I am officially a home owner.
I want to preface this post by saying I know I am incredibly fortunate to be able to afford to buy a flat, but I wanted to share what I learnt because it is an absolute minefield and hopefully my tips (I use this term loosely) can help other people who are just starting their property journey. This isn’t going to be a ‘how to find your perfect property’ post because what everyone wants is different plus I already wrote sometime quite similar when I moved into my first rental property.
The first piece of advice and it sounds small and trivial but is invest in a printer if you don’t already own one, and buy one which has the function to scan in as well. You have to print out so much paperwork for mortgage applications, solicitors contracts, estate agent forms the list is literally endless. Whenever you go to a meeting make sure you print everything you think you might need even if you don’t end up using it have it printed just in case, then recycle afterwards.
There will be lot’s of properties that you love and don’t get to buy. The property game is incredibly fast paced and we saw quite a few flats that before we could even consider putting an offer in had been snapped up. Do not believe the photos online or what some estate agents say – we actually loved our estate agent, they were the great, really honest and so helpful. However some of the other big names out there were not as trustworthy to deal with and we turned up to one or two properties that literally looked nothing like the spotless, newly decorated flats we had seen advertised online.
Ask all the questions. As a first time buyer it can get pretty over whelming but don’t feel silly about all the questions you have buzzing about in your head, especially the legal side of stuff. The jargon can get pretty confusing but a quick email or phone call asking for it in laymans terms will help you so much.
You’ll spend a lot of time waiting. I can’t even wait for a bus without getting agitated so the three or so months it took us to buy our new home were exctruicaiting! Just be as organised as possible with your side of things and it will go relatively quickly (but be prepared to wait weeks without hearing anything, unless you phone your solicitor every single day)
Sometimes you’ll have to compromise on things during your search. Not every property you look at is going to tick all of the boxes (I mean if you had an infinite budget then probably you could find one that does). You just have to weigh up the pro’s and con’s; for example we went from having private bins and a designated parking space to having neither of these but instead we have a really central location with great public transport links and an easy commute to our jobs.
This post could go on and on with all the things I learnt but I would love to hear what other tips anyone else might have or useful information and if you’ve got any questions I’ll do my best to answer them.