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    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 20th Jan 10, 3:19 PM
    • 1,233Posts
    • 3,567Thanks
    MSE Jenny
    Great 'What I wish Id known before I bought my first home' Hunt
    • #1
    • 20th Jan 10, 3:19 PM
    Great 'What I wish Id known before I bought my first home' Hunt 20th Jan 10 at 3:19 PM
    We want MoneySaving homeowners’ pointers for people buying their first abode. Is there something you've learnt along the way that you wish you'd known before?

    Whether it's estate agents & surveys, kitchens or dry rot, impart your wisdom for the benefit of first timers. What's your best advice for those hunting for a first pad?

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by Former MSE Rose; 26-01-2010 at 5:51 PM.
Page 1
  • pingu2209
    • #2
    • 20th Jan 10, 3:54 PM
    • #2
    • 20th Jan 10, 3:54 PM
    Assume you will need to sell it on quickly. Don't just look at what is right for you, look at resale as well. You may not mind being on an A road or next to a motor way but the majority of others will.
    • Cannon Fodder
    • By Cannon Fodder 20th Jan 10, 4:01 PM
    • 3,848 Posts
    • 6,208 Thanks
    Cannon Fodder
    • #3
    • 20th Jan 10, 4:01 PM
    • #3
    • 20th Jan 10, 4:01 PM
    Use a well regarded local solictor, via family/friend recommendation.

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

    For off-plan new-builds, always ensure your solicitor has protected you from the ramifications of a delay in completing the build.
    Hi, we've noticed that you don't have a signature to remove. If you're not sure why please read the forum rules or email the forum team if you are feeling left out.
  • stingy rach
    • #4
    • 20th Jan 10, 4:11 PM
    • #4
    • 20th Jan 10, 4:11 PM
    Always do a second and even a third viewing at other times of the day/evening. Buy with your head not your heart and always get a full survey done. I know sooo many buyers that have had issues that could have been flagged before completion.
  • goldengirl28
    • #5
    • 20th Jan 10, 4:12 PM
    • #5
    • 20th Jan 10, 4:12 PM
    keep your sense of humour

    1 small job can lead to multiples

    don't mess about with council tax, they will catch you

    have some savings to fall back on

    always get 3 quotes for jobs that need doing

    rope in friends and family as that can help on costs

    get to know your neighbours, they can be a source of very useful info about your house and the neighbourhood

    my mum always used to say splash out on the underlay, scrimp on the carpets.don't know if thats true but i have done over the years.

    thats all for now.

    it'll be interesting reading this thread
    2010 challenges
    Saving 8k to add to house deposit - done
    8000/10,200 done 28 April (started jan 1 2010)
    Lose 2 stone/ -5/23 to go
    Sell our house and buy another one
    • Ulfar
    • By Ulfar 20th Jan 10, 5:58 PM
    • 1,284 Posts
    • 1,323 Thanks
    • #6
    • 20th Jan 10, 5:58 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Jan 10, 5:58 PM
    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.
    • kmmr
    • By kmmr 20th Jan 10, 6:02 PM
    • 1,360 Posts
    • 1,137 Thanks
    • #7
    • 20th Jan 10, 6:02 PM
    • #7
    • 20th Jan 10, 6:02 PM
    understand that the exchange to completion process always takes longer than you think, and will be very stressful at the end. But once it's finished, you forget about it immediately!
  • chodges84
    • #8
    • 20th Jan 10, 6:05 PM
    • #8
    • 20th Jan 10, 6:05 PM
    That location has the biggest impact on my quality of life.

    I never thought I'd say it, and its taken me a long time to realise it but despite having lived in many amazing houses in many places I'd actually pick the location first now and even settle for something ordinary that I would previously never even have glanced at.

    So my advice is to work out what environment would make you really really happy and then pick the house that's in it.
    Originally posted by Quizzical Squirrel

    I agree 100% with this. We looked around bigger houses in 'lesser' areas and I knew I couldn't be happy there. In some cases we could have had extra rooms/bigger gardens, but I would rather a smaller house i a better area.

    I would add to allow your self a bigger budget for surveys and solicitors fees in case sales fall through. We've lost 500 on a mortgage fee as we haven't found another house in time and 150 solicitors fees. On top of that we will now have to pay stamp duty when we do find a place. If you also have a bad survey and the seller won't drop the price, you may lose 400-700 a time in survey costs,so budget for 2 or 3 of these, especially if you are looking at older houses.

    If even 1 sale falls through you could need another 1000-1500 so keep this as a contingency. (Even though I'd sort of budgeted for it, its still a hard pill to swallow seeing all that money spent on nothing)
    • Kyrae
    • By Kyrae 20th Jan 10, 7:41 PM
    • 463 Posts
    • 410 Thanks
    • #9
    • 20th Jan 10, 7:41 PM
    • #9
    • 20th Jan 10, 7:41 PM
    Things i've recently learnt from buying a new build...

