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A couple of questions from a first time buyer...

(19 Posts)
jgriffin3 Thu 17-Mar-16 09:03:08


New to the forum and new to property too - exciting time for me! I have a couple of questions about buying a house for the first time and hoping you may be able to help. I do have a meeting with an advisor this weekend but just wanted to get a little advice before hand...

1. What fees can you add to the mortgage instead of paying up front? Can you add legal fees to this? (I know it doesn't work out the best way financially but wanted to know all of my options)

2. If there is no chain either side of the property (from buyer or seller) how quickly could the process be done from putting in an offer to getting the keys? Just a rough estimate.

3. What are your average household water/electricity/gas bills? There will be myself and partner in a 3bed house.

Thanks for your help in advance!

JeffreySadsacIsUnwell Thu 17-Mar-16 10:44:18

1. No idea as we don't have a mortgage but I would guess it would also vary according to the mortgage size and provider

2. How long is a piece of string?! Depends on how efficient both sets of solicitors/conveyancers are, how 'together' the vendors are with paperwork and whether they have warranties/documentation to hand or have lost everything and need to find copies, how long a survey takes, whether any specialist inspections are recommended eg electrics, drains, what kind of survey you have done and how many - eg relying on the mortgage lender's valuation survey, or additionally having a homebuyer's or full building survey done (valuation survey tells you nothing and isn't necessarily yours to even look at - I wouldn't buy without getting my own survey as well), whether the mortgage is turned down or reduced or retained as a result of the survey, meaning you need to negotiate/find a new mortgage, how on the ball the EA/solicitor is at passing on communications, whether anyone (vendor/solicitor/buyer) is going on holiday eg over Easter, reason for selling - divesting an investment property or is it probate, or a family moving into rental... Could be 3 weeks if everything is really straightforward and everyone is efficient and organised (but if the council shuts down over Easter, local authority searches will take longer...), could be nine months. A couple of months at least would be a reasonable assumption, I'd think, based on the fact that around 2.5-3.5 months is a reasonable estimate for a (short) chain and much of the work (survey, searches) will take a certain amount of time regardless of any other dependent sales/purchases. When we bought a house as FTB some years back, our vendors were buying separately (moving in with their children whilst their new-build retirement bungalow was being finished). We offered in August, moved exactly three months to the day later.

3. Again, how long is a piece of string?! What kind of house is it, how old? What condition? What services? A thermally efficient terraced townhouse built 3 years ago on mains services with solar panels and underfloor heating in an urban heatspot is going to be cheaper to heat than a Grade I listed 300 year old detached cottage with a calor gas tank on a moor/windswept hill/frostbowl valley. A house with ancient pipework and old sanitaryware is going to use more water than one with newer low-volume flush loos, eco showers designed to work at lower pressure, etc. Your own habits (baths or showers? Dishwasher or handwash? How many loads through a washing machine?) will also have an impact. Plus your choice of supplier will affect bills.

These are more relevant factors than number of bedrooms and number of people, IMO, so you may need to be a bit more specific.

Sorry this isn't much help, but it may help you to work out more specific questions to ask others/your adviser!

Cressandra Thu 17-Mar-16 11:24:12

Enjoy! Exciting times!

Agree with Jeffrey, those are very "piece of string" questions.

On 2, this is surely only relevant if you happen to find a chain free house. Ours was around 8 weeks I think, but it will vary hugely depending on how pushy the buyer and seller are, solicitor/conveyancer efficiency, results of searches, how long the mortgage takes to come through etc. We pushed ours through quite hard. We were on one month's rolling notice on our rented flat at the time, and we gave notice a few weeks after having the offer accepted, when everything was progressing well.

On no.3 you might to better to google this kind of thing than to guess from a few replies. Our water bills halved when we went from water rates to a meter, and that was with 2 kids in cloth nappies, and in another part of the country it would have been a very different cost, so it is really hard to guesstimate from just the info you've given.

specialsubject Thu 17-Mar-16 11:39:14

for 3: water bills vary with area, no choice. Fuel obviously varies with use, and you certainly need to avoid the expensive variable tariffs - apparently 70% are still on those!

we are 2 in a 3 bed, fuel is about £330 pa for electric (lighting, gadgets, v. occasional oven use, dishwasher) and maybe £500 for oil, but oil is very cheap now. Also we don't like a hot house, wear jumpers, etc etc.

don't forget: council tax, insurance, broadband/phone.

Buzzardbird Thu 17-Mar-16 11:47:43

Is your Advisor a 'whole of market' Advisor? We had a 'whole of market' advisor and still found a much better deal on the internet.

