So as many of you will know Pudding HQ is on the move! After several weeks of umming and ahhing, walking round houses and panicking that we would eventually be homeless it now looks like we are sorted. I have to say though it’s not an easy thing to organise a house move. Hardly surprising that they say this is one of the most stressful things you can do.
It really is a mine field of conflicting and biased advice out there so I have cobbled together a quick guide. I am by no means a property guru, mortgage advisor or solicitors. But here are a few things that I think made the process easier:
Busy Mum’s Guide To Buying a New House
- Mortgages & Agreements in Principle – A lot of places won’t let you start viewing properties until you can prove that you are financially viable. Which I can kind of understand. Viewings are time-consuming, not to mention having to keep the damn place tidy so people can look round. You want to know that people coming through the door are serious prospects. Most of the high street banks will now give you an Agreement in Principle. This is great if your finances are straightforward, but if you have a few debts etc I would recommend speaking to someone on the telephone. We found we could actually have quite a lot more mortgage when we spoke to a human! Finally be wary of estate agents and their recommended mortgage advisor, they get a big chunk of throwback commission for introducing new clients….
- Appointing Agents to Sell Your Place – You must have all seen the recent influx of online estate agents offering to sell your house at a fixed fee. I would definitely recommend getting a quote from one of these agents and possibly a local one so you can compare the prices. Be warned that most agents will tie you in to a few weeks where they will be the sole agent. Don’t forget that all prices quoted are liable to VAT. Make sure you know the exact costs from the outset and the tie-in length. The other thing to consider is that home buying is changing. High street estate agents are quickly being replaced by online sites such as Rightmove & Zoopla. If you are spending all your time looking for properties on these sites what do you think everyone else is doing?? Make sure which ever agent you use is posting your property on these sites.
- A Picture Tells A Thousand Words – You know the kind of houses that draw you in. Wide spaces, lots of light beautiful pictures where you cut and paste your family in your mind’s eye. So you want your pictures to be taken like that for the home your selling. Make sure that your agent is showing off your property with amazing pictures. But likewise when you are searching for a house remember that some agents will enhance pictures or use professional photographers and some won’t. An internet picture does not necessarily tell you everything. If you like the area and the floor plan, go see the house!
- Sealed Bids…. – A lot of estate agents are employing this tactic at the moment. Asking you to provide your best and final offer. This can cause you to over-pay on the value of the house as it creates a feeding frenzy mentality. Not so bad if this happens on the house you are selling but pretty awful if it happens on the house you are buying. Remember that if you offer way over the asking price that your lender will complete a valuation survey. If the valuation is much less than what you have offered you will need to find the difference or attempt to negotiate with the seller.
- Go With Your Gut – House buying is a huge deal, so don’t end up buying a house you don’t really like. If there are things you don’t like, or are niggling away at you then stop and think for a minute. Somethings like hideous decor are fixable. Being 2 buses away from the nearest primary school, that has an inadequate Ofsted rating you are going to have to live with. Make sure you know what is important to you, make a list of things that can be compromised and things that are fundamentals. Moving is expensive you don’t wanna have to do it again in a few years!
- Instruct a Solicitor – buying and selling houses requires you to have a conveyancer, unless you are an amazing legal brain yourself. There are quite a few online companies for this now, but just be sure to read their reviews and take into consideration having to print, sign, scan and upload all your documents. Personally I quite like the online services because they give you a tracker and you can see exactly whats got to be done next and how far down the process you are. Also when you get quotes for your conveyancer remember that they usually include your stamp duty so don’t fall off of your chair at the costs until you have checked. A lot of them also do a no completion-no fee deal, bit of protection should your purchase/sale fall through.
- The Survey – If you are having a mortgage you will definitely need a survey. Cash buyers can have a survey at their own discretion. The mortgage lenders are usually happy to accept a basic valuation survey. If you want a more in-depth survey this will come at a cost. We went with the basic – because last time we had the home buyer it was very ambiguous for example ‘the electrics appear to be in good working order but we recommend that you have them fully checked by a certified electrician before committing to buy the property’. It was the same with the plumbing, heating, roof etc….
So there you have it – my Busy Mum’s Guide to House Buying. This has taken you up to the stage I am currently at. I will get another post written once we have completed. They reckon 6 weeks, but I am not holding my breath…..
Have you got any useful information about buying houses?