Tell me your housebuying pro-tips

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  • Tell me your housebuying pro-tips
  • IA
    Member

    Anything really! Hoping to buy my first this year, so after any and all advice.

    Both with what makes a good house* to affordability, costs, tips etc.

    *bike space and mancave, obviously.

    Pieface
    Member

    Be prepared to walk away.

    Have at least 2 good lookarounds.

    Visit the area at different times of day.

    Most stuff can be changed relatively easily, location can’t, neighbours and floorplans maybe.

    scruff9252
    Member

    View lots of properties within your price bracket and all different types. We were looking at around 3 or 4 houses a week in the final 9 months of saving.

    Will help refine your priorities when it comes to buying. Some of my “Musts” soon became “nice to haves” and left field criteria became “musts”

    jekkyl
    Member

    Look at houses in areas you wouldn’t at first consider. If it’s just you or as a couple, better to have a smaller detached than a bigger semi with neighbours I think.

    towzer
    Member

    Get insrance quotes before buying
    Get someone who can access flood and susidence databases ;+)
    View it at rush hours and pub out time
    is it next to a busy rat run (car or foot)
    Visit lots – note comment above about neighbours
    Does it align with your parking reqts ?

    A mortage survey is less use than a chocolate teapot, chat up a builder/appropriately skilled hands on working person
    Difficult one this but your parents will (very, very, very) probably know more than you.

    my biggest tip by far – you can get about £400 quid a month tax free via rent a room (and there are plenty of Mon-Fri lodgers) so I would suggest you look at a house that might support such an option.

    twinw4ll
    Member

    Detached, as far away from neighbours as possible.
    Don’t buy anything with a shared driveway.
    Pay down the mortgage as fast as possible.
    When we bought our first house i asked what the payments would be if interest rates went up to 15%, they thought i was mad at the building society, said it would never happen, the rest is history.

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    View lots of properties within your price bracket and all different types

    [quote]Look at houses in areas you wouldn’t at first consider[/quote]+1

    Look at lots of houses above and below your price bracket and in areas you wouldn’t want to live in. That way you have a broad spread. You should be able to say ‘This house would be perfect if it was in X’ or ‘This house would be perfect if it had an extra bedroom’ or ‘This house would be perfect if it was £50k cheaper’. That way when the perfect house does come along you know straight away because the good ones go fast.

    iffoverload
    Member

    +1 for a buider type person survey, most places will need roofing,plumbing and electrical work, and the insulation upgraded.

    sit down in each room for a while and try to see all the bad things now not later.

    IA
    Member

    Some good tips coming in (as expected) thanks all. Me plus partner, fairly flexible on area/size/etc. (in brizzle if anyone has particular local tips to offer).

    Interesting to see comments on detached places, I’d never particularly considered them as I’ve always lived in terraces/flats. Maybe always been lucky with neighbours tho*?

    *if I’m always lucky, does that make me the bad one? 😉

    clubber
    Member

    What’s your budget in Bristol? Clifton or Hartcliffe? 🙂

    Mary Hinge
    Member

    Don’t buy on a flood plain!

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    If you want a garage, get a garage. A “big shed” doesn’t cut the mustard and you’ll regret it. 😥

    Premier Icon Speshpaul
    Subscriber

    try and think ahead.
    can you park 2 or 3 cars,
    bedrooms, i never had plans on having kids, now have two teenagers, the house is starting to look small as they get bigger. there could be another 2 cars to park in a few years.
    I know its your first house but life can change very quickly.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Be prepared to walk away.

    Have at least 2 good lookarounds.

    Visit the area at different times of day.

    Consider things you would not at first.
    ^this.
    Plus be uber prepared – mortgage in place, deposit ready, paperwork done, solicitor lined up. And make sure vendors and estate agents know you are serious and prepared. Don’t muck people around. If you want it, buy it asap.

    (We are currently playing ‘who caves first’ on a house here – vendor wants more money, we wont up offer. They have new house being 0built and huuuuge deposit on the line. We have 6 months to find a house.

    IA
    Member

    Clifton or Hartcliffe?

    More column B than column A 😉

    If you want a garage, get a garage. A “big shed” doesn’t cut the mustard and you’ll regret it.

