I’m very good at shopping and buying stuff but buying a house is a thing *grown-ups* do. It has loads of words like ‘exchange’ and ‘complete’ that people throw around like you should know what that means.
Obviously I am not an expert in house-buying so far, I haven’t even finished buying one place yet, but here is what I’ve learned.
People tell you that buying a house is stressful but what they don’t mention is how boring it can be.
Seriously, it’s taken months. Moooooonths of calling people, waiting for letters to arrive, chasing people up for stuff, waiting for confirmation. Moooooonnnnnnttttthhhssss.
Luckily I haven’t found it particularly stressful and I’ve been very distracted by work so it hasn’t overly worried me but it is just very dull!
Looking round potential homes is very exciting and very frustrating at the same time.
I love looking round houses. I’m quite nosey and this is permitted snooping. I like seeing how people have used a space and imagining how I might.
I hate looking round houses. You have to make polite chit-chat with someone an estate agent and look interested even if you hate it. You know within two second whether or not you like somewhere but still have to nod enthusiastically while the agent pretends to know about the boiler. Luckily I was looking at such tiny places that the whole thing was usually over in about three minutes.
I’m a super logical person but you can’t really apply much logic to choosing where to live. You’re not comparing like with like – ‘so the first one had a lot more room but that awful damp problem and the second place was really handy for public transport but the kitchen was tiny’.
Estate agents are usually very nice people but they fit the stereotype.
One of my favourite ways to make house-hunting more interesting was to ask awkward (but not mean) questions and watch to see how quickly the estate agents could come up with an optimistic spin on the truth. One of my favourites was walking into somewhere that reeked of damp and had wet patches and mould up the wall to be told ‘yes there is a slight damp problem’.
In my experience, the less senior the person showing you round, the more honest they were and the less indoctrinated into being an estate agent they have become. They probably aren’t going to make much if anything on commission so they are much more fun and useful to look around places with.
Putting an offer in is terrifying. Getting it accepted is worse.
I know this is technically good news but then it all gets a bit real eek!
Every estate agent will try to get you to speak to their mortgage adviser. These people will all tell you the same thing.
If you want to use a mortgage adviser person associated with an estate agents (I honestly don’t know the benefits of doing it or not doing it) then just pick someone who is nice.
If you are a mortgage adviser do not tell someone that they’d better panic as prices are going up fast and properties are moving fast and if you don’t do something now you’ll never be able to buy and panic panic panic! That person may cry after they have seen you. That person may have been me.
Find someone who laughs when you say ‘they’ll lend me how much?!’ rather than making a note that there has obviously been some sort of error and this person is a major financial risk.
Offering estate agents cake to get your offer accepted then changing this giving them cake when you exchange will not make any difference to how fast things go and makes you look a bit weird.
I am ok with this.
Buying a house is mostly waiting for people to ask you to sign things or give them money.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether or not you understand the process, other people understand and unless they are ripping you off you can just let them take care of things.
There are lots of forms and questions and letters and forms. Filing these in a nice folder is a way to feel a sense of control over a process you don’t understand.
Having a solicitor might make you want to say ‘take it up with my solicitor’ in completely unrelated circumstances.
Told you I’m not a grown-up.