So i’m gonna tell you about one of the biggest hassles i’ve had this year. Buying a house!
Lots of us grow expecting that one day will do the whole buying a house thing at some point. But to be honest I don’t think any time during my school or university was I really explained to how the process worked. I had a bit of an understanding about what a mortgage was and knew you borrowed it from the bank but that was pretty much it to be honest. After spending the past four years moving annually and living in a delightful collection of very small overly expensive beige flats (why is it always beige) myself and my partner decided to buy our first house in January.
So what’s a mortgage?
So began a fun time of trying to work out exactly what our budget for a mortgage was. Typically banks will lend you about three times your salary so we went round a few different banks try and work out what kind of budget we could be having. Once we have the main idea we got our mortgage in principle done and then we began to look at houses. A mortgage in principle is basically a non-obligation statement from the bank about how much they would offer you maximum for your mortgage depending on your salary. Now we had an idea of our budget was we were going to look properly.
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by houses- there are so many and each with their own pros and cons. We started off by having a good look on Rightmove.com which was really helpful to get an idea of what was in our area. Very quickly we learned the St Albans is one of the most expensive places to live in the world apart from London and so decided we would not be living here!
The Search Begins
Once we found somewhere more affordable we went in to look at local estate agent to see what they had on offer. I was warned that estate agents could be pushy and they really were – they kept trying to get us to increase our maximum budget (cheers guys) and kept suggesting flats rather than houses. However a strong desire for cats (meow) in the next year meant that we were definitely going to be looking at a house. You have to learn to really hold your own. I, being a horribly organised person had drawn up an excel sheet in which I could store all the different house details the pros and the cons and very importantly if they had a bath (important!)
Now I’m going to tell you a sad story. So my partner and I really liked this house, it came with a garage and was a great location. We made an offer on it and it was accepted and we went through the whole mortgage application process which I talk about in a minute all fine and got a signed mortgage for this house we then began to go through the solicitor work and got right to the point when we signed contracts and were apparently only a few weeks away from having a moving date.
Then we found out that the house had something which is called a flying freehold this basically means the part of the house was over the top of a property which we did not own. In this case our house was built on top of two garages one came with the house and the other one belong to somebody else. When our chosen bank went to do the valuation of the house they deem this a massive security risk and promptly refused a mortgage on that property.
So we had to start over. Joy. During this time my flat tenancy ended and without the help of two wonderful friends of mine I would have been homeless for a month!
At least we were a bit smarter now and so when we found a 3 bed with extra converted attic in Luton for a decent amount but it was over our original mortgage- argh! So we had to apply for that all over again and make a new offer on the house. Thankfully this was accepted and we were now back with the solicitors to arrange buying. This involved a heck of a lot of waiting around (chase solicitors for everything- we got delayed 6 weeks!!) and we had to pay stamp duty (now scraped for first time buyers- lucky gits), a 10% deposit for the house and solicitors admin fees. Skint Life
In the end we finally got our house in July after having started looking in January- PHEW
Getting the keys and the paperwork and moving into a place that was actually ours was amazing and making it out home since has been knackering but awesome (wait til you see my space attic 😉 )
Good luck to all you first time buyers out there- keep at it 🙂