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    • DD265
    • By DD265 4th Aug 18, 12:51 PM
    • 1,725Posts
    • 4,126Thanks
    What do you wish you'd known as a 1st time buyer?
    • #1
    • 4th Aug 18, 12:51 PM
    What do you wish you'd known as a 1st time buyer? 4th Aug 18 at 12:51 PM
    I appreciate that things change etc but what do you know now about home buying/ownership that you wish you knew when you bought your first home?

    It looks like we might be about to start on the journey so I'm reading all sorts but there are probably things we haven't considered looking into yet.
Page 2
    • keithdc
    • By keithdc 5th Aug 18, 6:23 AM
    • 350 Posts
    • 623 Thanks
    The estate agent is not your friend... They work for the vendor.
    However, they are probably only paid at exchange/completion- use that to your advantage!

    Make a maximum of 2 offers... Offer 1 should be a cheeky offer to see how the ground lies- you may be lucky; offer 2 should be your final offer.
    If you aren't cheeky on offer 1 and they accept, you will always wonder if you over paid.

    Find out about the vendors- where are they moving? Why? How desperate? Useful negotiating information.

    Do NOT show too much interest in places when you look around with the Estate Agent. Instead, pick faults and flaws. Let your eyes glaze over if they mention 'other buyers' etc and move at your own pace. There's always another house.
    Originally posted by jonnygee2
    some caution here... A good estate agent will pick up on these vibes. We had more than one offer on our house-all at a similar amount. We went with the people that had seemed to the estate agent to be more enthusiastic on basis they had an emotional attachment.
    • avacapri
    • By avacapri 5th Aug 18, 6:46 AM
    • 40 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    for me, soundproofing and sound, in general, is a big one, and the area - think big about schools and work when making a decision.
    but the biggest is debt, do not be tempted by buying now pay later or interest free deals, do not use the credit card - basically do not enter into any long-term financial commitment, you need to get used to the cost of the house and as a FTB you will not be used to that yet.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 5th Aug 18, 7:18 AM
    • 17,561 Posts
    • 49,168 Thanks

    some caution here... A good estate agent will pick up on these vibes. We had more than one offer on our house-all at a similar amount. We went with the people that had seemed to the estate agent to be more enthusiastic on basis they had an emotional attachment.
    Originally posted by keithdc
    Maybe not so much vibes per se...

    When I sold my FTB house the EA said he was a bit puzzled that a buy-to-letter didnt make a 2nd offer (after I'd turned down their first one) and was commenting on how "enthusiastic" another woman had been about what she would do to the house (including extending it into the side return) - where I was thinking "She sounds like a bit of a fantasist".

    But he did tell me my buyer would be the one buying it - a combination of she was obviously visualising how she would arrange the house and he spotted her about-to-be-primary-school age child with her and presumably knew the reputation of two of the nearest primary schools. That being - I thought it was likely my eventual buyer would have a child about to be primary school age and would want the fact my house has a nice little primary school/with nice "mummies" and nice kids visibly seen going to it only about round the corner from my house. Near enough one would have to fall into the catchment area for being so close - but far enough one wouldnt have those children playing near enough to the house to be heard.
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 5th Aug 18, 7:27 AM
    • 31,830 Posts
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    Buy a do-er upper, but one that is liveable. You will get a better house for your money then can spend time making it your own. You can live with a pink bathroom or a 90s kitchen for a while

    Also remember you can change the house but not the area. Make sure it is somewhere you want to live.
    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
    • lookstraightahead
    • By lookstraightahead 5th Aug 18, 8:00 AM
    • 841 Posts
    • 749 Thanks
    Hmm from my experience ....

    I bought with my ex at 21 (30 years ago gulp) without anticipating a) a house price crash, b) stretching much too far and then interest rates topping 15%, c) not thinking about location and having to move when promoted d) divorce. I'm not saying, and certainly not hoping, that you will go through these things, but in hindsight having a house so early was a chain around my ankles which eventually meant no house and having to rent (another chain around my ankles later in life).