    1. Try to avoid using the builder's recommended mortgage brokers or solicitors, find your own based on recommendations of friends and family.

    2. There's always a chance that the house will take longer being built than expected, so make sure you're prepared. If your mortgage offer could expire before the house is built, ask your solicitor about putting in a long stop completion date or a clause in the contract allowing you to pull out if you cannot get a mortgage when the house is built.

    3. There's no harm in making an offer lower than the asking price. If the builders aren't willing to drop then try and get some freebies thrown in like carpets and vinyl, turf for the garden, stamp duty paid, etc.

    4. The builders will offer you optional extras like white goods, fitted furniture, etc, but beware they're usually over priced. Do your research and you can probably find much better deals elsewhere.

    5. Don't let the builders rush you into exchanging contracts, take your time to read through the contract with your solicitor and if you have any questions then make sure you get answers before signing anything.

    6. Hassle your solicitor as frequently as needed, you're paying them so you have every right to ask them as many questions as needed, and if you haven't heard anything for a while then ring them and ask for updates.

    7. Might seem a strange one, but if you're planning on keeping chickens, parking a caravan or boat on your drive, having aerials or sky dishes, building any outbuildings, or even a conservatory, then be prepared that there may be restrictions on this in the contract. Eg. Ours says no chickens, boats or caravans, and outbuildings and conservatories only allowed with the builders permission... which they charge you a 'reasonable' fee for. See if they'll give permission before you sign the contract and you might save some money.

    Hope that helps!
    • SailorSam
    • By SailorSam 20th Jan 10, 7:55 PM
    • 21,172 Posts
    • 36,772 Thanks
    When i bought my first house it had yellow lines outside, but i thought i'm out early of a morning it'll be ok.
    Going to work one morning before 8am i had a ticket
    I started to park in the next street, one monday morning off to work, no car. I phoned the police they said, yes is it a white one it was stolen on Friday night, we've found it, it's a right off, move it off the road or we'll charge you.
    The police knew all weekend and not been to tell me.
    So the next time i moved i didn't care what the house was like, as long as i could park on the path.
    Liverpool is one of the wonders of Britain,
    What it may grow to in time, I know not what.

    Daniel Defoe: 1725.
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 20th Jan 10, 7:57 PM
    • 32,191 Posts
    • 63,522 Thanks
    We bought our first home in 1976 when we were in our 20s.

    We wanted a Victorian terraced house with an attic, a cellar and a garden, so that was all we looked at in the house.

    The vendor said that the house had suffered from damp and the wallpaper had come off, but he'd fixed it (after we'd moved in we realised he'd nailed the wallpaper to the wall).

    It was carpeted throughout in bottle green long pile carpet. And the walls were covered in pale pink woodchip.

    We loved it. We bought it. We still have it.

    In 2004 we bought our house in Spain. It ticked some of our boxes but we bought it because of the view. Never mind the rat's nest in the second bedroom.... Or an actual dead rat in the storeroom..... Or the light 'fittings' hanging from hooks in the ceiling...... Or the infestation by carpenter bees in the 120 exposed beams.... The view was to die for.

    So we have actually learned nothing in thirty years about buying houses.
    Last edited by seven-day-weekend; 20-01-2010 at 7:59 PM.
    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
  • jenny_13
    Use a well regarded local solictor, via family/friend recommendation.

    Do not use solicitor or mortgage advisor tied to the developer/Estate Agent.
    Originally posted by Cannon Fodder
    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!
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 20th Jan 10, 8:53 PM
    • 32,191 Posts
    • 63,522 Thanks
    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.
    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
    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
    • By elsien 20th Jan 10, 8:55 PM
    • 18,780 Posts
    • 47,635 Thanks
    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
    • By seven-day-weekend 20th Jan 10, 9:01 PM
    • 32,191 Posts
    • 63,522 Thanks
    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.
    Originally posted by elsien

    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).
    Last edited by seven-day-weekend; 20-01-2010 at 9:57 PM.
    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
    • By VickyA 20th Jan 10, 9:25 PM
    • 4,446 Posts
    • 21,687 Thanks
    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.
    SPC 8 #021 975.71 #9 881.44 #10 961.13 #11 782.13 declared
  • PennyPincher_L
    thanks vikey
    • poppy_f1
    • By poppy_f1 21st Jan 10, 7:14 AM
    • 2,607 Posts
    • 3,244 Thanks
    keep them coming please, particulary handy for us FTB's
  • clutton
    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
    Last edited by clutton; 21-01-2010 at 9:39 AM.
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