How long did it take you to find a house to buy!

(44 Posts)
PixieHot Wed 20-Feb-13 22:49:37

We've been looking since the start of the year, and I'm starting to feel a bit fed up.

So, how long did it take you to find a house to buy? Did your ideas about what you wanted change a lot in that time? How did you choose what to compromise on, and what not to?

Notyetthere Thu 21-Feb-13 00:11:29

It's a slow time of year so you will need to be patient. More properties tend to come on the market in spring and summer. I'm also hunting for one.
I find myself constantly checking rightmove hoping that my dream house will magically appear.

PixieHot Thu 21-Feb-13 08:06:47

I know, but it's frustrating grin. I'm addicted to RightMove!

noisytoys Thu 21-Feb-13 08:14:49

It took us about 6 months and one fell through when we pulled out after survey (bats, subsidence, foundations moving etc). It was worth the effort and heartache because t all worked out in the end. Hopefully your perfect house is just round the corner smile

aufaniae Thu 21-Feb-13 10:03:04

Took us about 3 months of serious looking. Good luck!

aufaniae Thu 21-Feb-13 10:03:46

Do remember to check out local agents also from time to time - not everything goes on RightMove - or at least that's what we found locally.

jammybean Thu 21-Feb-13 10:07:08

Another zoopla and rightmove addict here! Been looking for 10 months. Went under offer twice. Pulled out first time because of lack of planning and building regs sign off. Second time vendor pulled out, we were guzzumped (sp?).

Even once you've found a property to buy, there's no guarantee its going to go smoothly. Or you may be extremely lucky find a property and complete in under 10 weeks. It's worth it in the end. I agree with notyetthere, the market picks up quite a bit in the spring.

Coconutfeet Thu 21-Feb-13 10:16:29

Took us five months. We did find a place, early on but the vendor pulled out as he decided not to sell. There was very little around and prices were increasing before our eyes. We had to move as we were in a one-bed flat with a child and another on the way. We ended up spending more than we had originally planned. I don't love the house, but it's fine, does the job and we're happy here.

specialsubject Thu 21-Feb-13 10:41:42

I was you this time last year, and was also starting to despair. Then lots of properties appeared in late March and we were opening the door of the near-perfect house in early June. Hang in there.

PixieHot Thu 21-Feb-13 12:49:22

Thanks all smile, I think that our current (rented) house feels even smaller now that we've got our deposit and mortgage decision in principle in place.

I do see more (as in actually some) houses coming on the market recently, I'm sure the right one is sitting on an EA's desk somewhere...

aufaniae Thu 21-Feb-13 16:19:52

Thinking back, although this one took 3 months, the last one too nearly 30 viewings, and 6 months before I found a place I could both afford and would actually want to live in! I was really despondent about it at the time. (And then two came along at once, typical! grin)

piemistress Thu 21-Feb-13 16:26:12

Ages! So long in fact we ended up leafleting houses we liked and got one that way :-)

KissingKittyKat Thu 21-Feb-13 19:44:40

We bought the first house we viewed. We weren't even looking to move for another couple of years, but we just came across a house too good to miss!

AngryFeet Thu 21-Feb-13 19:47:06

Not long for us. We are in the process of buying the first one we looked at! Houses in the area we wanted come on the market and are gone within a week and we were lucky that I spotted this one on Xmas Day and we got in there fast.

AngryFeet Thu 21-Feb-13 19:48:33

I think loads come on in spring time as that is supposed to be the best time to sell so you should have a lot more choice from March onwards smile

Gingerandproud Thu 21-Feb-13 19:51:15

We were looking for about 5 months then our dream house came up and after much stress and heartache we moved in in December. It was actually the only house we both agreed on!

Doretaball Thu 21-Feb-13 19:53:50

We had to wait 2 years for ours! Had 3 offers accepted before this house came up. We pulled out of one (because the seller pushed us too far on the price and we got over excited) and the other two the sellers realised what great houses they had and pulled them off the market! We then found this one which is better suited to us that the other three so it was worth the wait in the end!