    Not saying don't buy but do what you're doing now and be sensible, think long and hard about your future plans, save anyway, and remain flexible.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 5th Aug 18, 9:25 AM
    • 7,689 Posts
    • 7,372 Thanks
    that failing to get a few % knocked off the price really was not the disaster it seemed at the time when selling many years later.

    estate agents do not work for you, they work for the person who pays them, the vendor
    • Trixsie1989
    • By Trixsie1989 5th Aug 18, 11:36 AM
    • 485 Posts
    • 501 Thanks
    Buy a do-er upper, but one that is liveable. You will get a better house for your money then can spend time making it your own. You can live with a pink bathroom or a 90s kitchen for a while

    Also remember you can change the house but not the area. Make sure it is somewhere you want to live.
    Originally posted by seven-day-weekend

    Yep this!! Our house needs a complete overhaul once we are finally in... However, for now the only essential things are fixing the roof, having a full asbestos survey and getting an electrical survey to identify what needs doing. Everything else can wait and be done gradually
    Debt free finally
    First house purchase ... 2018
    • kerri gt
    • By kerri gt 5th Aug 18, 11:48 AM
    • 7,775 Posts
    • 52,853 Thanks
    kerri gt
    If you are view a house and planning to do x,y,z to it, take the Indian cost you think it will be and double it. We were shocked at some of the costs of tradesmen, doing it yourself can still add up with extra materials / things required to prep / finding you need that wall under the wallpaper skimmed once you start removing it, and be prepared for things not to go 100% to plan when doing any kind of work to a property.
    Feb 2015 NSD Challenge 8/12
    JAN NSD 11/16

    • DD265
    • By DD265 5th Aug 18, 12:29 PM
    • 1,725 Posts
    • 4,126 Thanks
    These are really helpful, please keep them coming!
    • Callie22
    • By Callie22 5th Aug 18, 2:53 PM
    • 3,241 Posts
    • 8,870 Thanks
    Buy a do-er upper, but one that is liveable. You will get a better house for your money then can spend time making it your own. You can live with a pink bathroom or a 90s kitchen for a while
    Originally posted by seven-day-weekend
    I would also say really look into how much 'doing stuff up' can cost - it is a real eye-opener when you start getting quotes and realise just how expensive it can be, especially if you're not the DIY type and you will need to get people in. We bought a 60s-built house that has pretty much the original kitchen and bathroom, both were 'liveable' but they're something we want to change (and in the case of the bathroom, will have to do so soon). Whilst I wouldn't say that we're naive we did underestimate a bit just how much things like bathrooms and kitchens can cost, especially when you factor in labour costs. We've had to save a bit longer than we planned to for the bathroom so when you're thinking about 'liveable' do be realistic and think about whether you can live with it for longer than you're planning to. You do also need to be a bit realistic about things like ceiling prices too - you might look round and plan an extension, and an attic conversion, and so on, but you have to think about whether things like that would be worthwhile, especially if you're not planning to stay somewhere long term.

    Another thing that we wish we'd known is that it just isn't as black and white as people make it out to be. You'll hear a lot of people say things like 'the worst home in the best area is better than the best home in the worst area' and whilst that's true, that's not really the reality for most people. Certainly as bog-standard limited-budget FTBs we felt that we were mainly looking at average homes in average areas and it was all much of a muchness. It really came down to what we felt was going to work best for us in terms of things like parking (an absolute must for us), outside space (an absolute must for me) and layout.
    • cherylsurrey
    • By cherylsurrey 5th Aug 18, 4:40 PM
    • 162 Posts
    • 175 Thanks
    If you are thinking of buying an ex local authority/council flat, call the council or housing association up and check if they are planning on doing any major works in the next few years and how much roughly they will be, before you put in an offer. It is amazing how expensive these bills can be running into the thousands, and you can make an offer taking this into account.
    • StumpyPumpy
    • By StumpyPumpy 5th Aug 18, 6:08 PM
    • 1,319 Posts
    • 3,568 Thanks
    What other people have said, plus: Learn how to research properly on the internet.

