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



  • kalimai
    kalimai Posts: 21 Forumite
    Squish_21 wrote: »
    Get local solictors, that our recommended by a friend if possible. Then you can actually go to their office and badger them when things werent getting done.

    My solicitor wasnt local, took ages to do a straight forward purchase and we could never get hold of her. Defo usuing local next time, even if they cost more!

    Totally agree, we got the cheapest solicitors from the yellow pages and had no end of problems. In the end the chap from whom we were purchasing the property drove to Birmingham to drop off our 3rd copy of paperwork. I was constantly on the phone chasing them for things, you need to be able to go in and bader them. Also watch out for additional clauses, have someone you trust look over paperwork. We signed everything the solicitor sent us, not fully understanding it all and ended up with a £300 extra bill.

    With regard to the house price, don't be scared to offer well below the asking price. Then can only say no, but you could get yourself a bargin. We offered £5k below and they snapped our hands off. Checking what local properties had sold for we realised we could have easily got £15k off the asking price. Rightmove allows you to check what similar properties in the same area have sold for.
  • Hopejack
    Hopejack Posts: 507 Forumite
    A few people have mentioned south facing garden here. South facing is not such a good idea reason being the 'front' of the house will therefore be North! If it is then it will be colder and darker. I know this as our house is like that - the back is lovely, sunny etc but the front is cold and barely gets any light - yuck! OK if you have all your rooms on the back!

    Instead opt for a west (much better as both sides of your house will get sun - rises in the east, sets in the west) or a south west so at least your front will be north east (ie gets the morning sun so has a chance to heat up/get some natural light).

    I know we don't get a huge amount of sunny/hot weather in the UK but one side of your house being dark and cold all the time is a massive turn off for me :)
  • Pretty good advice so far... a few of my wish i'd known things:

    - Don't get the survey through your mortgage company;
    just pay for a valuation then get a Local surveyor to do either a full or Home Buyers report (would suggest that for a post 1960s house the later would be fine).

    - Ask the solicitor if they are going on holiday at any point in the next 3 months from your offer being put in, if so, go elsewhere.

    - Badger your solicitor the week before completion;
    It was only by chance that I phoned up two days before completing and asked when they wanted the deposit money. They were genuinely surprised that I hadn't paid it already, despite not being requested or told where to pay to.

    Good luck if your reading...
  • NoAngel
    NoAngel Posts: 774 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    We were told there was plumbing for an automatic washing machine in the cellar. After moving in it because apparent that there wasn't even a plug socket down there, let alone plumbing! That was extra expense we hadn't planned for.

    So check the inmportant things and don't take it for granted that the boiler will work, there'll be enough plug sockets around the house etc.

    Think twice before buying a house on a main road... it does get quite noisy! You may struggle with parking for yourself and visitors which is also somthing to consider.

    Take more that one look round and spend some time looking around the area- if there is a pub nearby, is it noisy at night? Are the streets well lit? Just generally whether or not the immediate area is safe/nice.
  • mcgazz
    mcgazz Posts: 37 Forumite
    DJ_Mike wrote: »
    I took out a 4-year fixed rate of 5.84%, but I'm managing to overpay so much extra that I've now shot myself in the foot by being unable to remortgage onto a better rate because if I do I'll pay a 4% Early Repayment Charge.

    It could be worse - I took out a 10-year fixed rate of 6.59% in 2008, just before interest rates fell through the floor. If I could have seen into the future, I'd have got a tracker, but c'est la vie. At least I know what I'm paying every month and if rates shoot up I don't have to worry.
  • I bought my first house with my partner 2 years ago. We are paying a mortgage of £1250 (£100 of which is actually repayment) Recently the house next door has gone up for letting at £850 a month. I wish now that we had decided to rent for less and in effect we could be putting away £400 to a future mortgage instead of the £100 that we are paying off it now. We also bought at the wrong time as our house has also gone down in value.
    I wish I had considered renting and and I think for the next few years we would have been better off and would have a bigger deposit together for when we did buying.
    I think people are so desperate to get on the property ladder that they will do it by any means - even if it works out less economical in the long run!
  • ani_ka0
    ani_ka0 Posts: 14 Forumite
    My advice would be to make sure that your mortgage is as flexable/portable as you need it to be!

    We bought our first place around, but the mortgage is not transferable/portable or flexable in any way and I would definitely recommend having some flexability. We are looking to move and will have to get a totally new mortgage now - and with the other half being self employed this will not be as easy as it was almost 3 years ago.

    Also, if going for a new build bare in mind that it may take you the full 2 years of hassle to get things how you were promised in the first place. We had to take alot of time off work, spend time chasing builders and contacting customer services and if you havent got time, its possibly not worth it. I will not be buying new again!
  • Whatever way the garden faces check out what is around it. Surrounding buildings and large trees may block out the sun at different times of the day.
  • I've recently bought my first flat and *touch wood* not had too many problems so far.

    One thing that is important when buying a flat, make sure that you are aware of any ground rent/service charge/maintenance fee that you have to pay in addition to any mortgage. Check how much you are liable to pay towards repairs on the entire building or you may get stung for thousands for double glazing, updating door entry systems etc.

    Also check how old the wiring is, and how many plug sockets are around - in older places there are far fewer plug sockets and you may need to factor in the cost of getting extra ones installed, not expensive if your wiring's up to date, but otherwise can be pricey if you need a lot of rewiring.
  • When I bought my first flat I was completely naive. It only had a 75 year lease and nobody suggested that this was rather short and I should insist on at least 99 years. As a result, some years down the line I had to pay to renegotiate a longer lease in order to ensure the property would be 'saleable' - apparently mortgagers are unwilling to lend on a lease of 60 years or less.

    Secondly the flat was dry-lined and although I had a full survey done, and no damp mentioned, again, eventually all sorts of damp problems occurred.

    Our freeholder was a real cowboy. Ran his own building firm and hiked up the price of all maintenance work he undertook, so that all the leaseholders in the building eventually clubbed together and bough the freehold from him - more unexpected expense.
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