    Do I detect a tinge of regret? I must say, last place I lived in had a garage and I miss it, I actually have to tidy up the bike clobber now!

    Plus be uber prepared – mortgage in place, deposit ready, paperwork done, solicitor lined up.

    Trying to get this all done, any things to do/might have not thought of welcome! There seems to be a lot of faffing about to be done.

    Premier Icon edhornby
    Subscriber

    if you have to choose location vs house, choose location

    what Matt said about preparation is key, because you are no chain you’re in a strong position, make it work for you

    you can get a basic valuation done for the mortgage company and go onto the open market for a homebuyer or full structual, this saves money

    environment agency flood risk maps are online, go look at them now and rule out any house that is in a shaded area

    stand on the other side of the road to see the roof properly – if you are serious about buying, go into the loft and smell it, if it’s mucky or damp then be aware

    Premier Icon ononeorange
    Subscriber

    Towzer – rental income is taxable.

    johndoh
    Member

    Don’t buy the best and most expensive house on the street – buy one you can spend time and money on increasing its value.

    Try to think ahead – if you are planning on starting a family in 5 years don’t go for a house without lots of storage or a secure garden.

    Pieface
    Member

    A good solicitor is worth their weight in gold. Its not worth scrimping a few hundred on one, but probably not worth £500+ difference.

    If your solicitor cannot answer all of your up-front questions in whatever format you like (phone, email letter)in plain English and won’t make time for you, then they probably won’t later on in the process.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=175653

    ononeorange – Member

    Towzer – rental income is taxable.

    towzer – Member

    https://www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home/the-rent-a-room-scheme

    1 minute for the defence including a link. Impressive

    IA
    Member

    A good solicitor…

    Best way to find/choose one anyone?

    Pieface
    Member

    Local recommendations, especially of friends / colleagues. You should notice the same names cropping up.

    In this city there is a big firm that repeatedly get recommended and they have a policy where you pay no fee’s are payable if the sale doesn’t complete except for disbursements (searches etc, normally about £250.

    Draw up a short-list of solicitors and if you’ve got any specific questions for them or expectations approach them all with said questionnaire asking for a quote. If they don’t respond quickly and comprehensively then steer clear.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Pah.

    We looked at one house, once, and bought it. Job done. It’s lovely.

    Too many friends are spending months looking at houses, only to find they’re being priced out of houses they looked at at first. Particularly if you’re looking around a stamp duty threshold, a £10k increase from £250 to £260k means you need £5k more upfront.

    johndoh
    Member

    but not many people pay £260k for a house.

    clubber
    Member

    Average house prices last year:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/uk_house_prices/html/houses.stm

    £242k

    That suggests to me that a lot of people pay £260k for a house.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    but not many people pay £260k for a house.

    Gonna depend where you live, but you get roughly sod all round here if you don’t spend something in that ballpark!

    trail_rat
    Member

    look forward – think what you will need in 5/10/15 years. and buy accordingly – im not saying buy the house you think you might need in 15 years time but if you buy now a house that has room to extend it could save you a heap of time and upheaval in the future.

    stamp duty/solicitors fees/surveys + redecorating each move is generally unless you pick exceptional houses each time that just keep increasing.- lost money

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    I was fortunate in being able to tap on some extra cash when I first bought a flat, but my uncle (& solicitor) advised getting a flat one bedroom more – so was able to let out to mates for first few years, which was handy. Stood in good stead.
    He also advised against endowment mortgage, wise man (now dead sadly).

    When we, married but no kids, looked for house, must have tramped all over Edinburgh for a spring and summer, ruled out many places (too many?) – but settled on somewhere nice – not best house, or access road, but was good. You get used to seeing same folk looking at same houses too – became a bit of a running joke really.

    Be sure to agree on what is compromise and what is fixed — is it type of heating, or views, or quietness?? garage? garden?

    Oh, and £260k will get you a shed-load of house round here 🙂

    Accept that you’re going to have to have a survey done and that it’s money down the toilet. To find out what condition a house is actually in, take an impartial tradesperson with you to have a good look around.