Good luck with your search, the right one will come up in the end!

imme Thu 21-Feb-13 20:31:08

3 years!!! This was due to various reasons.One: we naively thought that house prices were going to drop and we would be able to afford our favourite area - this is London so eventually we had to give up on that idea. and two: changing circumstances - inherited a bit of money and had a baby - this meant we started looking at bigger places in school catchments.
We did offer and pull out of a property purchase during the process. Main reason was school catchment but also being pushed over the edge price wise.
We then started looking in a different slightly more affordable area and found our current house.
If I was doing it all again I would be more realistic with expectations of what I can afford in what area and not look at overpriced properties in a fancy area that are too small.

NaturalBaby Thu 21-Feb-13 21:44:23

We've been looking on and off for over a year I think! We only put our house on the market when we found the perfect house as we weren't desperate to move unless we saw something very special. The estate agents kept telling us this is a great time to be on the market but there is nothing else interesting for sale! If our dream home falls through then the alternative is a soulless new build on a new estate at the edge of town.

SizzleSazz Thu 21-Feb-13 21:46:18

We weren't even really looking and when we first dipped our feet in the water we bought the first one we saw at full asking price grin

Just to point out it was early 2000's in a fairly crazy market so we weren't complete nob heads!

AArgghh another Zoopla/rightmove addict here. Ive only been looking a couple of weeks (FTB) but fed up of it all already. Humph

PixieHot Fri 22-Feb-13 08:03:13

We've looked at all of the houses available within in our price are in the areas that we'd like to live in hmm. It's easy to start to think Maybe we can afford a bit more, or Maybe that big thing that's wrong with a particular house isn't that bad...

PixieHot Fri 22-Feb-13 08:05:06

Sorry, rearrange those words into an order that makes more sense grin. Also, throw some away. <blames phone>

Spoonful Fri 22-Feb-13 08:34:08

It took us about five months.
We offered on this house pretty soon after we started to look, but the people decided not to sell.
Then we'd just found another we liked and this place got back to us and said their circumstances had changed so would we still be interested.
The other house was nicer - but more expensive - so we had a long think and decided not to stretch ourselves too much.
I feel like it was the right decision so far!

PixieHot Fri 22-Feb-13 08:41:52

Spoonful, yes, I think that DH and I have to be very careful not to over-stretch ourselves. I can see us living in a house with lots if potential, but with no £ to reach that potential! I have to reign DH in at times.

nancerama Fri 22-Feb-13 08:51:49

If you're in rented, you're in a great position. Don't rely on Rightmove - sometimes the good places are snapped up before they get anywhere near the Internet.

Visit every estate agent in town. Let them know what you are looking for and let them know you're ready to move quickly. With any luck they'll start phoning you to arrange viewings soon.

Most places go on the market after Easter, so you may find it's pretty quiet until then.

Foynoize Fri 22-Feb-13 12:41:42

We started looking in Aug/Sept 2012 and within a month found the place we wanted. We moved in a week before Christmas. We had to move fast as we got a great bargain. A 1930s house with bags of original features. It needs a lot of work but will be worth it in the end although it will swallow every last penny we have. It depends on what you're looking for and how willing you are to compromise on certain aspects, and on whether you're prepared to do any necessary renovations. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by how much we have to do, but I keep looking ahead to next year when hopefully we'll have done quite a bit of it.

Foynoize Fri 22-Feb-13 13:02:30

Pixiehot - I won't say it's easy and at times you feel that you're definitely making the WRONG decision but you have to listen to your gut instinct. If, for example, you know that you want a house that requires no renovations other than cosmetic redecorating, then don't go and view old houses requiring a lot of work. It just adds to your confusion. And vice versa. If you want "character", don't look at new builds. We knew we wanted a house with "character" rather than one with all mod cons. That was our starting point. We also knew we wanted a good sized garden and in all honesty, it was the garden that did it - for me anyway. It was just how I imagined my garden to be (I've never had one before - always lived in flats). Bottom line is you will never find one that ticks all boxes - but you need to decide how many boxes out of 10 you are happy to leave unticked. Good luck!

