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

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  • Twinkly
    Twinkly Posts: 1,772 Forumite
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    I have lived all my life in the same built up town area and for 30 years of that in the same street comprising of over 100 victorian terraced houses. I lived there 10 years with my parents and then bought a 4 bedroomed home just over the road from them 13 years ago. Ironically I bought at a time when Mr Blair and his Tough On Crime, Tough On The Causes Of Crime speech still rang fresh and believable after the election. It was a lovely area, mixed age population, had been for decades and much of that was down to restricted drinking hours and drug addicts still being a bit of a rarity. Then the ASBO-type families started to arrive a few years later before ASBOs were even invented.....

    My parents eventually sold their 4 bedroomed terrace to a landlord who put in two families in two years that both had children who singled out my own for bullying. What was once a very decent law-abiding and respectful place has been almost overrun with drug addicts and ASBO families shunted into rented accomodation when their previous neighbours in other towns had finally had enough.

    My "what to look for when buying your first home" post reflects this and is aimed at anyone buying a house in a built up area that may well prove to be similair. These are lessons learned by me and every one else in my street and local area - the hard way:

    1) If you are going to be new to an area check out the crime maps on the local police website. If it looks average you can guarantee it is way higher.
    2) Try to visit the area in the summer holidays or frankly any school holiday. The troublemaking kids will be the ones who are crawling all over anyone else's gardens or walls but their own or those of their friends (accomplices). You can guarantee the parents allow and encourage them and couldn't give a toss if it bothers you.
    3) If you get out of the car for any reason around these children check out how they speak to you and you can guarantee if they are aggressive and swearing at strangers now they will get worse will full backup from their breeders if you move in. Fresh meat , you see.
    4) Drive down the street any night of the week to check for gangs hanging around.
    5) Anywhere alleygated - that are actually locked - is probably a good sign. Gates left wide open is not. Burglars accomplices will live in the street and hold keys.
    6) Even if you have grown up in the area and think you know everyone anyway the way law and order is disintegrating rapidly you could face having ASBO neighbours who have been shunted out of another town or city ending up as your neighbours in a rented property.
    7) If the neighbours either side of you are elderly - and I now how harsh this sounds and apologise in advance for anyone who takes offence - be aware that once they die their relatives will probably sell the house to a disreputable landlord who will move in any old scum for the money.
    8) If you work try to get there in your lunch hour and check out the number of men walking around the streets and how they are dressed. This can indicate high unemployment and/or crime in the area.

    Frankly - in built up areas like mine with lots of houses in one street - if there are a lot of For Sale signs up in one street thats a warning to anyone half-decent.

    I echo another poster in saying look very very closely at the area and not necessarily the size of the house. A smaller house in a better area will give a peace of mind body and soul that you just can not put a price on.

    I suppose the ultimate lesson is no matter what kind of area you think you have may have moved into it or even grown up in it may well turn out very differently in the not too distant future. You can;t even begin to predict that - we long term residents couldn't have - but fore-warned is fore-armed.

    On a positive note: When all is said and done though no matter where you live when you close the door at the end of the day it is just you and yours in your own home and the outside world disappears from sight. Perhaps make sure you have double glazing so you can't hear it too well either.

    Despite all of the above I am very happy with my home, the neighbours either side of me are great and best of all I OWN my house. Those that are ASBO chavs renting will have to move out sooner or later won't they :)
  • hamblettamaud
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    My advice for first time buyers is ... don't fall in love with the first property you can afford. I did just that and it has proved a very costly mistake.
  • Slinky
    Slinky Posts: 10,044 Forumite
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    Ask your solicitor to ask the vendor if they have any knowledge at all of the property being burgled. Unfortunately for me, the question on my fact find was 'has the property been burgled in the time you have owned it'. They answered no, which was technically correct, it was a property the vendor inherited from her mother. I only found out after I'd been burgled twice in 4 weeks that the vendor's mother had also been burgled twice, and the vendor had discovered it (she lived round the corner and the old lady had been in hospital at the time). A deliberate deception, but one I could do nothing about. I probably would still have bought the property, but the first thing I would have done on moving in was put an alarm on it.
    Make £2024 in 2024
    Prolific to 29/2/24 £184.97, Chase Interest £11.88, Chase roundup interest £0.18, Chase CB £16.96, Roadkill £1.10, Octopus referral reward £50, Octopoints £6.30 to 31/1/24, Topcashback £4.64, Shopmium £3
    Total £279.03/£2024  13.8%

