So as you may or may not know, I’ve just bought myself (with the help of my husband of course) a lovely family home.
At 25 (Dann is 29) we’re pretty pleased with ourselves to have our shit together enough to buy a place that is ours.
I’m not going to lie, it is a pretty scary thing, and we actually feel more like responsible adults in £115,000 of debt than we did when we got married! But it doesn’t need to be a completely daunting experience.
I thought I’d share some of our hints and tip for buying your first home – and share some of the images we had taken by Radian who interviewed me for their blog about our buying experience.
Sign up with help to buy schemes
We signed up to Help to Buy South, and attended one of their open events. Initially we were only looking to buy a new house, or at least the full thing, however we ended up looking into shared ownership. Fortunately Help to Buy gave us lots of information on there scheme.
Look into all types of ownership
As I said, we started looking into shared ownership, and actually found that it could work out great for us. Shared Ownership means you own a percentage of the properties equity, and the housing authority or property builders own the remainder. Sounds a little iffy? Actually you get the same rights as a owner who bought 100% of their property, the only major difference is you need to talk to the other equity owners if you want to do something that will affect the structural integrity of the property, to ensure they are OK with it as well, i.e. knocking down walls.
Going down the shared ownership route has meant that we have been able to buy a three bedroom semi-detached house this year! If we had wanted to buy outright we’d have been saving for another year minimum to get the deposit alone!
So it is well worth it if you want to get your feet on the ladder asap.
Look past the decor on viewing
We really had to visualise our home on our first viewing. It was crammed with stuffed toys in the bedrooms, and the kitchen was reminiscent of an 80’s council house kitchen (I should know, I had one as a kid!) but the bones (or bricks) of the house where what sold it to us. We could visualise how to have the house once it was empty and then filled with our stuff!
Shop around for your solicitor
As we bought shared ownership we were recommended a list of solicitors that have experience in dealing with this type of sale, but we still checked out a number of them before selecting them.
Patience is a virtue
Unfortunately I wasn’t blessed with much patience, but buying our house both stretched it and tested it. Not only was it a shared ownership which of course has the added complication of another equity owner, but it was also a resale, so another family lived there! This meant waiting for a chain, which of course elongated the entire process.
Go into buying your house expecting it to take at least six months from your registering interest, as there is a lot of paperwork and back and forth involved. This way you won’t be disappointed!
Resales can be a huge investment – as long as you have time
Our resale was a little dated in is aesthetics, so we had to invest! We stripped out and bought a new kitchen within three weeks of moving into the house, and actually spent the first three days of owning the house, redecorating the yellow living room into a grey and brown haven.
I’m incredibly thankful that we have and had the time to commit to making the house our own. It is completely different to how it looked when we bought the place, and I’m so proud of the work we have achieved in the last three months.
So that’s my top tips for buying your first home.
Please share your experiences in the comments below!
*photos by Stephane Rocher