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Any tips for first time buyers?

(42 Posts)
kveta Mon 11-Oct-10 21:08:33

DH and I have viewed 1 property, and we want to put in an offer on it, but we're not sure if this is sensible. It's the 1st we've seen in our price range, right number of rooms, walking distance to station, parking, nice garden, and we've been scanning right move for MONTHS. Since none of our close family or friends have bought recently or bought at all (most recent purchase was by my parents in 1981!) we haven't got a scooby what we should be wary of, so any hints and tips would be very welcome!

for example, which is best - tracker or fixed rate mortgage? what insurances are actually worth it (mortgage bloke today mentioned about 4 zillion insurances we should take)? what do you look for in a 2nd viewing?

thanks in advance oh wise mumsnetters

mintyfresh Tue 12-Oct-10 13:58:55

If house ticks all your boxes and is in your price range why not? smile

There are some good fixed rates out there if you have a big deposit. Fixed for as long as you can on a good rate would help for longer term budgeting and IR hikes which are inevitable!

We've literally got building and contents ins and our own mortgage cover. Beware of mortgage advisers trying to sell you ins as they get a big commission on this as you can imagine!

Good luck - have you put an offer in yet?

Mooos Tue 12-Oct-10 15:36:02

This is potentially the biggest purchase of your life and excuse me for saying but you sound a bit green. You yourself have said you're not sure if it's sensible. The UK is in the early stages of a massive house price crash so why on earth would you buy now?
I think you need to take a step backwards and relax. Continue renting - or whatever you are doing just now and read up about mortgages, house buying, negative equity etc etc and think about this again in 9 months time when I imagine that perhaps property aka homes will have dropped by another 8 or 9 % or more.

doblet Tue 12-Oct-10 15:49:45

Some areas have not been affected by the drop in housing markets - some house prices have in fact increased. If you are over cautious you may never buy! Try Mortgage magazine (not an exciting read but worth it) for advice and of course try and find a recommendation for an FA.

MegBusset Tue 12-Oct-10 16:06:35

If it's the only one in your price range I would ask why -- are prices dropping in your area, or is there something wrong with it that makes it so much cheaper than similar properties (parking, problems with lease, crappy school catchment, etc?)

Also, as a FTB you will be in high demand so worth looking at properties a little higher than your budget, someone keen to sell may well accept an offer (we have just sold to FTB at 10% below original asking price).

On the second viewing take your dad or someone else (a builder mate would be ideal) who will look at it without rose-tinted specs.

I think you can never tell when is the right time to buy. Just make sure you can afford repayments even if interest rates shoot up and make sure it has space enough for a few years in case you end up unable to move again for a while.

YanknCock Tue 12-Oct-10 16:17:05

Tips for first time buyers?

Don't. Just don't.

Squirrels could eat your roof. You might need trees chopped down. The electrics could be 'a deathtrap'. The kitchen ceiling might fall in due to a slowly leaking pipe. The boiler could die in the middle of winter when you have a 4mo baby. The garden might need more maintenence than you'd ever imagined. Most of your major appliances could fail within months of each other. The washing machine might try to electrocute you. You might fail to notice that the previous occupants smoked like chimneys and you have to redecorate everything to get rid of the smell, but you can't afford it because every bleeding other thing has gone wrong in the first year.

Wouldn't you rather be a tenant and let the expense of all this be someone else's problem? Home ownership is overrated.

elterwater Tue 12-Oct-10 16:23:02

wait - prices are going to plummet.

nocake Tue 12-Oct-10 16:40:58

People have been saying that house prices are going to plummet for the last 3 years and although they have dropped they certainly haven't crashed. If you are looking to buy a family home, rather than an investment, then now is as good a time as any.

You do sound really green so you should do some research on lots of property websites rather than just asking a vague question here. For example, find out what sort of survey you want (this will depend on the type of house). Work out how all the different types of mortgage work so you can make your own informed decision. Research insurance and find out which companies people recommend. Use the land registry data to find out what similar houses have sold for so you know what this one is likely to be worth.

A house is probably the biggest purchase you'll ever make and will put you into a lot of debt so do your research.

Mooos Wed 13-Oct-10 06:23:55

Kveta there are some good websites to read
money saving expert (the forum) or house price crash ct=idx.

My sister is trying to sell her house just now and I came across these website. There are some really wise people on the crash one in particular.

fridayschild Wed 13-Oct-10 14:30:09

I would recommend getting a buildings surveyor done, by a building surveyor. The bloke who values the property for your mortgage is basically checking whether it will fall down tomorrow. If you get him to do a homebuyer's survey as well, it will probably be terrible, no customer care.

Ask your solicitor or the estate agents to recommend someone, or mumsnet of course. That way you get a surveyor who makes his money by referrals, and therefore needs to be good.

kveta Wed 13-Oct-10 15:53:44

sorry, meant to say - those questions were just examples - we're not as dim as I possibly came across!

we're viewing 4 properties on saturday from the most basic needs loads of work and is therefore v. cheap up to the out of our price range but may be willing to consider lower offers we've had 2 meetings with mortgage advisors, have been 'approved' for a mortgage by my bank, and waiting to see what DH's bank can offer us (mine gives us free valuation, so building survey bit cheaper as we only pay the difference IYSWIM, discounted insurances, and I think a preferential rate - DS was crying during the meeting, so we need to meet the woman again to go over it)

prices in our area dropped a wee bit earlier in the year but have started to go up again, so more properties suddenly on the market, which makes it nice for buyers!

yankncock - we are absolutely sick of renting, and want to own. DH has been saving since he moved to this country, we want DS to have a stable family home, which rental does not offer us. want to be able to decorate, furnish it ourselves, put up paintings - things we can't really do here.

kveta Wed 13-Oct-10 15:56:42

oops, meant to say thanks to you all too

Mooos Wed 13-Oct-10 17:25:11

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

FimboBBINGFORAPPLES Wed 13-Oct-10 17:31:36

Who is a troll? hmm

kveta Wed 13-Oct-10 17:33:44

wha?! how would that indicate trolling?! am not sure whether to grin or be confused! have been on mn constantly since last may, would be long lead time for trolling!

