We catch up with Anika, a first time buyer, as she continues on her journey to buying her first home.
'It’s all moved quite a bit quicker than I thought it would. I have a mortgage approved in principle so it’s now all about finding the perfect home for me and my dog. I live in a village where I have a few friends and would like to stay there, so I decided to start with a couple of viewings of properties in the village.
'Two viewings arranged. Excited!
As I was walking to my first viewing I realised that I hadn't given this a lot of thought.
'As I was walking to my first viewing I suddenly realised that I hadn’t really given it a lot of thought. I’d been busy at work all week, then had a really busy Saturday morning (you know, playing tennis & walking the dog!) so I wasn’t very well prepared. What should I look out for? What kind of questions should I ask?
'I stopped and had a little think about it so I could at least be asking some knowledgeable and hopefully useful things. Here's what I came up with:
- How long has the property been on the market?
- Many viewings? Any offers?
- How long have they lived there?
- Why are they moving?
- Have they made any structural changes?
- What council tax bracket is it?
- Roughly what are your utility bills like?
- Have they found anywhere?
- What are the neighbours like?
'When I got to the viewing I actually shocked myself by also thinking to ask:
- How old is the boiler?
- When was the last time the exterior was painted (its white)?
- Is there electricity in the garage?
- Is the wall between the kitchen & dining room a supporting wall?
'I have no idea where those questions came from but I now have the answers: the boiler is over 20 years old (!); the exterior hasn't been painted since the current owners moved in (over 20 years); and yes, there is electricity in the garage. I've no idea about the wall, but I learned that other people along the road have knocked through.
'I think if I didn't already live in the area I would have asked questions like what kind of events happen in the village, what the two pubs are like, how much traffic passes through the village, and are there nice places to go walking?
As I'm a first time buyer I decided I should view it again with someone who would know what to look for.
'Anyway, I left with a spring in my step. I liked it. However, as I’m buying on my own and I'm a first time buyer on top of that, I decided I should view it again but with someone who would know what to look out for. I arranged a second viewing with my brother-in-law who is a qualified surveyor and who has bought and sold lots of properties.
'He came and did things that I just wouldn’t have thought to do like looking into the loft, checking the guttering, checking for cracks on the exterior and taking a good look at the roof of the property and the garage. There was also plenty of knocking on walls.
'After the second viewing and the seal of approval from my brother-in-law I knew I was going to make an offer.
'Next time, find out how I got on when I put my offer in.'
First time buyer
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