Becoming a home owner...

Monday, 14 July 2014

As I've mentioned before, I am in the process of buying a flat in Battersea. AND I am super happy to announce that I've exchangeddddd, with completion set for Friday and I'm moving in on Saturday. 

God if you re-read the above it looks like I say - I am super happy to announce I'm engaged! Ha urm no. Been there done that.

This is apparently what the new power station development is going to look like and I am sooo close to it so that will be exciting!

Anywayyy. It has been quite a stressful time, particularly the last two weeks but hopefully everything will go smoothly from here. It has all happened quite quickly really (which I hear is not the norm) my offer was accepted on 13th May and I complete on 18th July. 

I thought I would try and give a few tips for people buying homes! These are just from my own experience really.

  • Try and view a lot of properties in one day. Speak to your estate agent and get them to book you in for a morning. This was they are fresh in your mind and you can compare them to one another. Also if you see one on one weekend and then one on the next you get attached to the first one even if it isn't right for you. I was a very emotional buyer, I went straight for the one I fell in love with and did not play it cool at all!

  • Also take loads of pictures. Don't be shy about it. It makes it much easier to review afterwards and you might notice things you didn't see when you were wandering around (good or bad!) AND take someone with you on the viewings. Someone who will speak up with their opinions. I took my Daddy and it was so handy to have someone looking at the flats from a different point of view. It was also nice that when we went into my one he said "This is the one for you" :)  If you are buying a flat or house anywhere (but London to the extreme) you are dealing with a lot of money and it is reasurring to have someone tell you that you are doing the right thing!

  • Something I didn't do...Don't get too attached to one. I put in an offer on mine, which was accepted, so we had champagne etc. Then a couple of days later I was told I had been gazumped with a higher offer! Which I think is so unfair. Apparently in Scotland that's not allowed which I think seems much fairer. I therefore gave my best and final offer and was told that the other people's offer was higher. I went off on holiday pretty miffed and the day I came back I was told the other people couldn't get a mortgage. Sucks to be youuuu, so I got it...I still had to pay my best and final offer though not my original accepted offer which was a bit unfair but who caressss.

  • But yes, don't do what I did and get too attached. If it falls through there is always another flat or house, one you will love just as much. My Daddy told me that the entire time. I have been holding back my excitement for two months and holding onto the thought that it all could go wrong. Fingers crossed it doesn't in the next four days. Writing this blog is probably tempting fate!

  • Try and use the same firm of solicitors as the seller. I didn't do this but it would have made life much easier. I spent a serious amount of time chasing my solicitors who were chasing the sellers solicitors who wouldn't answer them. If they both work for the same firm then surely they can walk across the office to speak to each other?

  • Expect things to take longer than you think! My completion date was two weeks ago and bearing in mind the whole process has only taken eight weeks that is quite a bit. Fortunately I've been able to move home for a week and live with my parents but obviously that isn't an option for everyone so try not to leave yourself homeless by giving in your notice too early (if you are renting somewhere currently).

  • When working out your budget take into account: stamp duty (OUCH IT IS SOOO MUCH!), legal fees, survey fees, valuation fees, moving costs and the cost of furnishing. I have a spreadsheet...but then I have a spreadsheet for everything!

  • Sounds obvious, but get a mortgage agreed in principle before you fall in love with somewhere and want to make an offer. You can work out what they might lend you based on your salary but the rules changed in April (just before I had mine approved...great timing) and it means it is so much harder. They want a monthly budget for all your expenditure, what you spend on makeup, going out, food, pets. Everything! I used a great mortgage broker who I would totally recommend (and already have to some of my friends) so if you need a recommendation in London let me know!

  • Ensure you know what fixtures are being left behind. I said I wanted the fridge (a big american one that makes ICE! YES!) and the dishwasher and washing machine. If you don't have it in writing they will probably be taken in the move and you will be stuck!

  • Chase your solicitors like they are a cat who has stolen your slice of cake! I can't think of a better example. I called mine all the time, left messages, emailed. Literally I bet they hated me. But if you don't they will be slowww.

  • Don't buy the first bits of furniture you see, or buy the first sofa you see just because you need a sofa. Better to sit on the floor whilst you drink your wine for a while (if you have good friends, as long as you feed them wine, they won't care) and have a great sofa than a shit one. You can find amazing deals on gumtree, freecyle etc but if you use these sites remember that you will generally have to hire a van and go and pick the item up. I was going to buy things through gumtree but I think I am going to find pieces I really like and see them as an investment. First stop....Bed.
I loveeeeeeeee this one!

But it was going to take 7-9 weeks to be delivered so I have found these two alternatives:

I think the Marquess in King Size is the one for me! SO prettyyyyy. The second two options are from DFS and the first one is from MADE.

I scoffed a bit at DFS but they actually do some really nice stuff. 

Another good website to look at is Loaf. Just look how freaking beautiful this sofa is:

That price tag and delivery time is putting me off though so I might see if I can find something similar. Maybe DFS will come up trumps again! Who would have thought!

The one thing I'm trying to draw the line at is IKEA. They are great for certain things but I hate when you see a house which is so obviously filled with stuff from IKEA. Too modern for my liking and they don't accommodate my buttoned furniture fetish...can you tell from the above I like things with pushed in buttons? Just look at this amazing chesterfielddddd! 

One day I will have a study with a big fireplace, a massive wooden desk and this sofa. And the dogs will lie in front of the fire and I will read cookery books on my beautiful you think I'm being unrealistic here?? ONE DAY!

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