    There is a huge number of resources available to help you choose a house, it amazes me how often people are unaware of them. Rightmove, Zoopla and OntheMarket are much more useful than simply finding the house in the first place.

    Zoopla value estimates are pretty useless a lot of the time but the sold prices section is very good, and they often have an archive of previous listings. Rightmove also does previous listings but they don't keep an archive so you may find one old one or be shown the current listing. Also, Rightmove doesn't seem to show old listings for flats in their sold prices for some reason, an appropriate Google search using the "site:" parameter is your friend here. And talking of Google, its Streetview history can often turn up some surprises. Sadly, the best tool for Rightmove - PropertyBee no longer works: there are alternatives that are slowly filling the gap but I haven't used them extensively enough to recommend any (someone else may be able to suggest one for you)

    Once you have a house/location in mind check Facebook to see if there is a local page and maybe post something along the lines of "I'm thinking of moving to your delightful town of Springfield, are there any areas that people would recommend?". Take any replies with a pinch of salt but it often gives you an idea if you want to move to an unfamiliar area. The local newspaper might give some insights too.

    Make sure you are familiar with the local council's planning portal and their Local Development Plan (LDP) You might find that the beautiful view from your prospective front door is earmarked for a 400 property housing estate in the LDP or one of the neighbours has a planning application in to convert his shed into a slaughterhouse (or just knock down the house and build another. Don't think that would necessarily be short term - I know someone whose neighbour's house has been a constant building site for the last 10 years!) A general look over the planning will also give you an idea of how likely the council are to give permission for development (good if it is for you, potentially bad if it is for all your neighbours).

    Whilst you are looking at the council site check to see if there are any ongoing issues in the neighbourhood, such as noise issues: You may fall in love with the property overlooking the cricket green but not be so enamoured after the third weekend of karaoke nights in the pavilion that vibrates your new home until past midnight. Licensing applications and Temporary Event Notices are worth paying attention to: most people do not want to live with a popular party venue over the garden fence. Sadly, all the different councils seem to use different online systems so you need to hunt around to find out where the useful information is hiding. will give you a map of reported crime in the area which is always good to know about and the old map sites such as are interesting in themselves but can also throw up other issues such as footpath routes, culverts and previous uses of the site that may otherwise only turn up in the official searches.

    Come on people, it's not difficult: lose means to be unable to find, loose means not being fixed in place. So if you have a hole in your pocket you might lose your loose change.
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 5th Aug 18, 7:50 PM
    • 1,138 Posts
    • 1,376 Thanks
    I wish I had know 3 or 4 years earlier how the housing market in the 1980's was going to go silly and bought earlier.

    I wish I had know interest rates were going to go up to 15%, I might have save more and been even more frugal that I was (actually I am not sure that would have been possible)

    Whoever says buying a house used to be easy is lyeing. Even back then, I bought literally the cheapest house for sale in the county, I could only just afford it, taking the maximum mortgage I could get, which even took into account a pay rise due in 2 months, that left me several K short for the deposit so my good car had to go and be replaced with a 200 rusty banger. t was a new house but it was 2 years before I could afford new carpets for it. People today would not give up their pay tv, internet, phones etc to save money and be frugal to afford a first house.

    I also wish it had been possible to borrow money to buy land. I had the chance of a reasonable building plot buy nobody would lend money to buy the land. It was another 20 years before I finally got my dream of building my own house.
    • hammy1988
    • By hammy1988 6th Aug 18, 12:41 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 95 Thanks
    Don't fall into the trap of the Help to Buy scheme as a FTB. We used the HTB but we were not a FTB, we had a lot of equity in our first house that was a first time buy. It was an ex council house and we bought it cheap and did it up, which then meant five years later we could get our dream house along with promotions at work etc. I'm seeing too many FTB rushing into the HTB scheme without thinking about it and the massive financial tie and lack of scope it gets you in.

