This is a Premium feature
First time buyer - any tips?(15 Posts)
We've just got our mortgage agreement in principal (wooooooo) after a very long period of renting.
Am starting to look at properties now although nothing is really grabbing my attention.
Do we look at houses even if we're not in love with pictures online?
Do you always offer less than what its up for?
Do we make a list of must haves?
I guess I'm just looking for advice as we've never done this before!
Make a list of nice to haves, but be a bit flexible. My house had a couple of what I thought were ‘must haves’ missing, but I fell in love with it and those things don’t matter anymore
Offering less depends on the local market - if you find a property you like, check zoopla for similar houses in the houses. You can find out the selling prices and dates and that can give you an idea of where you should be offering.
I would view a property if it ticked my boxes, even if the pictures were a bit naff. It’s very hard to get a proper feel for a home from the online photos - you might see your dream house and hate it in person, or you might view a meh property and fall in love!
I would personally always pick a house I’m not in love with if it’s in an amazing location (over the perfect house in a bad one).
In this market I suggest you ask the estate agent showing you around for what (if any) offers have been made on a property (or if the owners are willing to accept a certain price range). Many will tell you (particularly if you call them directly to book all your viewings and build a relationship) because it’s in their interest to sell rather than quibble over 10-20k.
I also suggest arranging one weekend viewing so you can see what the area is like if possible. I fell in love with a house only to find that the street leading into it was crammed on the weekends because four of the neighbours were elderly couples whose entire family visited together. We couldn’t even get into the street to park in the drive! Ditto with nights / evenings.
Don't be put off/fall in love with the decor.
If viewing a cluttered property then look at the ceilings (got that one off location location location).
Visit at several times of the day to see what traffic is like.
Use a mortgage advisor, an independent one. They take their fees from the company you choose to go with and ours was fantastic, held the deal together to be honest.
Identify the solicitor you will use through personal recommendations.
Make your offer over the phone and follow up with an email confirming it, attach your mortgage in principle and advise you have already selected mortgage advisor and solicitor (and identify them) Reassures the vendor you are serious and not a time waster.
Decide now whether you are happy to do work or not. We knew we would want to put our own stamp on whatever we bought and we discounted houses (after viewing) that were decorated to a high standard (including kitchens and bathrooms) as you will be paying a premium for stuff you will be ripping out.
DS is just buying his first house. The mortgage broker was worth his weight in gold even though he wouldn't have had trouble getting a mortgage. The broker is a local independent who knows the property business inside out a d has given all kinds of useful advice.
The first house he viewed be fell in love with There were viewings booked for the full week after it went on the market. An earlier one had sold within 2 days of going on the market and he didn't even get to view it so he decided to offer full price as it was well within budget.
It's a perfect house, location average but not bad.
Ideally I think it's better to view lots of places even if you don't love them to build up a picture.
In the six weeks since his offer was accepted asking prices in the area have gone up dramatically.
Don't fall in love with a property. What happens is you view somewhere, it's perfect. You imagine yourself living there, cosy evenings, christmas, kids playing happily in the garden etc etc. Then, the sale goes wrong for some reason and your dream property is just that - an unfulfilled dream. The disappointment is terrible and heartbreaking. Don't mentally move in somewhere until you have exchanged, be business like about the transaction. Really, the only time you should be squealing with anticipation is when you have the keys to your new house in your hand.
I would think carefully and decide on the location you like and stick to it, sometimes compromising (like we did) doesn't work. However nice the property is in the inside if it's in the wrong location you'll struggle to settle.
Whilst location is key, so is floorplan, both in term so layout and size. Make a decision on what it too 'small' for you and don't bother viewing those.
When I made the decision to purchase a 1 bed flat, I know I wouldn't consider anything below 50sqm, even though there are a surplus of these sized flats in London.
What do people mean about location and why is it more important than what's inside? There are lots of factors to location - neighborhood, travel to work, school if you have children. As someone who hasn't moved for 30 years I'm curious.
I wish I’d driven by at different times of the day to see where the sun was.
Turns out all the neighbours sunbathe outside their front doors as the sun is round the front with the back garden and rooms on that side in almost total shade come 3pm. So the back garden ain’t much use!
Half naked neighbours exposing waaay too much burnt flesh of an afternoon is not a pretty sight!
Location is important because it's something you can't change. You can usually tart a house up or make it what you want, but if it's adjacent to a motorway, it will always be adjacent to a motorway, and therefore blighted.
I bought a house across the road from a pub years ago. I loved that house, but the quiet sedate pub was taken over, expanded and became a dive with underage drinkers and drugs. The angst it caused us poor sods living opposite was terrible. I would never buy near a pub again (and a lot of other things like busy roads, large shops, factories etc).
I always look at the floor plan as that's actually what you're buying - current owner will take all their stuff so doesn't matter if you find it naff.
I find Zoopla to be terribly inaccurate as it doesn't tend to account for where updates have been made to a property. Use rightmove sold prices instead.
In my experience you know when the house is right - not necessarily because it's perfect but just a feeling.
As pp said avoid things like motorways and pubs, basically anything that may make the property hard to sell on even if you can live with those things.
Yes always look at houses you don't love online but might work. You'll be amazed at what online doesn't show you. I didn't like the look of our current home online and it clearly needed work but wow fell in love and mid renovation now! A house just needs to be livable and if you plan on being there for a few years you don't have to change it all at the same time.
We look at the floor plan more than photos, we want the potential to have a big kitchen/dining area so looking at floor plans and seeing if that would be possible is more important to us than how nicely done the house actually is
Location is the number 1 most important thing, undoubtedly! Some people become blinded by getting a lovely 4 bed detached house for 200k in one area, compared to a very average 3 bed semi in another area for 220k. There's a reason the smaller, not as nice house is worth more. Research into your chosen location then research again.