Monday, 24 July 2017

What I have learned from buying our first home

I am writing this post almost 3 years on. We have completely finished renovation our first home! Which seems crazy, I feel like it was only last year we were picking up the keys. Our little home was put up for sale on the weekend so I thought this would be a good time to share my thoughts about buying our first home and what I would have done differently or some little tips to bare in mind if you are buying your first home.( all my own experience)

Be very open minded 
Scope out areas you might have previously shunned in the past, it might be the only way you can get value in a time of soaring house prices. We started our search in Bristol but quickly realised that by looking further out of the city we were able to buy a house in Stroud rather than a one bedroom flat on the outskirts of Bristol.

- Make a list of priorities, the must haves but also if there is anything you might be able to compromise on, be realistic its unlikely you will get your dream house straight away . In our case location was what we compromised on in order to get ourselves on the property ladder, however actually worked out for the best long term.

Be thrifty 
For around six weeks before you apply for your mortgage curb your spending as much as possible as the lenders will check through your bank statements to look into how much money you spend per month and use that as an expense.
- They even counted Georges numerous KFC trips into our expenses!! 

Save Save Save!
This is an obvious one but the bigger the deposit the better and the better your interest rate and in turn the less you will be paying back.

Factor in Fees
This might also be an obvious one but with all the big numbers and fancy wording flying about its easy to miss the added costs. We have just started looking for our next home and had a budget but quickly realised we would have to look at homes at least £10,000 'under budget' to account for stamp duty! 

Dont have sleepless nights over price
Who knows what will happen to house prices there is no point worrying about something you cannot control, all we know is what our mortgage repayments are. 

It can be a very long process
It is super frustrating the time is takes to exchange and collect the keys to your new house - ours took almost 7 months and we were first time buyers with no chain! you just have to be patient and it will all be worth it in the end.

Your house wont look perfect straight away 
In fact it probably wont look perfect at all! I had this idea in my head we would have the whole house complete within a year but three years on and just before we were putting it up for sale we were still finishing bits off. For the first two months we actually had deck chairs in the living room!!
Dont put too much pressure on yourselves to get everything done quick and just enjoy the time decorating and designing your very own first home.

If you are self employed 
A quick note to all my fellow self employed friends, nothing is easy when you are self employed.  You are seen as a risk so there are extra checks in place especially when applying for a mortgage. If you are employed you merely have to show a contract to prove your salary so you dont even have to have started the job! but when you are self employed you need to show at least three years tax return before they will even consider you, even then they will take an average of the three years as your salary. So my advice would be to keep your accounts in order or employ an accountant to do so which is what I have recently done! 

Finally just enjoy, its not everyday you buy your first home. So try not to stress too much and just have fun. I am so looking forward to decorating a new house but also super sad to be leaving our very first home behind.

Now the search begins for our next home, I will be sure to share our journey with you!