Saturday, 7 June 2014

Buying a House. Realistic expectations.

Buying a house is right up there with one of the most stressful things you can do. I've done it twice now and can safely say it's not nice. Sure the end result is a space of your own, a pile of bricks and mortar to call your own but is it worth the stress? Well, yes. Sure there were times I thought I was going to pop, but keeping organised and on top of things that were very important meant it was easier than some horror stories I've heard. I thought I'd give some advice to those in the process or thinking of buying - hopefully it helps!
Your Personal Paperwork. I cannot stress this enough, keep your stuff safe and organised. Any identification, keep up to date with addresses/change of details and be sure where it's stashed. Same goes for bank statements (most online now but you'll need paper copies for mortgage applications) utility bills (if online, call companies for paper copies - banks still won't take online print offs a lot of the time) Mortgage companies are pretty picky these days with your application so make sure you have all information they might ask for ready.
Credit Competent. Keep an eye on your credit report. You can get free trials with most of the bigger companies that offer reports. I only found out I was still showing as active on a old account after I got my report - which could have meant if the other person on the account defaulted, my score would be affected. 
Solicitors Social. You'll have to badger most solicitors for information and progress, keep on top of them with regular calls and emails. Don't be rude, just firm and make sure you keep a record of everything. Remember you are paying them to help you buy the house legally so any questions you have ask. Sure they've heard all of them before - I asked about doorknobs! Honestly!
Make a List. I love a list, and making a list of people to contact, their numbers and why will help if you quickly need to make a call to your solicitor/estate agent. Include dates of importance and deadlines - check them off as you go. I had (and still have) a huge folder full of house stuff, but stapled a list on the inside flap to have an easy access checklist. 
Be Realistic. Most house moves that are smooth with no bumps used to take around 6-10 weeks to complete dependent on the seller/buyer requests. However, now lenders have tightened up on mortgages, there is a lot more paperwork involved. I didn't exchange until late May, and I got my offer accepted on the house mid March. It's frustrating waiting for other parties but try to keep calm. The most important thing is the exchange. Up until then, you can unfortunately be 'gazumped' which I think is a completely horrible thing to happen to anyone in the process of a house buy.
I used to work for a mortgage/loans company and the process now is completely different to back then. It's for the best as the lending that was happening was crazy (125% mortgage anyone?!) Getting approved and buying a house is one of the best, but scariest things that has happened to me so far in my life - just glad I got there in the end. 

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