    Make £2023 in 2023
    Water sewerage refund: £170.62,Topcashback: £243.47, Prolific: to 31/12/23 £975, Haggling: £45, Wombling(Roadkill): £6.04,  Chase CB £149.34, Chase roundup interest £1.35, WeBuyBooks:£8.37, Misc sales: £406.59, Delay repay £22, Amazon refund £3.41, EDF Smart Meter incentive £100, Santander Edge Cashback-Fees: £25.14, Octopus Reward £50, Bank transfer incentives £400
    Total: £2606.33/£2023  128.8%

  • elise83_2
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    At the moment, developers and EAs are overvaluing properties by about 10% to try and stimulate higher opening bids. Make sure you go to any viewing/negotiations with a copy of recent sold prices from similiar properties in the area (I use mouseprice) and be very open about the info contained therein (show them! it's hard to argue with the facts). You'll be amazed at how quickly their justifications for the extra cash dry up when you can prove the same house down the street/the flat next door sold for 10-15% less only 3 months ago!
  • clg123
    clg123 Posts: 19 Forumite
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    When buying your first home NEVER do it to prove a point and get carried away.

    I bought my first place and thought I had an absolute steal - BRAND new, under £125k etc etc - BUT we didnt research the area enough - inlaws warned us to check that out but we thought it would be fine..

    The purchase took ages as the builders were so slow, the seller was a !!!! not wanting our parents to come round and help with the snagging list as he thought they were 'overly picky' (they were not) he delayed the exchange as thought he could get a better price to sell to someone else and wanted to keep our reservation fee.

    Moved in - build quality is AWFUL. Amongst other things the oven was almost falling out, the sink had been stood on by builders so didnt drain, windows unable to lock (seller said the mechanism of the windows was designed that way LOL).

    The first night at our property we got egged!

    We have had neighbours from hell, police around, it looks like a rubbish tip (the whole area - not this bad when we moved), there is no management company anymore, negative equity, oh I hate it!!!

    Tips on how to get out????
  • Patr100
    Patr100 Posts: 2,588 Forumite
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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
    .

    I've said it before. Evading Stamp duty which is due is illegal and the the office know all the tricks. Don't try it.
  • Doc_N
    Doc_N Posts: 8,292 Forumite
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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
    Patr100 wrote: »
    I've said it before. Evading Stamp duty which is due is illegal and the the office know all the tricks. Don't try it.

    A little unfair, surely? The first paragraph is perfectly legal and acceptable - just allocating the right value to the right assets.

    And the second paragraph relates to tax avoidance, rather than evasion. Possibly immoral, but certainly not illegal.
  • Patr100
    Patr100 Posts: 2,588 Forumite
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    Doc_N wrote: »
    A little unfair, surely? The first paragraph is perfectly legal and acceptable - just allocating the right value to the right assets.

    And the second paragraph relates to tax avoidance, rather than evasion. Possibly immoral, but certainly not illegal.

    Maybe, but as I said if it is due, then evading the charge is illegal. One can't just cut off a chunk of the agreed price and transfer it.
    If the tax office suspect that the value of chattels are being deliberately inflated to avoid SD they will not accept it.



    -
  • cbrooks
    cbrooks Posts: 7 Forumite
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    Ulfar wrote: »
    Don't ever trust anything said by the vendor or estate agent, they are trying to sell. If you have any queries get the answers in writing.

    Always get a full survey.

    Assume the worst, especially when it comes to boilers and electrics.

    Never buy a property that has had major damp or dry rot problems.

    Don't fall in love with a property.

    Don't pay too much for a property.

    I could go on for hours but I have covered the major ones for me.
    The vendors always lie, for example "do you have any problems with noise, as we had major hassle resulting in a messy court case for harrassment and 2 attacks against us?" they said no but we have the thinest walls in history now and a single male neighbour who likes music and slamming doors.
  • confusedroast
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    Re noise I had a NIGHTMARE with my alcoholic hermit of a freeholder who lived downstairs - nice as pie when I moved in and invited me round for dinner then week two was awoken every night at midnight when her boyfriend came home from the pub til 5am - their kitchen is below my bedroom and they would have screaming and karoke sessions in there!!!! It ended with me calling the council and the noise abatement department and they threated her with a £10K fine and confiscated her hi-fi! NEVER heard her again and now they have moved! YAY

    Go and see houses or flats at ALL times, if your serious about buying ask for a morning afternoon and evening viewing, if the estate agent says they only work til 6-7pm then say you want to arrange it with the seller, if the seller says no then they have something to hide or are not serious about selling
    I will definately be doing this when we move!
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