Diary of a First Time Buyer (Part three)
Posted on 18 July 2019
Having recently returned from our holiday (the wedding was fantastic!), we resumed our house research. The saying goes, ‘Once bitten, twice shy’, but we were more careful this time round. We asked many more questions of estate agents and vendors, and looked much closer at the outside of properties for any hidden dangers.
After a number of weeks searching and visiting a wide range of properties, we found a house we really liked! Being only twenty years old, it was much more modern than the last one- and even had a garage and off street parking. To us, it was prefect. After the first one had fallen through, we thought we would never find anything we liked. But here we were, a few weeks later, raring to go again!
Making an offer they can’t refuse (take two)
We looked at what other properties were going for in the area and decided to put in an offer of £3000 below the asking price, and were delighted when the vendors agreed to a price reduction of £2,500. Thankfully, our broker said that he could arrange a mortgage based on the information we had already provided. Having a broker does take a lot of stress out of the process. Once you get the mortgage agreement agreed and sorted, it stays sorted. Job done.
Back to Pardoes
Once again, we instructed Emma from Pardoes Solicitors. She ordered the required number of searches and provided us with a very helpful timeline of the overall process. Of course, another survey was required, but this time we chose – as recommended by our surveyor- to have only an intermediate survey. Our property was newer so wouldn’t necessitate such an in-depth search. Thankfully, the survey came back with no major concerns. However, one recommendation was to have a gas and electrical safety check carried out: it hadn’t been done in over ten years.
Emma was kept busy working with the vendor’s solicitors negotiating the legal aspects, but all the time keeping us informed and updated of the progress being made. It all seemed – fingers crossed - to be relatively smooth sailing. As the time drew closer to the exchange of contracts, Emma advised us that that now would be a good time to arrange house insurance and close down our Help to Buy ISAs as this can take up to 10 working days. She explained that the ISA needed to be formally closed before she could duly inform the government who, in turn, would release the bonus directly to her.
We had a look online at a range of home and content insurance available. Buildings insurance is required by law, but not content insurance. However, it is advisable to have content insurance to cover yourself in case any of your belongings get damaged or stolen.
We decide to go for a premium insurance. Sad to say, we are by nature worriers and wanted to ensure we had the best cover available. There are a number of options out there, it is important to choose what works best for you.
We were also advised to now get our funds together ready to pay the 10% deposit and final fees to Pardoes. We paid our deposit (and wept slightly as our bank balance decreased) and signed the contracts. The last step was the anxious wait for the phone call saying that contacts had been exchanged.
The end is nigh
On the 9th May, Pardoes called to say we had exchanged! Whilst this was great news it did not mean we owned the property just yet. Exchanging and completing on a property were terms that got thrown around but which, as far as I was concerned, needed explaining. Emma informed us that when you exchange on a property it means you are now bound by contract to go ahead with the purchase. You can still back out but with some difficulty – and at a cost, as you are more than likely to lose your deposit. In effect, it would have meant that all those months of saving would have been for nothing. Therefore, be very sure that you want to go ahead with the purchase before exchanging. Completing on a property means that you are now the legal owner of the property and have full responsibility for it.
On the 10th May, Pardoes phoned to say we had completed. We now officially owned our house and could collect the keys from the estate agent! This really was the most amazing feeling and we couldn’t stop grinning (and whooping) all day. Our very own house. Years of renting flats, months of staying with parents. Now, we were on our own. In our own home.
Saying that, it has to be said that the stress that can come from owning a property does make for a tricky time. However, it is nothing compared to the feeling when you step foot into your house for the first time.
My advice, overall? Well, it would be research thoroughly before you make any decision and use professionals you can trust. Enjoy the process and try to remain calm!
Posted in: Buying & Selling Your Home