\ 5 THING I WISH I'D HAVE KNOWN BEFORE BUYING A HOME - The Adventures of Charlotte


Packed Boxes, Ready to Move

Spending time scrolling through Rightmove looking at the most expensive houses on the market is all fun and games until reality hits and you’re changing the sort to low to high pricing. Joking aside, searching for and buying a house is a super fun (most parts) path into adulthood. I bought my first home, on my own at 22. It was a lovely little two-bedroom new build apartment and I couldn’t wait to have my first stint at independence. Fast forward 3 and a bit years later and I’m onto my second home, upsizing to a four-bedroom house in summer of 2018. I dived into buying my own place 65 miles away from any family and friends due to work, there were many things which I should have considered with both moves but here are my top 5.


Help to buy loan – is it really worth it?

At the time of buying my first home, I didn’t have a full 10% deposit available, but I also couldn’t hack the commute to work anymore. Instead I opted for a ‘Help to Buy Loan’ on my mortgage, which allowed me to put down a 5% deposit for the apartment I chose. Unfortunately for me, I saw this as at optimist to have a house quicker and jumped at the chance to have my own place and didn’t read the small print of owing 20% on the value, not the buying price, after five years or on the sale of the property.
So, when it came to listing my house on the market in April of 2018, I had the apartment valued at £25K more than what I paid for it – great I thought! I managed to bag an offer on the property after only a week on the market. Yay me, making a profit on the apartment so I could put more equity into the house, or so I thought.

The sale started going through and then I finally got the paperwork saying how much I owed on the Help to Buy loan and, because the apartment had gone up in value, I had to pay back around £22K. This was A LOT and knocked me for six! Luckily, I’d made a fair few repayments and my deposit was still very good for the new house but still, £22K!

So yes, whilst the Homes England scheme is very good, it’s certainly worth a lot more research and figuring out whether it truly is the best option for you.

Being prepared for extra costs

Oooh this one. I don’t think anyone is ever really prepared for those extra costs. From solicitors’ fees to the documentation for the sale of the old property and, of course, the buyer’s surveyor devaluing your property from the original accepted offer.
My apartment was a leasehold (something else I regret) and in order to sell my property I was instructed to get a documentation pack from my buyer’s solicitors before the sale could go through. The management company wanted £400 for this! Just for some paperwork which I already held the majority of anyway! This was very much an unexpected cost so, if you’re looking to buy, also find out the deal for when you want to sell!

Another kick in the teeth was the buyer’s surveyor coming around and devaluing the apartment from the accepted offer price by £3K. This put us in a bit of a crappy position, do I try and run the mortgage checks again to see if I could get a new mortgage written up with the extra needed or, do I try and find the £3K from somewhere? The sellers of the property we had bought were getting very aggy about waiting and even offered someone else the home after accepting our offer – I was fuming! We ended up offering another £500 just to secure the property, so there goes some more money.
Point being, there can be a lot of unexpected costs when buying or selling a house so next time I’d certainly have myself a contingency fund for this.

Solicitors take agesssss

Be prepared for the whole process to be lengthy. You’ll rush through the bits you need to do and then the solicitors will sit on the paperwork for weeks without actioning anything. My property sold at the beginning of April and we didn’t get into the house until July! You might need to give them a nudge every now and then….

House repairs and decoration

There’s always something that’s bound to go wrong so house repairs have certainly made the list. Obviously buying a home is expensive enough, without thinking about the things you might want to change or might break. I now have a small savings pot for emergencies rather than having to rely on the credit cards like I have done in the past. It’s always good to get a list of local tradesmen too, so for myself it’s making sure I know the electrician on the estate and finding Boiler Repair Leeds for those pesky little boiler troubles, whether it’s Oil Boilers, Electric or LPG. It’s also worthwhile getting to know your neighbours too to see if they have encountered the same maintenance issues and get a figure for repair to mentally prepare yourself! It’s always great to have businesses like that saved to your phone.

Missing home - LOTS

Last but not least, one thing I wish I’d have known is how much I would have missed home and cried on a frequent basis. It’s not easy moving out, especially when you have no one around to turn to if you move away from home. It’s okay to miss your friends and family, I wish I’d have known that you will learn who your true friends are, the ones that make an effort, visit you or want to still make plans with you when you eventually do travel back to your hometown.

There’s probably lots more that I could have added to this list however, I feel like the lessons learnt are all a part of growing up and walking the path of life. Have you any regrets when it came to moving away from home?

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