1) Depends on the provider

2) Can be 6 weeks, but you will need to keep on at your solicitor.

3) Again will depend on supplier. Suggest a look at Martin Lewis website, lots of useful information on getting your utilities at the best rate.

mrsmortis Thu 17-Mar-16 12:19:38

We did it in 6 weeks but we had no chain on either side and no mortgage company involved.

Spickle Thu 17-Mar-16 12:39:00

1. You can add the arrangement fee to the mortgage and possibly the survey if it is also arranged via the mortgage provider. Solicitors/Conveyancing fees are separate so no, you can't add these to the mortgage.

2. Average length of time would be 6-8 weeks for freehold, 10-12 weeks leasehold. You say there is no chain, so I'm assuming you're buying an empty property. If so, is it a probate transaction? If so, has probate been granted? If not, you can't complete until it has been granted. Is it a repossession? If so, transaction could be quicker but you would not get guarantees/paperwork if the institution selling the property knows nothing about the property, and the property will stay on the market to see if any higher offers are received. Is the house empty because the sellers are splitting up? If so, transaction could be lengthy as both owners will have to sign paperwork and one of party may not be keen on selling and could be difficult to negotiate with.

3. As others have said above. Budget around £20 pm each Water and Waste Water, Council Tax £120 pm, Gas £50, Electricity £50. Obviously your usage and the area will mean variations in bills - e.g. if you are out at work all day, then bills may be cheaper. Some people like lots of heat, others wear more clothes and keep the heating on a low setting etc.

jgriffin3 Thu 17-Mar-16 16:05:14

Thank you all for your help, it's been really useful!!

We have found a property that we like with no chain and it is a 3 bed detached 1950's house.

Is their a benefit to choosing a local surveyor as opposed to a national one. Cost being the most important factor to us?

ChubbyPolecat Fri 18-Mar-16 15:30:05

I'm a FTB too but still looking for a property. Everyone has told me you get what you pay for with a conveyancer. I'm going to choose a local solicitor who has an office I can pop into ... my sister had an awful time with hers and the only way she got anything done was by going there in person. Can't do that with someone on the end of the phone!

bilbodog Fri 18-Mar-16 16:48:15

The mortgage company will need to do a basic survey before okaying the mortgage and will instruct a local one - you can have a more thorough one if you want and I would choose a local one who knows the area. I wouldn't recommend a full structural survey as apart from the cost they cover themselves so well that if the house needs a lot if work you would be better off going round with a builder and get electrician to check out the electrics if need be. Good luck!

specialsubject Fri 18-Mar-16 17:42:30

surveyors do need to be local - they will know about local geology and other issues. You still need to go over the place thoroughly yourself. When choosing a solicitor, demand a report that isn't hedged with 'consult a specialist'. With the exception of electrics and gas, they ARE the specialist and that's what you pay them for.

I have the opposite experience from Chubbypolecats sister with solicitors; the high-street ones used by the other sides were lazy, expensive and pig-slow. The online ones (NOT the super-cheap conveyancers) I found were efficient, organised and helpful.

Cressandra Fri 18-Mar-16 20:08:34

I've also heard from all sides that you get what you pay for with conveyancing, but I would question the need to pop in anywhere. We've had a decent one and an amazing one, and never met either of them. We dealt on the phone. Much quicker and a better use of their time/my money. Our least satisfactory solicitor was an 'old school' type we did meet with properly (by appt). But if you have a recommendation, go with it.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Sat 26-Mar-16 17:09:39

Re how quickly can you complete, my FTB daughter had it done and dusted from offer accepted to moving in, in 6 weeks. I was amazed since I'd told her 3 months. She did use the agent's mortgage broker and their in-house solicitor, and I'm sure that helped since it was in their interests to get it wrapped up quickly, too.
Re the mortgage, though, she found exactly the same online, with a considerably cheaper fee than the in-house was offering - when she told him he said he'd match it. So worth a try.

Duncanpatt21 Thu 18-May-17 12:18:49

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EpoxyResin Thu 18-May-17 13:30:06

Don't be afraid to ask sellers what they pay for rates if you get the chance.

"How much does it cost to heat a house like this? What are the water rates like round here? What council tax banding is this?" are all quite understandable first time buyer questions if you ask me, and sellers are all well aware of the benefits of selling to a first time buyer.

specialsubject Thu 18-May-17 14:04:34

Thread bumped by a spammer. Op hopefully moved by now!

EpoxyResin Thu 18-May-17 14:10:59

Ha, I got caught! Stupid spammer.

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