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



  • jenny_13
    jenny_13 Posts: 159 Forumite
    Use a well regarded local solictor, via family/friend recommendation.

    Do not use solicitor or mortgage advisor tied to the developer/Estate Agent.

    110% agree with this, we used the solicitor recommended by the estate agent and he was a nightmare. When we tried to talk to him he was rude and even told another solicitor he wouldn't write her a letter as he was busy and couldn't be bothered!

    Never get a damp or timber report organised by the estate agents as it's not worth the paper it's written on. We had one done on a house we nearly bought and it came back saying everything was fine. My OH was talking to the surveyor we had used and he said there was no way on earth that there was no damp.

    Drive round the area at different times of day (we tried midnight at weekends etc). Also by doing this we managed to discount loads of houses that looked go inside but the area wasn't too good on the evening so saved the time on viewings.

    Also good luck and in the end the stress is worth it although it may not feel like it at some points!
  • As I hope I illustrated in my post number 12....

    ...although of course things like the survey and choosing the right solicitor, also the right area, are very important and should obviously be factored into your purchase , if this is going to be your home for a number of years, then buy with your heart as well as your head.

    The place has to speak to you, or, as in the case of our Spanish house, sing to you. IMO this is just as important as the administrative details.
    (AKA HRH_MUngo)
    Member #10 of £2 savers club
    Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology: Terry Eagleton
  • ciano125
    ciano125 Posts: 492 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    South facing gardens get the sun. This makes it easier to sell on.

    Get a copy of the title plan and deeds from the land registry before you put an offer in. My Brother in Law didn't and only found out much later that the garden was not included in the deeds. Because he hadn't spent a few pounds getting it online, it cost him several hundred in solicitors fees etc. Ouch.

    Don't believe a word "the other side" says, do your own research. Talk to the neighbours who already live there, both sides, several doors up, they won't mind you asking (generally!).

    It doesnt make any difference if the seller "needs" £X to buy their next house, that fact doesnt mean their current house is worth what they are asking, why should you pay for them to get a better house??!

    Solicitors are expensive, full stop. Having said that, the other side will pay your legal fees if you tell them you're not buying if they dont! This should also stop them from messing about later if they have to pay two lots of fees.

    Test everything, every light switch, every plug, the cooker, the taps, the toilet. It's annoying when you find out afterwards what doesnt work.

    Don't be afraid to throw your weight about making demands. You're spending an absolute shedload of money and it'll take you years to pay it off. Be cheeky, if you don't ask, you won't get.
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,720 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    When the survey talks about the "higher maintenance costs associated with a property of this type and age", find out what that means in practice and with real money.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • seven-day-weekend
    seven-day-weekend Posts: 36,755 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    edited 20 January 2010 at 11:57PM
    elsien wrote: »
    When the survey talks about the "higher maintenance costs associated with a property of this type and age", find out what that means in practice and with real money.

    Agree absolutely. We have two old houses, in two different countries, both with loads of character, and they both cost us shedloads of money and time in maintenance.

    If you don't want this, then buy a new place. 'Character' has to be paid for (and keep on being paid for).
    (AKA HRH_MUngo)
    Member #10 of £2 savers club
    Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology: Terry Eagleton
  • VickyA_2
    VickyA_2 Posts: 4,533 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    Having just bought our first house, I feel that I can agree with others and contribute the following:

    1) Don't believe a word of it when the vendor says that the boiler seems to be working ok. It won't be, especially when it's the original boiler in an early 1980s house!

    2) Factor in paying for a new boiler and (some) new electrics. Luckily we did this, thanks to pitfalls that other friends had fallen into.

    3) Avoid the estate agent's mortgage advisor at all costs. Ours was amazed that we could get a better rate elsewhere. :rolleyes:

    4) Use a solicitor/conveyancer that comes well recommended in the local area. Ours was well worth his fee.

    5) Check the size of the garden, especially if you are buying a house that could be sold on to a family. Postage stamp-sized gardens will take longer to sell.

    6) Check what is around the property. Large powerlines at the bottom of the garden might not bother you, but it may prove impossible to sell onto anyone.

    7) Linked to 6, above... if you are a vendor, do not tell a potential buyer how many people have been keen on your house and then rejected it because of the powerlines... (yes, we walked away from that one!).

    8) Don't expect to get the house into show house standards immediately. It might take the rest of your lives. Be realistic.
    Sealed Pot Challenge #021 #8 975.71 #9 £881.44 #10 £961.13 #11 £782.13 #12 £741.83 #13 £2135.22 #14 £895.53 #15 £1240.40 #16 £1805.87 declared
  • thanks vikey
  • poppy_f1
    poppy_f1 Posts: 2,637 Forumite
    First Post Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    keep them coming please, particulary handy for us FTB's
  • clutton_2
    clutton_2 Posts: 11,149 Forumite
    edited 21 January 2010 at 11:39AM
    i bought a house waaay out in the sticks on a hill many many mooons ago and only after moving in did i find out that the spring which fed the house i ts water dried up in the summers for 3-4 months.... Caveat Emptor

    before you buy - open and close all the windows, and shut every door behind you as you are being shown round to make sure they all work.. touch walls to make sure they are not damp...... open all the cupboards with a smile "i do hope you dont mind" - you are giving them many thousands... inspect inspect inspect... switch on lights in each room .... especially those with older switches....flush the toilet.. ask them to switch on the boiler for you if its not on when you arrive
  • warehouse
    warehouse Posts: 3,362 Forumite
    I've been Money Tipped!

    Even the best house in the world will be utterly ruined by bad neighbours. Visit at different times of day/night. Overgrown garden next door, junk outside, badly maintained? Beware. If you suspect then knock on other doors and ask about noise, neighbours, dogs etc.

    Next time I buy a place, (last 2 have had awful neighbours one side), I will draw up a legally binding questionaire for the sellers regarding the neighbours. If they don't want to complete it then you know why.
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