Buying A House

This year has been the most serious of my life and buying a house has put the cherry on top of an enormous cake. Although this is a very positive thing and we're very excited to finally have our first proper home to call our own, the stress and anxiety triggers it came with were insane. So if you're interested in buying a property or just fancy having a mooch over our experience, grab a cuppa and the biscuit tin cause its gonna be a long one!

No one tells you how to buy a house. Its not something you're taught at school and unless you have an interest in the property ladder, solicitors or estate agents, you don't ever really find yourself researching what to do until the time comes to actually do it. Before you know it, you're suckered into the big scary world of money, mortgages and contracts and its something I wanted to talk about and hopefully, teach people what I didn't know before. 

1. Identify a mortgage advisor
This was the very first step for us and this helped us determine how much of a deposit we would need and also how much money we could borrow based on our earnings. Ours taught us a little bit about lenders and requirements they ask for which also gave us some much needed confidence before plunging into viewing houses. 

2. Start viewing properties
When you know how much money you can borrow, you can start viewing properties within your price range and when you see one you'd like, you can put an offer in. Bartering is an important part of the money side of things and we were always advised to drop a few grand off the actual asking price and go from there. If your offer is accepted, then you can move onto the next step. This is one of the frustrating parts because its all tense and waiting around for people to get back to you and you don't know which way things could go.

3. Identify solicitors and get quotes 
Once your offer has been accepted, you need to identify a solicitors and get some quotes from them for the work they'll be doing for you. We shopped around for solicitors and we found this to be really useful as sometimes solicitors will try and mug you off with a crazy quote. Also check the totals they give you; we actually had a quote that stated it was £800 more expensive than the total added up to so its important to check this and know exactly what you're paying them for. Meanwhile, our mortgage advisor submitted our application which also including providing bank statements, pay slips, utility bills, proof of address, passports and other bits and pieces. Your solicitors will then liaise with the sellers solicitors who will take it from there.

4. House valuations
This is something you'll need to organise to get someone in to value the property you're wanting to buy so they can make sure the place has no nasty surprises and shouldn't be condemned. Apparently there are three types of valuation, a basic, a homebuyers and a ridiculously thorough one. Many people advised us to go for the homebuyers one because it covered all the important bits without the hefty bill of the more thorough evaluation.

5. Badgering people
These processes always take quite a while unless you're lucky but even then, its rare to move into a place when your buying any sooner than six weeks from an offer being accepted. Estate events and solicitors will drag things out and sometimes it seems like they're doing nothing at all and forgotten about you. This isn't the case but theres absolutely no harm in phoning them a couple of times a week for updates on the process and it also gives you an idea of timings and where you stand. 

7. Signing and Completion
Once the entire chain have had their searches and valuations done  on their properties, the solicitors will get their clients in to sign contracts and then they'll be exchanged. We're at the very end now and about to exchange after a very long winded process. We started in August and were supposed to move in for Christmas but searches got delayed and before you know it, another month has gone by.

We found a house pretty soon after we started looking and went for it. We got pretty damn excited and everything was going ahead, until we had the homebuyers report back. The house we wanted had many hidden things wrong with it and we're not in a position to start spending lots of money on somewhere. We pulled out and lay low for a couple more weeks before I sneakily arranged a viewing on our dream house that we'd seen. We went to view it and fell even more in love, put an offer in and the process started again. This time it felt much smoother but having said that, we'd gained a bit of experience from the first property.

Something I will mention is be prepared for mortgage lenders to really question who you are. For the first house, the lenders had issues with James' payslips and for the second house, nothing I showed convinced them I was who I said I was or that my address was correct. Bank statements, payslips, driving license, utility bills you name it. Apparently I was not Ellis Woolley. Its all very scary and you feel so interrogated especially when it comes to money and how much you have.

Now all of that is out of the way we can focus on the exciting things like decorating and shopping for home wares but I can't tell you how nervous this whole process made me feel and how glad I am to have it just about over with. We're very grateful we've been able to buy a house and we saved very hard together to be able to do this. You can expect plenty of little haul posts and vlogs to follow and I can't wait to show you guys our new place!

Thankyou so much for reading!

Ellis x

1 comment

  1. That was a very in-depth read and you brought up some really good points. I think a lot of people do not realize how complicated buying a home really can be. Congratulations though on your purchase! That is a huge accomplishment and I wish you luck in your new home.

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