We've been following the journey of Anika, a first time buyer. In the third of our series, Anika has found a property to buy and is ready to make an offer.
'I live in a small village and know the people whose house I’m interested in buying. They are friends of friends of mine so it made the process of making an offer slightly more delicate. The last thing I wanted to do was offend them by making too low an offer, but equally I didn't want to go in too high simply out of politeness. I was very grateful that there was a lovely Estate Agent in between me and the sellers.
I was repeatedly told that being a first time buyer makes me an attractive buyer because I have no chain.
'I discussed with a few friends the kind of offer I was thinking and also did some research online to see what houses for sale on the road had recently sold for. Sites like Zoopla are really good for this. I also read up on some of the essentials on how to make an offer.
'I was repeatedly told that being a first time buyer makes me an attractive buyer because I have no chain, meaning (hopefully) a quick and simple sale. With that in mind I made the call and put in the offer to the Estate Agent. I tried to get a sense from her whether she thought they’d go for it but she remained very professional and gave nothing away.
'The offer was in and now it was a question of waiting for some feedback.
‘Your offer has been accepted’ said the Estate Agent 'You’ll need to appoint a conveyancer' she added.
'A what?' I thought.
Just what exactly is coneyancing?
'I've always known that you need to appoint a solicitor to carry out searches and handle the transfer of monies & legal transfer of property ownership. What I didn’t really appreciate was that they gave it a fancy name.
'But in all seriousness, getting a good conveyancer is really important as you are relying on them to sort out all the necessary checks, get the paperwork together, dot every I and cross every T.
'Conveyancer appointed, I just needed my lender to send a valuer to check that the property is worth what I’m paying before they finalise lending me the money.'
'My lender came back saying the property was worth what I was paying, but I needed a specialist inspection on the cavity wall ties to confirm that they didn’t need replacing.
'Of course, I had no idea what a cavity wall tie was so immediately turned to Google. I am now quite the expert in understanding what kind of cracks and pattern of cracks to look for.
'After more research and conversations with friends I found a company who came to do a specialist survey on the house. As he approached the house with a big drill I started to panic a bit but it was actually quite interesting. I asked him a lot of questions as he drilled a small hole into the property and inserted a camera to check these cavity wall ties. They were fine. Phew!'
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!
'I’ve signed a lot of forms over the last few weeks – building insurance, home insurance, critical illness, life insurance, mortgage forms etc. Thankfully my financial advisor helped me take care of everything. As a first time buyer I am so glad that I sought help from a financial advisor. I really do not think I could have done this without his help. I wouldn’t have known where to start so I cannot recommend strongly enough booking an initial appointment with an advisor.'
Moving at a great pace!
'Once the specialist survey report was in, everything really started to gain momentum. We had me, a first time buyer, at the start of the chain and then an empty property at the end of the chain. That meant only me and two chainees!
'On Friday I transferred my deposit to my solicitor and on the same day my lenders monies were in, so exchange and completion was set for Monday.'
'As of about 2 hours ago, I’m finally on that property ladder. I'll be picking up the keys to my new home after work.
'I saw a figure in the news today, that renters are likely to have spent an average of £64,000 on rent before they get on the property ladder. I think with 20 years of renting (most of them in London) I will have exceeded that by some margin. But there's no point in looking back, its all about looking forward to my new home now...and DIY.'
Anika's five top tips for first time buyers
- Book an appointment. Honestly, just do it. I buried my head in the sand for so long assuming I’d never get a mortgage. But, having had my initial appointment in January, I’m now picking up the keys to MY house, just 3 months later. At least at the end of the appointment you’ll know what you need to do or not do to put you in the best possible position.
- Don’t take out any pay day loans. I had but about 7 years ago (while I was on holiday!) so it didn’t show on my credit history. But I didn’t know that for some lenders that is just a big no-no.
- Understand your credit history. Take advantage of the Experian 30 day free trial to get your credit report. It will help you improve and manage your credit.
- Create a file. Keep everything related to the purchase of you property in one place. My financial advisor gave me a very handy folder to keep everything in so all documents relating to the property are in one place. Perfect for when I decide to become a first time seller.
- Enjoy it! I don’t think many purchases go 100% smoothly so expect some bumps along the way but tackle them the best you can and don’t lose faith.
So this is the last of my first time buyer blogs and I’m looking forward to moving in to my new house over the next few days. Might have to start writing a blog on discovering DIY, home improvements & gardening next.
First time buyer
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