Tag Archives: Home Buying
Well hasn’t that been an exciting 2 months! I totally forgot to update here with everything that was happening and my brain has been almost totally mushed with all the things I needed to remember and decide about. For anyone who doesn’t follow me on Twitter (or who missed all the excitement!lol) we finally exchanged on our house on the 15th and completed on the 23rd of January.
It all came as a bit of a surprise and a mad rush. We knew almost everything was in place before Christmas, we were just waiting for 1 search to be returned and with how slowly the rest of our purchase had gone (check the dates on my other FTB posts!) we thought it still would take time this year when everything was finally in place and that’s why the surprise! We heard from our solicitors on the 13th suggesting an almost immediate exchange with completion on the 23rd and we jumped at the chance and other than the solicitor phoning to tell us to collect our keys before they were ready, it all went really smoothly for us.
So now we’re doing a long move in, we decided a while ago that we would not give notice on the house we currently live in until we actually had the keys to the new house in our hands. Even with all the penalties you can incur, some things can still go wrong after exchange and we really didn’t want to end up homeless!lol So, after giving notice we ended up with 5/6 weeks where we would have both houses, we decided that some of the older bits of furniture would need replacing and that we’d try to get them delivered before we moved in. This week we got the final delivery dates confirmed (please don’t let them change now!lol) and so have arranged the removals and clearance of this house so in about 2 weeks we will be moving properly in.
It’s been a very long journey for us, mostly because we were very picky over what we wanted and stuck it out when things slowed right down but looking at the parts we have completed so far over there, we both know it’s really been worth it, here, see for yourself, this is most of our dining room and the back of the kitchen
There is also another bit of news, I’ve been spending a day or two each week over at the house unpacking boxes and generally sorting out the bits that we’ve moved across ourselves already. Well, last week when I was over there, I actually went out, on my own! That’s the first time in about 5 years. I didn’t go far, just to the end of the road and back but it’s a start and shows I can do it, I just need to keep reminding myself of that if (when) things get tough again in the future 😀
Since today starts a new year I guess it’s the right time to peek back at all that happened last year and to hope for better things from the year ahead.
Last year started with me being ill, I didn’t realise just how ill I was though and things grew worse and worse to the point I was very seriously ill and could have died without the treatment I received. Luckily all that is behind me now and it’s impossible for it to happen again …. you really can’t grow a gall bladder back right?lol After that we hit a period of exciting moments as we finally decided we had enough of a deposit saved to find a home that would truly be our own and we did find it but delays hit and we ended up in limbo for most of the last half of the year. Fortunately things have started moving again now we have a completed chain and hopefully we’ll be exchanging and completing over the next few weeks.
So in brief, last year started bad and got worse, then it got very exciting followed by limbo but ended on a high!
I guess the main thing from this year is all that’s going to be involved in our house purchase and move but other than that I have a lot of other things to look forward to and plans made for this year. The things to look forward to are a lot of big family birthdays this year so many excuses to get together and catch up with everyone and I think I’m going to be doing Christmas this year as well, I know it’s a huge task but I love cooking for people and in our new house, that kitchen/dining room just cries out to entertain so I’m really looking forward to that! One of the big birthdays is my own, I’m going to be 40 in a couple of months, I don’t feel old and can’t see that changing but it is a great excuse to meet up with friends and have a good giggle, especially as it’s a friend 40th a few weeks later too!
I’ve also been preparing myself for beating my agoraphobia, when we move it’s to a much nicer, quieter area and I believe I can beat this and start going out on my own, I’m sure this can work for me as I did something similar when I moved in with Dave 7 years ago and quit smoking, it was much easier for me that for others I know who have gone through it. I’ve already seen a change in me since I’ve started preparing for it, I feel much more confident and am not so quick to agree with a crowd, instead I found myself speaking my opinions more and more this year even when I knew they would not be popular. Part of me getting better is going to involve me being true to myself and not giving in to the crowd even if that means I might lose friends, I guess if I do, they really were not friends to start with if I’m not allowed to have my own opinion?
