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I can’t believe we’re actually going to be buying a house. Aside from it being a total adulting thing, it’s a hell of a lot of money to owe and it’s a big commitment. Although we’re still in the buying process, I thought I would share with you the things I’ve learnt so far from the process. Some are probably pretty obvious but there’s a lot of stuff that I’ve learnt through mine and Sam’s experience as first time buyers that might be useful to you guys.
Make a list of needs
I wish me and Sam had written down more lists. I already had an idea of what I was looking for in my head but as this is a joint venture, having a list of both of your needs is important. This means you don’t waste each others time looking at properties that won’t suit both of your requirements.
Research your areas of interest
London is big and as we’ve always been in South East London, we’ve not explored other areas in regards to living there. Wherever, you’re based and wherever you are looking whether that’s in the same town or elsewhere, do your research.
Visit the area both in the day and at night time to get the vibe of what it would be like to live in the area. We had a few places in mind and you’ll soon realise what works for you and what doesn’t.
Trust your gut
This can relate to a lot of the process. Trusting your gut and your instinct is the most important piece of advice. If something doesn’t feel right then it’s probably because it isn’t. We were meant to see a place when all of a sudden the estate agent told us there had been a leak. This may happen with new builds (which is what we were searching for) but it was how the estate agent handled the problem that made us cut ties with them.
We’d arrived at 8.15am before work and had made an hour’s long journey. After being told about the leak, the estate agent didn’t even make the effort to come and see us. You are spending a lot of your hard earned money on a property so if someone doesn’t appreciate that – cut the cord.
Get a Mortgage Advisor
We were walking in blind before we met up with a mortgage advisor. Our friends recommended one and it wasn’t until we met him that we understood a lot more of the process and got a better deal down the line.
A mortgage advisor can be based in a bank, an estate agent or can also be independent and looking back, I’m so glad we had set up a meeting with him. He got us the best deals with mortgages in terms of our financial situation, gave us the best advice of what to look for in a property and has made the whole process a lot smoother.
Approach different lenders
Our first appointment in regards to a mortgage was with one bank who left us feeling like the chances of buying a property were impossible. We then went to another who gave us what we wanted and we were so chuffed. Only then, when we went to our mortgage advisor, he had access to over 2,000 lenders and got us the best rate for our situation. Whether you do it alone or with an advisor, there are so many lenders out there when borrowing money, so don’t be afraid to shop around.
At the end of the day, you’re tying yourself into a mortgage, so it’s important that you pick the right one.
Communication is important
Clear communication between all parties is important so make the effort to make sure everyone involved in the process is kept up to date whether that’s your mortgage advisor, the estate agents or your solicitors. It’s very important that everyone’s on the same page and although you’ll feel like the middle man, running around like a headless chicken, it will all pay off in the end.
You’ll drown in paperwork during the process and even though it may seem like a hard slog – bordering on impossible – read and question everything. We’re fortunate to have two sets of eyes on this so we can both pick up things one of us might have missed. If you’re doing this on your own, have a close friend or family member read through it as well just for a fresh pair of eyes.
We’re still in the buying process so this isn’t an exhaustive list. I’ll be sure to update you when it happens. Have you bought a house recently? Let me know your tips in the comments below.
*Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post with Zippa Loans. All words are my own.