FimboBBINGFORAPPLES Wed 13-Oct-10 17:37:06

I truly don't understand MOOOS comments Kveta, you have done and said nothing to warrant it.

kveta Wed 13-Oct-10 17:39:28

it's ok fimboBBING - I'm just a bit bewildered by it - but maybe it's a signal that I've arrived on mumsnet, isn't that what troll accusations mean?!

Mooos Wed 13-Oct-10 19:16:54

Sorry sorry sorry..I' genuine and I quoted someone who I thought was a troll and I can't find her now (the beauty of MN website).

I stand by my post - it's not a good idea.

Mooos Wed 13-Oct-10 19:19:04

Shit..I didn't even write that post correctly.

Honestly I am not a crusader for an edit button on Mumsnet (but it would help!)

FimboBBINGFORAPPLES Thu 14-Oct-10 13:43:15

Lol - you copied and paste another post? Makes sense now.

urbanproserpine Wed 19-Oct-11 16:44:34

here's what I think:
FULL survey.
This WILL NOT MEAN your house does not need a lot of work (I know trust me) but its the best you can do.

Get a roofer to come and 'quote' on what needs doing; a surveyor will not go up on a roof (£6k later I learnt my lesson). A roofer is usually happy to do this, after all if you need the work doing, someone has to look at it anyway.

Bear in mind that a surveyor is not able to lift any carpet, or remove any wallpaper to check for damp, nor are thay able to go in an attic that (in our case) had no access hatch. For us all of the above had consequences: damp behind gloss-painted wallpaper, woodworm in the floorboards, and roof work and leaks.

Work out what the things that need doing cost -for instance if it has UPVC windows, and you are in an area where that's not fashionable, or indeed you don't like them, that will mean over £10k to replace with timber double-glazing. Factor this into your price. Don't be afraid to ask the vendor to lower the privce if the survey comes back with essential work that needs doing.

Lastly, but not least. remember that if the solicitor has your cash in their account for ANY amount of time before the contract is completed, they will gain the interest. By law they have to give it to you, but only if you ask. We got £250 from them this way. ASK

ElderberrySyrup Wed 19-Oct-11 16:58:44

Well, I would say wait.

But if you're determined to buy, then even if you can't get a builder to go round it with you, take someone who has owned a house and had to deal with all the maintenance, cleaning etc, who will be able to say to you stuff like 'Those gaps next to the cooker will be a bugger to clean' and 'That patch of plaster looks like it's on its last legs' and 'Central heating timers like that are tricky to program.' Mums and dads are good at that. (One of my biggest regrets is not asking my dad to do that when I bought my first house. I just took a friend who was wildly enthusiastic about everything.)
And get a proper survey.
And research sold prices on the Land Registry so that you know exactly how your offer compares with actual selling prices.

Akandra Thu 20-Oct-11 09:09:50

When I brought my first house 7 years ago people said 'wait for the crash'. If I'd waited I would have lost a lot of money. Despite the doomsayers, not only has my property gone up in value, it's gone up since the high point in the market in 2008. That won't be true in all areas, but as long as you are willing to stay in any house you buy long enough to ride out any dip you'll be fine. Last year when we looked the prices were lower so we waited.

The general trend of property prices is always up. The sky is not falling. If the entire world economy collapses you'll have more serious things to worry about.

Do see a few more properties just to give you a point of comparison. I am going to get an independent surveyor in I think but I am only getting a homebuyers report as the property is not that old. The older the property, the more checks you should do. I am getting all the optional searches done. If it's quite old then all the extra checks urban is suggesting could be useful.

The house will need things doing to it as you own it. We had new fences, new shed, repaired front wall. We knew when we brought it if the boiler went it would be expensive. Removing cork tiles was a nightmare. Those things come with house ownership. If you aren't prepared to deal with them financially and psychologically don't buy. This is true even of a new build!!!!

Having done the rental thing and been through dodgy landlords, dodgy EAs and having a flat we were living in sold out from under us (not the landlords fault but still no fun) I prefer buying. It's scary that first time but I am glad we did it.

Just my two cents to balance out the doom and gloom of house ownership on this thread. You might get unlucky and get lots of problems. You might not, though!

ElderberrySyrup Thu 20-Oct-11 09:56:19

yes but if you buy near the top of a bubble it can be a very long time, even decades (cf Japan), for houses to come back to what you bought them at. If you can hang on for decades (the 'forever' house) that's fine but if you're a FTB there's a very good chance you'll be wanting to upsize or move for work in a few years and you don't want to be doing that at the point where the house you stretched yourself to buy a bit off peak is at the bottom of the next trough. The Economist recently put the UK's house prices at still 20% over what they 'should' be, but when prices drop they tend to undershoot so they could go down further than that before they come up again. The thing is there is nothing in the economy that suggests prices will pick up again in the next few years, which is the timescale we're talking about here.

Slacking9to5 Thu 20-Oct-11 10:39:33

I know people who have been waiting years for a crash, it hasn't happened and it won't happen. Prices may well dip a bit more but in a decade's time they will have risen considerably.

When a four bed family house costs £250 K in many parts of the Uk still, talk of crashing smacks of desperate hope.
Good luck, it's a good time to buy. Great interest rates, lots of choice and a buyers market. Go for
I will never understand renting when you can own your own home, if you have the choice.

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