    You really don’t know what you’re looking for until you’ve been moved in 3 months and the attic floor suddenly gives way…

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    when you have found ‘the house’ that you want to buy, try to get a phone number for the vendor direct. the estate agent won’t like you doing this, but there is nothing legal to stop you having it. if you have a viewing where the owner shows you around, ask them then.

    we found having this on our first purchase was the thing that made the deal go through. <tautology alert> the estate agents were self serving bastards </ta> who lied to everyone at lots of stages – even about stupid things where the truth was actually better than the lie! – having a number meant we could straighten things out and get things moving again.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Be aware of the nutters!

    As I said above, we are offering on a house at the moment.

    There have been three other offers, all above asking price, but have fallen through as buyers have been put off by the need for some work (it is blindingly obvious it needs work…) or they did not have a mortgage in place.

    In addition, vendor is moving to new build and put down a £000’s non refundable deposit.

    An excellent source* has informed us that they only need asking price to get their new home, but that mrs_vendor has been told by mate to expect minimum 10% above asking…. 🙄

    We are offering asking price, with mortgage in principle on that property. We have a flexible, 3-month time frame to complete, in case new build is late, but would exchange within a couple of weeks. We know the work that needs doing, and are not put off by it at all.

    Will the vendor think “ooh, a buyer, who is offering asking price and is serious, maybe I should accept?” nooooo, they get the (apologetic) agent to call up for the 5th or so time to ask “would we bid more?”.

    I am sooo tempted to offer £1k less per day they faff… 😉

    gribble
    Member

    Above advice on location is spot on. You can’t move it, so make sure you are happy with the local (list in no order and not exhaustive) pubs, Iceland/Waitrose, noise at night, crime rates, schools, views, parking, neighbours, flood risk etc. good tip on visiting the area at night, in rush hour etc.

    From experience, do not avoid getting a structural survey. We had one completed on a house that was less than 10 years old. Discovered major issues, we pulled out. Cost us £1k, but that is peanuts compared to repairing a home with major structural repair issues.

    Speak to lots of agents and register. It is admittedly a pain when they ring up and introduce themselves by first name only, (like they are you best mate and your only search agent), which gets confusing once you have spoken to a few. The plus side is they know the market, can get new to the market stuff over to you before it is on Zoopla etc.

    Watch Kirsty Allsop on tele (not for anything in particular apart from her lovely posh curves)! 😉

    jekkyl
    Member

    Make its within 30mins cycling of some decent offroad riding.

    johndoh
    Member

    £242k

    That suggests to me that a lot of people pay £260k for a house.

    POSTED 37 MINUTES AGO # REPORT-POST
    njee20 – Member
    but not many people pay £260k for a house.
    Gonna depend where you live, but you get roughly sod all round here if you don’t spend something in that ballpark!

    The point being, as it will cost the buyer considerably more in stamp duty, a great many will only offer £249,999.99 so it doesn’t cost them another £5k.

    That suggests to me that a lot of people pay £260k for a house.

    Not sure how you come to that conclusion.

    BTW – we sold our last house for £269,000 so I am not saying it doesn’t happen, but we were in a bidding war and they simply *had* to break the £250k barrier.

    trail_rat
    Member

    going by whats on the market round here

    ready to move into 3 bed semi with drive way will set you back 250minimum.

    new house – 270/280

    unless its on a flood plain – where youll get about 15k off.

    and currently its rising by the day :s

    Living in the south east its quite amusing that people baulk at £260K for a house. Sounds like a bit of a bargain…

    trail_rat
    Member

    its all relitive really though.

    where i come from – id have baulked at what i paid for what i have.

    but i also couldnt earn a fraction of what i do where i come from.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    The point being, as it will cost the buyer considerably more in stamp duty, a great many will only offer £249,999.99 so it doesn’t cost them another £5k.

    Actually it’s still 1% at £250,000.00 weirdly, it’s 3% at 1p more.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    Take your bike and ride around your chosen area. Find your favourite street or village you’d like to live in. The ones for sale will have signs outside, buy one of them. The worst house in the best street if you want a project.

    Insulation, insulation, insulation. Energy will never be cheap again.
    Council tax wasn’t cheap for long, either. Check prices in advance, there are anomalies due to gentrification and areas descending in popularity since it was introduced.

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