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



  • redlady_1
    redlady_1 Posts: 1,601 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    Always have an extra £3k min lurking in your savings fund - there will be additional issues!

    If your solicitor doesnt play ball report them - I did and ended up getting my fees refunded before finding someone else.

    If buying a renovation project - dont expect everything done yesterday. It wont happen

    I agree about the cheaper bloke - I did it for the kitchen and he failed to mention the rotten floorboards. I now have a hole down into the basement which needs fixing!

    Take care when buying a repo or an estate house. You cannot get any history on these. Be prepared for the worst!

    Ensure the solicitor checks ref chancel. If they are good then they should. A £50 insurance policy will save you shed loads in the future
  • debtdesperado
    My tip if you are buying a flat within an old converted property is to consider what rooms are above yours... I viewed a flat that I loved but on the second viewing it turned out that the flat above's kitchen (containing the noisy washing machine) was above the bedroom. I didn't buy that one :-)
  • Marco12452
    If you intend to stay in a house for at least 5 years, figure out what your maximum budget is ? Add 10% to that budget and use this as your new figure. Assuming the morgate company will lend that ammount againt your status.
    It may seem a little extreme, but it will allow a choice of better properties at not much more cost to your monthly repayment.
    There may be a little hardship with forgoing a few luxuries in the beginning, but 2 years down the line you will thank yourself. Now that equity is back in balance in most areas, you should be better placed in the market.
    Be sensible, but don't sell yourself short.
  • PontyB
    Don't forget surveyors pay scant attention to drains (they tend to lift inspection covers if they are not screwed down and that seems to be it 0 based on our report anyway)! We paid about £150 for a CCTV survey of drains at the house we just bought and it showed a need for root cutting and some relining and a new gully. That would have cost around £3,000 and we were able to negotiate a £5,000 saving on the purchase price by releasing a copy of the report. We used a firm called Auger but I'm sure other firms can do likewise.
  • Bargainetta
    I agree with a lot of the postings on this thread. One though, I am really not sure of because of my own experience. That is to avoid the estate agent's mortgage broker at all costs. I worked part-time for a big national estate agent until December 09 when the credit crunch meant they were cutting staff but before that time I saw that some the staff themselves used the in-house mortgage broker. OK, they were tied to a particular building society but some of the building societies have been a lot more prudent than the banks in the previous years. Also it is in their interest to give you every tip in the book to get the sale to precede smoothly so it can be a win/win situation. The main thing, especially for first time buyers, is just to get yourself into the property. You can always change the mortgage in later years. I agree though that solicitors and surveyors maybe a different matter altogether.
  • bzd
    bzd Posts: 121 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Banbers wrote: »
    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.

    I'm a bit late chipping in here.

    If you're buying a house in Scotland, get the boiler checked within the first 5 days of purchase and if it's faulty the seller has to bear the costs of repair/replacement.

    I've only bought twice and didn't know this the first time (wish I had -- got boiler checked after a month and had it disconnected)! The second time I signed up to Homecare a month before moving in (£11) and arranged the check for the 3rd day after moving. It saved me £200 of work (new ventilation)!

  • rbsEmployee
    Loads of useful tips here, but one which hasn't been emphasised much is surveyor vs builder.
    We have bought two houses and in both found several problems which weren't picked up by the structural survey or were excluded by clauses in the survey small print. Also the surveyor doesn't move carpets or furniture so they miss any 'concealed' problems. :mad:
    We will in future take a reliable builder (and maybe an electrician or plumber if we think they will be helpful) with us on 2nd or 3rd viewing - the guy we know can identify most issues, and put a rough price on it immediately. Also a builder should be able to tell you whether any alterations you have in mind will be do-able (eg move a wall/redo a kitchen) and give a ball-park figure on the cost.
    I'm not saying that all full/structural surveys are worthless, please don't take it the wrong way, but we certainly found some problems with both the surveys that we have paid for.
  • bubblybee
    I'm in the middle of buying my first house but the main thing I would say is build a relationship with the vendors and get contact details from them, and give them yours. The EA has been completely rubbish in this regard and so much information has been passed between us. We've now resorted to dealing directly with each other and things are going far better. We have however, hit a stumbling block athis evening but I was able to phone up the vendor and he is going to deal with it first thing tomorrow. We'd be waiting weeks if we used the EA!
    A big thank you to everyone who contibutes to the MSE forums :T
  • Rainy_2
    Rainy_2 Posts: 432 Forumite
    I rushed into buying my first house due to the fact that my dream first house sale fell through at the last minute and I needed *something* quickly! My biggest lesson learnt was to take a good, in depth look into EVERYTHING and not put complete trust into surveyors reports etc. As it has been mentioned already on this thread, they do not look into things as thoroughly as anyone buying a home would like!

    On the surface all seemed fine. However the problems I have had in this house have been never ending! The back door wouldn't lock, or close properly for that matter, the boiler conked out completely so no hot water or heating, ALL of the appliances in the kitchen had something wrong with them (washing machine rattled, dishwasher didn't work at all and subsequently flooded the kitchen floor, cooker hood didn't work, freezer beeped constantly due to broken temperature gauge, no light in fridge and all shelves broken...) temperature valves 'sat' on the right place on the radiators but weren't actually connected, and after moving what I thought was a generous gift of a chair in the bedroom I discovered a huge whole in the floorboards! And I've not even got onto the garden, the dirt or the junk they left in the outhouse!

    So I have learned to be thorough and I will be opening all cupboards and investigating any included appliances when I start looking for my second house!

    I have also learnt that I will not be going through a mortgage broker again. I found the process expensive and time consuming and although I got a decent deal, I could have easily sorted it myself (with some MSE help!) I was always the one doing the chasing and yet I paid them! *shrugs shoulders*
    Pround to be dealing with my debts! DFW Nerd # 1201
    Coloured Squares 506/900 :eek:

    The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese ;)
  • Wheezy_2
    Wheezy_2 Posts: 1,879 Forumite
    Great thread :)
    Probably already mentioned before, but:
    - Never believe anything an estate agent tells you
    - Always request EA to confirm offers in writing both to you and vendor
    - Try to build a relationship with the vendor
    - Get your mortgage from a bank/building society with a branch you can walk into instead of online/phone applications and dealing with useless callcentres.
    - Don't go cheap on conveyancing. Go with a recommended one by friends/family/colleagues and not the cheapest one you can find online.
    - Even if you don't care about good schools proximity or public transport links etc...,do take it into account. Your potential buyer in the future might care.
    - If there's DIY to be done, expect it to take 3 times as long as you thought and cost the double ;)

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