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Monday, 19 October 2015

Top Tips for House Hunting; The First Steps

'Top Tips for House Hunting' is a new series to BbyB that I've really enjoyed putting together and something very different for my blog. I really want to be able to help those of you out there looking for a home so this series hopefully will help you at each stage of the process. This of course is more tailored to first time buyers like me but you may find it interesting....

House hunting

To note; these are tips / lessons learn from my journey into buying my first home with my partner. I've passed lots of these tips on recently and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so thought I'd jot them down to help others in future. If you have some more please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will add them and say who gave them. The more we can help each other out the better! 

The First Steps... 

££££
So you've decided to take the leap and go out and buy a house. At this stage realistically you should have a pot of money together for a deposit - this can be 5% / 10% etc but really sit and look at your finances before looking for a house. You don't want to start looking at things you can't afford and become disheartened before you've even started! 

Mortgages
I'm not going to go into too much detail on this one as this will completely different for everyone dependent on finances. We went with an independent mortgage advisor that was recommended to us by a family member and he's been really helpful with all our questions and getting us the best deal. Ask family and friends with homes how they went about getting their mortgage and who with as this can be a brilliant resource along with internet of course! 

Before you start searching for you house:

House Hunting

1) Where do you want to live?
Obvious right? Well no not really. This answer will give you a center point to look around but what we found is the area expanded as we found we could get a bigger home if we were willing to travel a little further outside of our center point range. We drove around areas we thought we liked and researched heavily before listing 3 areas that we were willing to house hunt around properly. During this process where we thought we wanted to live changed due to research so this is important! 

2)  Expectations
Be Realistic! Sucks to hear doesn't it?!? I'm a huge dreamer so for me the actual process of house hunting was a huge roller coaster of emotions. In the end I kept reminding myself of what we really could afford and stopped looking beyond our means (everyone does this, even if it's just a little) which in the end stopped any confusion or worry. Think realistically and it will be work out.  

3) Estate Agents 
We are often told by TV shows that we should befriend estate agents to get the heads up on houses coming to market. Let's be clear here estate agents are sales people and in the end care not one iota about you and just want to commission. Yes, register with all of the ones in the areas that interest you and be clear about what you want but never forget what their end goals are. Inevitably they will try and push your limits but keep reiterating what you want and pushing them for options. Keep the lines of communication open, be nice and you will soon see the best agents shine through. 

4) Falling in love with a house
Try to avoid falling in love with a house just from an internet listing. This is easier to do than you think and it can be really disappointing when you get there and see it in person. Constantly think 'it's just a house' as this will keep your mind on the end goal and ensure you get the right home for you. Again there's that realistic thing for you!

5) Time Frames 
Don't expect for this whole process from searching to actually moving in to be short. We spent over 4 months searching which I've been told is very short. I think in that time we saw over 100 properties as we went hardcore on our search but I know people who searched for well over a year (they were under no pressure to leave home at the time) before they even saw a house they liked! Add to this the time it can take for an offer to be accepted, paperwork completed and for the home owner to find somewhere else to live and you really learn what patience is! Again be realistic and don't think you'll be in within a fortnight! 

Finally... The feeling vs reality
We've all heard of the 'feeling' a house can give you on a viewing - get ready for this before you even start viewings!  
You could argue this is your gut talking to you which I would normally say listen to, but on the other hand the 'feeling' can blind you to alot of issues. If your gut tells you it's not the one just leave, you'll never be happy there. But if you feel like 'oh yes this is the one!' take a breath and really analyse the place. You may love it but that leak in the roof may cost you thousands to repair so balance that feeling with guess what... being realistic! 

Once you have really prepared yourself financially and mentally for the actual viewings you find life's alot easier. This is the start of a huge journey so having these stages ready in your mind will make the process seem less stressful and hopefully more enjoyable!!  

Th following stage is onto the viewings! My next post covers all the things we learnt such as do's and don'ts of viewings plus the estate agents secrets that they don't want you to realise!! I really hope this series helps and happy house hunting!! 

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