ChasingSquirrels Fri 22-Feb-13 13:05:40

this house - saw it in the first 2 weeks, unfortunately it fell through and we spent the next 5 months looking during which time there was only 1 other we were seriously interested in. We must have looked at well over a hundred. Eventually sorted problems with this house out and brought it.

currently - have had my eye on the market (ie browsing Rightmove new on at least daily) for the last couple of years. Looked at a couple of new builds, and had a viewing on a house last week, but nothing else in my price range has even interested me in looking at.

didireallysaythat Fri 22-Feb-13 13:13:47

Started looking August 2010. Made offers on houses June 2011, May 2012, July 2012 - always lost out to a higher bidder or someone in rented or because our buyer pulled out.

Had an offer accepted in Jan 2013 - moving into rented to let our sale go through but still looking as the vendors haven't found anywhere yet and if they are as slow as us they will still be looking in 2015.

More than 5000 daily alerts from Right Move... I think I know what the kitchen looks like for most houses within a 20 mile radius of here.

maisiejoe123 Fri 22-Feb-13 13:28:17

I like Location, Location, Location if only to look at other areas (wondering where to retire to and need some ideas), its way off but no harm in looking!

I particularly like the people who have been looking for months and months, sometimes even years always thinking that despite never having brought a house they are property and pricing experts! Mainly of their complaints revolve around the prices of property in their chosen area

When we were thinking of selling we got a valuation from the local estate agent and he said his worst clients are the ones who overvalue their house, say they will 'wait' for the right offer and then blame him when no one comes to look around!

Could I give one tip having brought and sold a few times in the past.

Decide on the area. Quickly decide whether you can afford them. Get your mortgage sorted as far as you can so that you have an idea what you can afford.

If properties are all 'too expensive' look in another area and dont look back. I was working in London a number of years ago, we wanted to move, anywhere around the M25 would be fine. I spent months and months trying to decide where to focus on and ended up with literally 100's and 100's of house details.

ILikeBirds Fri 22-Feb-13 13:38:20

18 months from seriously looking, i.e. going to viewings, to purchasing. Had been keeping an eye online for about a year previous to that. We weren't in any great rush though.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 22-Feb-13 19:45:06

Two years. But we were very picky and houses don't come up very often in the village we wanted to buy in.

myron Fri 22-Feb-13 23:33:29

1 yr of serious house hunting and waiting around for houses to come on the market in specific streets (picky!) Offered on one house but pulled out after terrible survey. Already in rented but still had to pay full asking to secure 70's house which required total renovation but in a prime location with a fabulous garden (a jungle) therefore bags of potential. We waited another 6 mths for the vendors to obtain probate. Moved in, planned our extension/renovation whilst discovering the dodgy plumbing & wiring! Another 6 mths of living on a building site and now, we're living in a fantastic house....definitely worth it!

theborrower Sat 23-Feb-13 09:18:32

We're under offer STCM and have a moving out date of 5 April, and we've not found anywhere we want to move to yet. Well, that's not quite the case. Found somewhere we liked but had our offer rejected as the owners want to keep viewing open a bit longer and possibly set a closing date (they want more money), so I'm guessing we probably won't get it.

feeling very nervous as there's not really much on that is what we're after (3 bed in our chosen school catchment areas) but I know they come up now and again.

At least we're able to move in with my parents for a bit until we're able to move somewhere (with stuff in storage) but I don't want that turning into a long term thing!

I'm starting to think "Are we being too picky about area etc?" but something will turn up, right?