The last decision I have made is to do with my comping. For a long while now it’s been quite high up on my list of priorities (needing to get the dailies done EVERYDAY and being up to date with MSE are things I’m sure some/most of you have experienced/can understand) but I’m going to change that. I want to enjoy life more and not have most of my time when Dave’s at work taken up by just one of my hobbies as I’m missing out on time with the others. As I’ve said, after the move I’m determined that I’m going to be going out more and I also want to attack the huge pile of books that are on my ‘to-read’ shelves (far too many for a stack these days). I also want to spend time with the games I have and my crafting, in the new house we’ll have a garden that I can tinker with and I really don’t want to lose any of the friends I have made so I’ll need some time to have a chat with them as often as possible. I figure that unless I give up on sleep, which I’d really rather not do again, I need to make a choice over what I’m prepared to give up and that is the comps. I’m not totally finishing with them, I don’t think I could do that but they’re not going to rule my days like that have done. If I don’t get the dailies done, so what! If I’m pages and pages behind (I am right now as I haven’t done any on mse since the 10th of December) it really doesn’t matter. As long as Dave and I are happy and we have a good life, none of the rest really matters and doing something which causes stress isn’t a good thing and it did stress me towards the end of last year in trying to keep up with everything and realising what I was missing out on.
So that’s my thinking about this year, hopefully it’ll all come together and will make for a fantastic year for us and I wish all my readers an amazing year as well!
So now most of you know we have had an offer accepted on a house, that was the nail-biting bit, waiting to see if they would accept our offer, then dealing with counter offers until we came to an agreement where we were all happy and luckily we managed it. So we’re paying a bit more than we wanted to but it’s not more than we can afford (which is the important bit) and we both really like this house and where it is (more on that once things are further along!lol)
After the agreement was made then came a mini mad rush with sorting out a mortgage and a conveyancer and getting them both all the documents they would need and appointments for them to see us and the house as well as deciding on if we were going to do a survey of the house ourselves as well as the banks valuation.
After looking into it we decided that we really should have one but then we were faced with trying to decide which to have done. We asked family for advice (thank you so much) and from what we heard from them and the surveyors we decided on a homebuyers report. The house we’re hoping to buy isn’t that old really and it’s quite typical so this should be all we need.
So now we’re in limbo, waiting for a mortgage offer, searches to come back, a report from the surveyor and (obviously) the people selling to find somewhere to buy themselves, I guess it’s a good job we’re not in any rush really 🙂
After doing all that research finally getting to look around the houses felt a bit of an anticlimax, especially on some of them! Before we went Dave had done a lot of research online and found what he was supposed to be looking for (traces of damp and odd lumpy walls) but I was more interested in if we would be able to live in the houses.
We have a couple of things here which are very bulky but we had already decided that if we couldn’t fit them into a house then we were prepared to get rid of them which made it easier to find properties to view. If I’d had to fit them both in, the list would have been 1 or 2 houses right from the begining!lol One thing I was concerned about was the kitchens though, it’s probably quite obvious but I love to cook so a small or badly planned kitchen just wouldn’t work for us and so this was the main room I wanted to see in each house!
We did the viewings we have done so far over 2 days, 4 on one and 3 on the other. We said that we’d try to not buy the first house we saw and when we went to see it, it was actually very easy to stick to it. The kitchen, which looked great in the photo’s that the Estate Agent had taken, was actually very tiny and I really don’t think it would hold even half of the gadgets I own let alone give me space to work as well!lol The next one was much better, it was actually very easy to see us living there but that wasn’t surprising really as it was one of the 3 houses we were viewing that was above our budget but this one would be affordable under our extended budget!lol
On to our third house, with this one, it was very nice but the agent who showed us around didn’t seem to know much about it and it was positioned on a very steep hill, all I could imagine the whole time we were there was the number of times I would fall down in the garden (you know how clumsy I am right?lol) and the fourth on this day was another one above budget and it was very nice, it again had everything we were looking for and even had extra rooms that would come in handy somehow and after leaving there we had a lot to take in and process before our last 3 that we had arranged already.