    We are treating this house as our forever home now, but always knew our first purchase would be cheap, its all we could afford back then!
    • armchaireconomist
    • By armchaireconomist 6th Aug 18, 12:46 PM
    • 359 Posts
    • 437 Thanks
    - Property report is barely worth the paper its written on
    - Inspect everything, lift carpets if they consent, don't worry about being seen as overstepping
    - Buy something cheap and teach yourself to DIY, you'll save thousands (FYI, in a lot of jobs its easy enough to get a "professional" standard as long as you're prepared to spend the time on it)
    - If you can, don't move in straight away and get everything done you can afford.
    • xsor
    • By xsor 6th Aug 18, 3:16 PM
    • 87 Posts
    • 28 Thanks
    Hmm, that not everyone is on your side.

    Everyone is there to make money off you, and it's up to you to make sure you don't lose too much of it. Take every advice you get from these 'professionals' with a pinch of salt, because in the end, they just want to get the job done.

    Keep a log of everything, get everything in email/writing to confirm. Don't put too much trust in anyone, and assume they'll carry it out.

    If you're buying new build, always make sure they fix everything first before you commit (exchange).

    Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but you normally end up disappointed/hurt from the promises and advice you get.
    • NaughtiusMaximus
    • By NaughtiusMaximus 6th Aug 18, 3:23 PM
    • 1,622 Posts
    • 3,999 Thanks
    (FYI, in a lot of jobs its easy enough to get a "professional" standard as long as you're prepared to spend the time on it)
    Originally posted by armchaireconomist
    Spot on. I can redecorate a room to as good a standard as a professional painter and decorator, the difference being a competent pro would do it in half the time or less.
    • pumpkin89
    • By pumpkin89 6th Aug 18, 3:38 PM
    • 185 Posts
    • 359 Thanks
    Honestly, I wish I'd researched the end-to-end process before I started (didn't even know that 'exchange' and 'complete' are different things).

    I disagree with people who've said buy the best house you can afford. Depending on your budget, that might be the only realistic option. However, we went for a cheaper house and it's been nice having a bit of spare money, rather than putting every penny into the mortgage.
    • starshapedbrick
    • By starshapedbrick 6th Aug 18, 4:14 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 58 Thanks
    • Buy in the best area you can afford, and do plenty of research

    • If buying a flat, educate yourself on lease extensions beforehand (not as I did 10 years later when I wanted to sell - fortunately I wasn't left out of pocket, but others in the block I used to own in have been left with unsellable flats worth a third of what they paid at the peak of the market!)

    • Find a solicitor who uses email. I cannot emphasise how much difference this made between my first purchase and subsequent ones.Not only for convenience but for having a written record of everything and being able to keep people in the loop quickly.
    • And finally, as a recent 3rd time buyer but first time in a chain - the pain does end, and it's not worth getting worked up over the many annoyances of dealing with the chain. I just kept in mind that there would come a time when I would never have to deal with our vendors, our buyers, their agents and solicitors ever again and that kept me going
    • butterfly72
    • By butterfly72 6th Aug 18, 7:17 PM
    • 1,207 Posts
    • 1,143 Thanks
    If you really want to research an area look at what used to be the Public Health Observatories. You can see how an area compares to other local areas and the whole of England in relation to health, smoking, obesity, employment, violent crimes, life expectancy, no of GCSEs, alcohol, activity levels, cancer diagnosis, diabetes... etc... It can give you a really good idea of an area and the people living there and is quite fascinating to browse anyway!

    It's not massively user friendly anymore but you can navigate it with a bit of playing around.
    2019 in 2019 #44 - 70/2019
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