6 June 2019
There are plenty of things you can prepare ahead of time when house-hunting – the ‘dream house’ Pinterest board, the exact shade of blue you’ll paint your gorgeous front door.
And then there are the things you can’t predict, be it a difficult vendor calling the whole sale off or a contract taking months to draw up. The setbacks that make you want to end it all now.
House-hunting can be a long process, so we asked some people who’ve recently made it out the other side to share their insights.
Here are the things they say they wish they’d known before starting out…
“Land registration issues delayed our sale by six months and the whole thing nearly fell through. We were pulling our hair out and ready to forget about moving house altogether. Thankfully we stuck it out and we finally got the keys just over a year ago.”
“When I was viewing a home and liked it, I showed it. Like, really showed it. In one case I offered the full asking price and the agent came back to say someone else had just made a higher offer – but looking back I honestly don’t believe that was true. After that I started to research how estate agents pitch and picked up on a couple of things. I learnt to use my poker face more!”
It’s a fine line between ‘needs a bit of work, it will be grand’ and ‘as soon as you lift a floorboard an entire wall collapses’. Have some professional expertise on call if you have your heart set on a ‘fixer-upper’.
See if there is a possibility of getting into your house before you get the keys. Neighbours of ours had their shed and some concrete slabs put in before they moved in and it looked great. It gives you a head start.
“Our bank manager was actually more helpful than our estate agent. We were in touch with her a good bit, especially when it came to signing stuff closer to the end of the buying process. She really put our minds at ease!”
Our house was ready for us to walk into, we didn’t have to do any structural work. But we hadn’t factored in just how much it was going to cost to get it looking like *our* place. All of the extras like wall painting and picture framing ended up costing a few grand.
“Even house viewings can take a long time, so factor that in. We would find places online that we wanted to view right away, but we’d have to wait for the open viewing, two weeks away, usually on a Saturday morning at 11am.”
“A lot of people I know work in the arts, like me, and think that their job is too unstable for them to be eligible for a mortgage. I now know that’s not true. Often it’s about how reliable you are at paying things off, not just how much money you currently have. If you’ve been paying rent reliably for years, that can help a lot”.
“I have friends who say they prefer the freedom of renting, but I found I got more freedom by owning my own place. I was even able to move to another country recently, with small short-term lets first, then ultimately letting out the whole place. And when I move home I’ll be able to refurb the place and settle back in.”
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