learnt that whilst the fridge freezer could be de-frosted and thoroughly cleaned, the oven was so thick with grease and stank I had to buy a new one. And, get the old one removed.
    Take your time moving in if you can
    I was lucky in that the flat was only 10 minutes from my parent's house so I could delay the move for 5 months whilst I cleaned, redecorated and ordered furniture. This also meant I could delay paying council tax as the property was vacant whilse I was decorating.
    My personal bug-bears
    I decided to change the locks when I moved - was paranoid about who might still have keys. I also bought a new toilet seat as I did not want to clean or use 'theirs'!!
  • Doc_N
    Doc_N Posts: 8,291 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Photogenic First Anniversary
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    Sylvan wrote: »
    sunshine 101: If the trees cast a shadow on your windows the council can make the owners trim them to a height that won't block your light.
    (It was a planning enforcement officer that told me that, so they'd probably be able to tell you which department you need to contact)
    Hey... thanks for that Sylvan - maybe I can get some sunshine in my life again :j

    I wouldn't raise your expectations. There's no automatic right to light, and normally the only way that action could be taken would be if the trees are actually dangerous. I think the planning enforcement officer may have got this wrong, though it may in some very restricted circumstances be possible to take action where a particular window has lost light which it has had for more than 20 years.
  • harryhound
    harryhound Posts: 2,662 Forumite
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    The local authority has powers under the "Leylandii wars" law to limit the height of a hedge, were a hedge is two or more plants on a boundary; but they don't like getting involved in what is in essence a boundary dispute ("your shadow is on my garden").
    If you have bought a house on the north side of growing "woodland", then you cannot really blame your neighbours.
  • Doc_N
    Doc_N Posts: 8,291 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post Photogenic First Anniversary
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    harryhound wrote: »
    The local authority has powers under the "Leylandii wars" law to limit the height of a hedge, were a hedge is two or more plants on a boundary; but they don't like getting involved in what is in essence a boundary dispute ("your shadow is on my garden").
    If you have bought a house on the north side of growing "woodland", then you cannot really blame your neighbours.

    It's a bit more than just two plants on a boundary, though, sadly.

    A high hedge is defined as a line of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs, which are over two metres in height. Individual trees or shrubs, groups of trees or woodlands do not come within the scope of this legislation, nor do deciduous trees.
  • Astara
    Astara Posts: 132 Forumite
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    What I have learnt is if there is any chance of doing a private sale grab it! Not having to deal with estate agents is a bonus and generally people who do private sales seem to love their home but do want to sell it to you. Also 'choose' your vendor carefully - if you think they are unreliable from the start don't go ahead! I recently lost the property I was buying because of a vendor like this. I knew he was unreliable from the start especially when he disappeared off to Australia for a month with limited contact but because the house seemed good value I persisted. It turns out that a property is not good value if the vendor doesn't want to sell it! I have now luckily found something else with a vendor who seems reliable. Of course business is business but it does help if the vendor does what he says he will.
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