This week Ryan and I will have officially been home owners for 2 months! I still can’t get over it and I feel so proud showing friends and family round but, we did go on quite the rollercoaster to get here so there are definitely a couple of things we learnt along the way which I’ve already shared with friends who are starting their very own journey so I thought I’d share them with you to and I hope they help!
1. You don’t know what you really want until you start looking
When there are 2 of you sharing the cost of buying a property that means you’ve both equally have your ‘want’ and ‘don’t want’ lists. Ryan’s ‘want’ was a garage and mine was a staircase defining our search to a house or a maisonette over a flat. I was adamant at the beginning of our search that a flat wasn’t for me, in my head I hated the idea of everything being on one floor but when we went and saw a house, I practically wrote it off straight away, the vibe just wasn’t there. After this we saw A LOT of flats. When I saw our now flat it was perfect, the flow from the front door to all the rooms just felt right. So top tip, make your ‘want’ list but keep an open mind or you could let the one slip away.
2. Save, Save and Save again
I think one of the biggest things that swallowed up our reserved savings were all the bills we didn’t expect such as paying up front for any checks that needed to be done on the property and solicitors fees which they want before you complete. We were lucky as under new laws first time buyers don’t have to pay for stamp duty which I know has saved us a hefty lump sum which allowed us to get some key pieces of furniture bought and paid for pretty much straight away. All I suggest is keep going with the saving, even once you’ve hit your deposit goal as you’ll need it!
3. There are more ‘the ones’ out there, you just need to find them
This, I think is the biggest thing I’ve learnt. When we found our first property to bid on, we thought it was the one and the only one. It was the best flat we’d seen, ticked all the boxes and we got excited thinking it was ours. When we the sale fell through, I thought it would take us forever to find another property we loved just as much but, 5 extra flat viewings later and we’d found another one, and this one we weren’t going to let slip away.
4. Get things explained
This one I feel is pretty crucial. We were hit pretty much straight away with jargon and text that flew right over our heads either from the Estate Agents or our Solicitor. It doesn’t take much thought to ask someone who’s already been through it to see if they can get their heads around it or like I did, call them up. We had a document that needed signing that made no sense to us or our parents but one phone call later and I was the one then going back to our family explaining what it meant.
5. The waiting pays off
If you have the luxury like we did to still live at home with your parents, then don’t rush into anything. The waiting will pay off when it comes to finding the right property for you and also when it comes to bidding. I feel like I was too keen in some ways calling the Estate Agents straight back and offering a little more money on our previous offer. When our last offer was declined, I told the Estate Agent that I’ll call them back as soon as I had spoken to Ryan about our finances but in between that I had a call from my uncle who told me not to call back and let them sweat. I think this made me sweat more than the Estate Agent and we let 2 days pass. I held my ground and sure enough Estate Agents called us back asking if our offer was still on the table as they wanted to accept! So top tip, keep a calm head and take it slow, the waiting will pay off.