We both had our favourite of those we’d seen and felt pretty much the same way about all 4 but both of our favourites from what we’d seen online were still to come! We started in the one which was Dave’s favourite and this one certainly taught us a lesson. If Estate Agents don’t include a photo of a kitchen, there’s a real good reason for it! This one was tiny, other than the sink unit there was one other base unit with a wall cupboard above but that wasn’t what put me off the most, having the boiler above the cooker did that for me! There was no way we were buying that house, no matter how nice the rest of it was, extending the kitchen out and refitting it would just cost way to much. The next house had a much nicer kitchen but it was still small and I seriously debate the use of the word ‘utility’ to explain the dark store room behind the kitchen!lol
Finally we were off to see my favourite house but this was also the most expensive of them all, it was right at the top of everything we could afford but Dave decided it was worth having a look at anyway. It was lovely, everything we expected it to be from the pictures but …. the Agent really must have used a fish-eye lens on this one, it really wasn’t as big as we were expecting it to be and when compared with the other 2 which were only a little above budget, it didn’t really stand up for itself so we totally ruled that one out.
So this is where we are right now, we’ve viewed some houses, met some Estate Agents and learned a bit more about how they market the houses. Now we just need to find our home and I’ll keep you updated on what happens next 🙂
Once we felt we had enough saved up again this year we did the calculations again but this time we had a few different figures in mind. We knew how much we really wanted to pay due to increases in Stamp Duty due to increased purchase price but we also had in mind a price above that which we were prepared to go to IF we found the right property. Finally there was the all in, every penny we can afford value, well, it was nice looking at that sort of house for a while but realism kicks in and we decided we’d really rather have a nice safety net in case of future interest rate rises, surely they can’t stay this low for much longer, can they?
So with that in mind I set up a couple of searches on Rightmove, I mostly used their Draw-a-Search facility, I drew round the areas we would most like to live in and saved that with an upper price a bit above what we could afford (you never know, they might come down!lol) and I also drew a bigger area including areas we wouldn’t mind but probably wouldn’t be our first choice. After doing the searches up popped lots of different types of houses, with a few clicks you can remove types you are not interested in and save ones you like the look of to investigate further.
We knew that we wanted detached, 3 bedrooms & easy parking for us as well as friends/family who come to visit so as you can see to start with we weren’t very fussy about what we were looking for, the main thing was that I didn’t want Dave to have a big commute into work each day, I’ve done a 2 hour commute myself in the past and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy (well, OK, I might) but I really didn’t want Dave to have to do it!lol
So how did we narrow down the vast array of choices? By looking at the houses that were on offer is how but not just what they look like, really studying them and we were quite surprised by some of the things we found! After knocking off any houses that didn’t fit in with our criteria already we were still faced with many so we started making other choices and knocking houses out that way. First went any without drives, then ones that only had one toilet (well, it’d be nice to have one each!lol) and finally for this bit, out went any houses on or too near main roads/shopping areas. This really narrowed it down a lot for us and by now we had around 30 houses to have a look at but this still felt too many so we decided to investigate some more!
The first thing I did was to look at each house on Google maps and Streetview, this helped me rule a few out due to their location on the road they were in and one due to the huge lorry thundering past just as the streetview camera was!lol My next port of call was the Office for National Statistics, Neighbourhood Statistics page, just by entering the postcodes of each house we could look up general information about the area but there wasn’t anything too scary in any of the areas we looked at so that didn’t narrow it down any for us. Finally after the last few years we decided to look at the Environment Agency’s Flood risk maps and we did decide that we wouldn’t go for a house on a flood plain. We’ve seen the devastation that flooding causes on the news and would hate to go through that ourselves and this did actually knock quite a few houses from our lists.
The last method we used to get our list of houses to view was to drive by them a couple of times. Just to get a feel for the areas and how people live in them at different times of the day. I was surprised by a couple of them as they turned out the roads were a bit of a ‘rat run’ even though it didn’t look like it from the maps, sometimes you can’t rely on google I guess!lol So now we had a shortlist of around 10 houses, next we had to actually view some!