MrsJollyPostman Sun 24-Feb-13 08:41:49

Something will come up. We were looking for 8 months. I really wanted to be in a particular village (practical, emotional and slightly snobbish reasons) smile gave up and made viewings in other areas, then the house we're moving into in a couple of weeks appeared! The right thing will come up, don't compromise because you will only be kicking yourself when the right property comes on the market.

MrsJamin Sun 24-Feb-13 09:26:15

"Don't compromise" is relative, surely? Everyone has to compromise to a certain extent. We are going to move slightly further away from the boys' school so that is a compromise but the house is great and will suit us perfectly. You could wait forever for your dream house to appear- literally. Oh and a pedantic point - you have bought a house not brought it!

MrsJollyPostman Sun 24-Feb-13 09:37:06

Mrsjamin - I know what you mean, I think when people say don't compromise they mean on the things that are most important to them.

piemistress Sun 24-Feb-13 10:32:39

The whole don't compromise thing is difficult! We sold our house and moved in with relatives but couldn't take advantage for too long so had to find somewhere. We had to compromise on something as couldn't wait for a infinite period for the house to appear! In the end I had to compromise on being overlooked. I love the house, area, village etc but have had to be practical and look at how I can fix the one thing that I didn't like (getting a gardening expert in to help me design best way to hide the house which sits beside ours!!)

Notnowcato Sun 24-Feb-13 11:32:11

My advice is don't just look online. I was doing that, and starting to look at a few properties in a rather hopeless way. And then, in four days, we sold and bought! (Rather a shock to the system.) Neither our house, nor the one we bought had been put on the market, officially. Neither had particulars done. The estate agent had clients who were interested in our sort of house, he knew what we were looking for and, hey presto, all done with minimal fuss. Didn't even have to clean up too much for photos! If you look on Rightmove with 'include Sold Subject to Contract' ticked, you will notice there are houses that you've not seen online but that are already sold. And our house doesn't even come up when you do that.

In other words, at the risk of sounding too much like Phil and Kirsty, talk to agents … get to know them and make sure they know what you want.

KindleMum Sun 24-Feb-13 12:30:51

Fingers crossed it will have taken us about 5 months. We have been extremely picky about location, basically only about 6 streets as we want to be in a position where we can walk easily to both children's schools and DH's work and station and shops. We're dedicated pedestrians! I have seen every single house for sale in that area. I've also asked everyone I know locally for recommendations and, STC, we are now buying a house which never actually got to an estate agent as I was told that the owners were moving by a friend and popped a note through their door. Viewed it, loved it and can't wait. Will be a while before we move in as it does need work but I was completely charmed by it, the price is right I think for the work required and it's in my perfect location, the very best spot of the 6 streets we want! And it's so easy not dealing with EA. Owner is happy as they've saved commission and viewings hassle. Hoping to exchange in a fortnight, depends really on vendors doing the paperwork.

Came close to buying another house but the vendor wanted us to pay thousands for her light fittings etc and the delay those discussions caused, meant that this house came up. I really hope it works out as it feels like it was meant to be.

It took us 2 weeks. We made the offer in March and were in by July.

HappyGirlNow Sun 24-Feb-13 12:41:19

A week. Made offer in October, moved in 7 weeks later in December (we'd sold our house months earlier and were renting). But we were very lucky, no other house has gone on the market that meets our requirements since (I've been watching!). Very very happy in our house and busy making plans for it grin

PixieHot Sun 24-Feb-13 13:09:32

Lots of varied responses grin - a week to 1 year +.

We're going to (try to) relax, and wait to see what come onto the market over the next few months. It's our first house viewing-free weekend for a while, which is a bit of a relief TBH. Lots of people have advised not just relying on RightMove, so we're going to pop into all of the local EAs over the next couple of weekends (actually, Saturdays - we visited our local town centre today, but everything was closed!).

Thanks everyone, it's encouraging to hear your success stories.

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